the great rebirth debate

A discussion on all aspects of Theravāda Buddhism
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Alex123
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Re: the great rebirth debate

Post by Alex123 » Sat Mar 24, 2012 11:24 pm

nowheat wrote: Yes. And he tells us why he talks of where people end up, and among the reasons he gives, notably absent is "because it's the truth." He tells stories of where people go to inspire those who cared about them.

The Buddha tells what will lead where. If there is only one life, the one would automatically attain parinibbana at death. Thus it would pointless to aspire to better rebirth and pointless to deprive oneself trying to attain what will be attained at death anyhow. Without belief in rebirth, I don't see much point in being Buddhist, except for some CBT like advice of "don't desire what you can't attain. Be satisfied with what you have."

I've tried my best at trying to reinterpret rebirth in the way that I've seen it being taught here. It can't be done without ignoring many suttas,being very selective about passages used, and take them out of context.

I've seen many posts about supramundane right view (MN117) which is twisted in such a way as to sound like plain wrong view (no rebirth. no other world. etc). As far as suttas go, no kind of right view ever denies rebirth.
"Life is a struggle. Life will throw curveballs at you, it will humble you, it will attempt to break you down. And just when you think things are starting to look up, life will smack you back down with ruthless indifference..."

nowheat
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Re: the great rebirth debate

Post by nowheat » Sun Mar 25, 2012 2:41 am

Alex123 wrote:
nowheat wrote: Yes. And he tells us why he talks of where people end up, and among the reasons he gives, notably absent is "because it's the truth." He tells stories of where people go to inspire those who cared about them.
I've seen many posts about supramundane right view (MN117) which is twisted in such a way as to sound like plain wrong view (no rebirth. no other world. etc). As far as suttas go, no kind of right view ever denies rebirth.
You may be missing the point: "no kind of right view ever denies rebirth" = CORRECT! That's true, no right view ever denies rebirth. I don't know anyone who has ever said that the Buddha denies rebirth. I don't know anyone who has ever even suggested that the Buddha says one should deny rebirth.

This is not about denying rebirth. This is about something subtler. It's about not saying that belief in rebirth is a requirement. As long as folks (not limited to you, Alex) keep "hearing" others saying that the Buddha denied rebirth, no understanding is possible, because that's not what's being said.

Perhaps the confusion comes because so many people -- in this thread in particular -- argue about the likelihood of rebirth as a system (I try not to engage in those conversations as irresolvable without new evidence). But I doubt that the same people arguing that rebirth is unlikely would suggest that the Buddha was trying to tell us there is no rebirth.

But maybe you've found someone clearly saying "The Buddha preached against belief in rebirth" -- if so please send me a link, I'd like to examine their argument.

:namaste:

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Spiny O'Norman
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Re: the great rebirth debate

Post by Spiny O'Norman » Sun Mar 25, 2012 11:20 am

Buckwheat wrote:
Spiny O'Norman wrote:
daverupa wrote: The context of saying that "disbelief in rebirth is a view" is the secondary target;
If we're talking about questions on which we're not currently certain then of course disbelief is a view. The same way that belief is a view.

The only way to not have a view is to say "I don't know".

spiny
In DN 1 - Brahmajala Sutta, "I don't know" is also a wrong view. It may be a more honest and less harmful wrong view than taking a leap to belief or unbelief, but it is still a wrong view.
Do you mean this bit? If so it looks as if the Buddha is advising against evasion and endless equivocation, which is quite different from saying "I don't know"

"But, when questioned about this or that point, he resorts to evasive statements and to endless equivocation: 'I do not take it thus, nor do I take it in that way, nor do I take it in some other way. I do not say that it is not, nor do I say that it is neither this nor that.'

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Re: the great rebirth debate

Post by Buckwheat » Sun Mar 25, 2012 12:05 pm

Yes, Spiny, you are correct. It had been a while since I read that sutta.
DN 1 - Brahmajala Sutta wrote:4. Doctrines of Endless Equivocation (Amarāvikkhepavāda): Views 13–16
61. "There are, bhikkhus, some recluses and brahmins who are endless equivocators.[9] When questioned about this or that point, on four grounds they resort to evasive statements and to endless equivocation. And owing to what, with reference to what, do these honorable recluses and brahmins do so?

62. "Herein, bhikkhus, a certain recluse or a brahmin does not understand as it really is what is wholesome and what is unwholesome. He thinks: 'I do not understand as it really is what is wholesome and what is unwholesome. If, without understanding, I were to declare something to be wholesome or unwholesome, my declaration might be false. If my declaration should be false, that would distress me, and that distress would be an obstacle for me.' Therefore, out of fear and loathing of making a false statement, he does not declare anything to be wholesome or unwholesome. But when he is questioned about this or that point, he resorts to evasive statements and to endless equivocation: "I do not take it thus, nor do I take it in that way, nor do I take it in some other way. I do not say that it is not, nor do I say that it is neither this nor that.' "This, bhikkhus, is the first case.

63. "In the second case, owing to what, with reference to what, are some honorable recluses and brahmins endless equivocators, resorting to evasive statements and to endless equivocation?

"Herein, bhikkhus, a certain recluse or a brahmin does not understand as it really is what is wholesome and what is unwholesome. He thinks: 'I do not understand as it really is what is wholesome and what is unwholesome. If, without understanding, I were to declare something to be wholesome or unwholesome, desire and lust or hatred and aversion might arise in me. Should desire and lust or hated and aversion arise in me, that would be clinging on my part. Such clinging would distress me, and that distress would be an obstacle for me.' Therefore, out of fear and loathing of clinging, he does not declare anything to be wholesome or unwholesome. But when questioned about this or that point he resorts to evasive statements and to endless equivocation: 'I do not take it thus, nor do I take it in that way, nor do I take it in some other way. I do not say that it is not, nor do I say that it is neither this nor that.' "This, bhikkhus, is the second case.

64. "In the third case, owing to what, with reference to what, are some honorable recluses and brahmins endless equivocators, resorting to evasive statements and to endless equivocation?

"Herein, bhikkhus, a certain recluse or a brahmin does not understand as it really is what is wholesome and what is unwholesome. He thinks: 'I do not understand as it really is what is wholesome and what is unwholesome. Now, there are recluses and brahmins who are wise, clever, experienced in controversy, who wander about demolishing the views of others with their wisdom. If, without understanding, I were to declare something to be wholesome or unwholesome, they might cross-examine me about my views, press me for reasons and refute my statements. If they should do so, I might not be able to reply. If I could not reply, that would distress me, and that distress would be an obstacle for me.' Therefore, out of fear and loathing of being cross-examined, he does not declare anything to be wholesome or unwholesome. But, when questioned about this or that point, he resorts to evasive statements and to endless equivocation: 'I do not take it thus, nor do I take it in that way, nor do I take it in some other way. I do not say that it is not, nor do I say that it is neither this nor that.'

"This, bhikkhus, is the third case.

65. "In the fourth case, owing to what, with reference to what, are some honorable recluses and brahmins endless equivocators, resorting to evasive statements and to endless equivocation?

"Herein, bhikkhus, a certain recluse or a brahmin is dull and stupid. Due to his dullness and stupidity, when he is questioned about this or that point, he resorts to evasive statements and to endless equivocation: 'If you ask me whether there is a world beyond — if I thought there is another world, I would declare that there is. But I do not take it thus, nor do I take it in that way, nor do I take it in some other way. I do not say that it is not, nor do I say that is neither this nor that.'

"Similarly, when asked any of the following questions, he resorts to the same evasive statements and to endless equivocation:

A.
2. Is there no world beyond?
3. Is it that there both is and is not a world beyond?
4. Is it that there neither is nor is not a world beyond?
B.
1. Are there beings spontaneously reborn?
2. Are there no beings spontaneously reborn?
3. Is it that there both are and are not beings spontaneously reborn?
4. Is it that there neither are nor are not beings spontaneously reborn?
C.
1. Is there fruit and result of good and bad action?
2. Is there no fruit and result of good and bad action?
3. Is it that there both is and is not fruit and result of good and bad action?
4. Is it that there neither is nor is not fruit and result of good and bad action?
D.
1.Does the Tathāgata exist after death?
2.Does the Tathāgata not exist after death?
3.Does the Tathāgata both exist and not exist after death?
4.Does the Tathāgata neither exist nor not exist after death?
"This bhikkhus, is the fourth case.

66. "It is on these four grounds, bhikkhus, that those recluses and brahmins who are endless equivocators resort to evasive statements and to endless equivocation when questioned about this or that point. Whatever recluses or brahmins there may be who resort to evasive statements and to endless equivocation, all of them do so on these four grounds or on a certain one of them. Outside of these there is none.

"This, bhikkhus, the Tathāgata understands... and it is concerning these that those who would rightly praise the Tathāgata in accordance with reality would speak.

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .bodh.html" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
Sotthī hontu nirantaraṃ - May you forever be well.

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Spiny O'Norman
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Re: the great rebirth debate

Post by Spiny O'Norman » Tue Mar 27, 2012 2:02 pm

Notron wrote:This question suggests a belief in a "permanent self" or entity that transmigrates from one lifetime to another...a belief in eternalism. Paticcasamuppada (dependent origination) describes something else entirely as explained by Ven. Buddhadasa.
If you think that the traditional understanding of DO requires a belief in eternalism then you've entirely missed the point. Buddhadasas re-interpretation is interesting but unecessary.

Spiny

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Re: the great rebirth debate

Post by DNS » Sun Apr 15, 2012 5:26 am

A rebirth joke:

http://sdhammika.blogspot.com/2012/04/rebirth-joke.html" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

Image

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cooran
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Re: the great rebirth debate

Post by cooran » Sun Apr 15, 2012 5:28 am

I'm just wondering who took the photos and compiled the album? :tongue:
---The trouble is that you think you have time---
---Worry is the Interest, paid in advance, on a debt you may never owe---
---It's not what happens to you in life that is important ~ it's what you do with it ---

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Re: the great rebirth debate

Post by mikenz66 » Sun Apr 15, 2012 5:46 am

Image

paarsurrey
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Re: the great rebirth debate

Post by paarsurrey » Tue Apr 17, 2012 7:43 pm

jcsuperstar wrote:i guess someone needs to get this ball rolling :twisted:

personally i believe in literal rebirth. it's just i don't care that much about it. and i don't think it's a necessity. i feel the non literal moment to moment view of rebirth is far more important to focus on in terms of one's daily practice.

what's your take?
I am an Ahmadi peaceful Muslim. I joined this forum recently.

I am reading Gospel of Buddha by Paul Carus and I understand from Buddha's words:

Buddha said:
"Having attained this higher birth, I have found the truth and have taught you the noble path that leads to the city of peace"
.Page-118: Verse- 6: Chapter-41

http://reluctant-messenger.com/gospel_buddha/" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

I think Buddha here talks of his rebirth in the truthful belief after getting enlightenment or Word of Revelation from the Creator God.

Buddha treaded the noble path or right path and reached to enlightenment; this was his rebirth he talks of. Buddha does not talk of Reincarnation or Rebirth like the Hindus believe; he did not believe in the Hinduism concept of Reincarnation or Rebirth.

This is just an opinion, others could differ with me happily and could continue believing what the already believe in.

Please correct me if I am wrong.
I am an Ahmadi peaceful Muslim

http://paarsurrey.wordpress.com/" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

Sarva
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Re: the great rebirth debate

Post by Sarva » Wed Apr 18, 2012 5:44 pm

paarsurrey wrote:
jcsuperstar wrote:i guess someone needs to get this ball rolling :twisted:

personally i believe in literal rebirth. it's just i don't care that much about it. and i don't think it's a necessity. i feel the non literal moment to moment view of rebirth is far more important to focus on in terms of one's daily practice.

what's your take?
(cut for space)

I think Buddha here talks of his rebirth in the truthful belief after getting enlightenment or Word of Revelation from the Creator God.

Buddha treaded the noble path or right path and reached to enlightenment; this was his rebirth he talks of. Buddha does not talk of Reincarnation or Rebirth like the Hindus believe; he did not believe in the Hinduism concept of Reincarnation or Rebirth.

This is just an opinion, others could differ with me happily and could continue believing what the already believe in.

Please correct me if I am wrong.
Hello Paarsurrey
In my personal opinion rebirth and kamma (karma) need to be understood as cause and effect, a natural law of nature/Dhamma (or the universe if one wishes to begin somewhere). One doesn't need to acknowledge rebirth and one may go through one's life without even considering it, however it needs to be acknowledged and studied in order to arrive at the conclusion of which Buddha spoke: unbinding, nibbana (nirvana) and removal of ignorance. It is also an explanation of morals without God; the problem of good and evil.

In my observation there is still a literal moment to moment rebirth (not strictly each second, but more than once through out our day). That which is born and reborn is the concept of self. This is could be open to debate.

My understanding is that the Buddha did not need to investigate the nature of God or creation to arrive at liberation. So God does not play a role in the teaching in the same way as semitic religions. Just to make a comparative point for quicker clarity. I do not believe this to mean he was agnostic or atheistic, both of which come close to a self concept or a clinging of views (an obstacle in the path to liberation).

Buddhists hold firm that there is no observable self, or no soul (anatta). The Upanishads and Hindu's hold there is an atman or soul.

In Hinduism one must know the Self or Atman in order to be liberated whilst living. In Buddhism one must know that there is no self and reach nibbana to be liberated whilst living.

I see no way of mixing other religions with Buddhism, although all are fascinating :) Warm welcome to the forum.
“Both formerly & now, it is only stress that I describe, and the cessation of stress.” — SN 22:86

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Polar Bear
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Re: the great rebirth debate

Post by Polar Bear » Wed Apr 25, 2012 10:32 am

The Right View of Reincarnation

Continuation is happening now, because every day you continue to produce thoughts, words, and actions that carry your signature. We don’t have to wait until this body decomposes to continue.

Most people think of reincarnation in terms of a permanent soul. This is popular Buddhism. But we have to rise to the level of right view. Continuation is a necessity, it is a truth. But this continuation must be seen in the light of non-self, of impermanence.

If, for example, you want to recognize my continuation, do not look in this direction. [Thay points to himself.] There is a part of my continuation in this direction, but when you look all around you, you will see other forms of the continuation. So don’t wait for the body to decompose. We’ve already begun our continuation. You know that you have the power to change. You can ensure a beautiful continuation. Let’s suppose that yesterday you produced a thought that was not worthy of you, and today you’re sorry. You think, “I don’t want to be continued in that way.” You can correct it, you can transform that continuation.

If you have touched right view, you will be able to produce a different thought, a thought that is worthy of you today, a thought that carries within it understanding, compassion, and non-discrimination. The moment you produce this wonderful thought, it will go out and catch the other thought that you produced yesterday. And in the space of half a second it will be able to transform that thought.

So you have the chance to correct the past; this is wonderful. We say that the past is already gone, but the past is always returning with its new manifestations, and with those manifestations we can correct it.

If you have said something that’s not worthy of you, say something else today, and that will transform everything. Do something different today based on right view and transform the whole situation. That is possible.

If you have a Sangha that supports you, if you are supported by the collective right view, then it’s very easy to produce such thoughts, such words, such actions, to transform everything right now, today, to ensure a good future, a good continuation.

The teaching of the Buddha is very deep, and at the same time very practical. This teaching has the capacity to heal us, to transform our pain, our fear. It’s good to have enough time to learn more about these teachings and put them into practice in our daily life.

Thich Nhat Hanh

http://www.mindfulnessbell.org/articles/karma4.php" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

I found this interesting, what do you guys think
"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."

nowheat
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Re: the great rebirth debate

Post by nowheat » Mon May 21, 2012 9:47 pm

Spiny O'Norman wrote:
nowheat wrote:
Spiny O'Norman wrote: I can see that clinging to self is an important aspect of the clinging described in DO. But I don't see how your interpretation is consistent with the section of DO which describes biological birth arising in dependence on becoming in the 3 realms.
I've done (aging-and-) Death at great length, now you want me to do Birth and then Becoming? Will you be asking me to work backward through the entire chain? I ask because my thesis is quite lengthy.
Yes, I'd be interested to hear your interpretation of the birth and becoming nidanas.
The paper that describes the structure I see and why I see it is finally out and available (for the price of a subscription) here:

http://www.ocbs.org/journal

Abstracts for the volume it is in can be found here:

http://www.ocbs.org/journal/list-of-abs ... ent-volume

In his editorial (quoted in the most recent edition of the newsletter, to be found here: http://www.ocbs.org/news-ocbsmain-88/23 ... s-may-2012) Professor Gombrich says of the theory:
an exciting new interpretation of the Buddha’s teaching of dependent origination... so ambitious a theory is bound to be controversial, and ... only time will tell what the world will make of it; but I am confident that at the very least it deserves to be taken seriously.

:namaste:

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DAWN
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Re: the great rebirth debate

Post by DAWN » Fri Aug 24, 2012 3:46 am

It's interaction who rebirth, but not one dhamma
It's not one atta who rebirth, but just some kamma

If we take 'E=mc²', and discribe that interaction like 'Energy is a mass multiply on squared light speed' is be a rebirth of one interaction, rebirth of one kammа. For example if I have one interaction similar with an ant interaction, my kamma will rebirth like an ant.

No interaction, no kamma, no rebirth of kamma

A lotus flower dont interact with water who slides down.
Sabbe dhamma anatta
We are not concurents...
I'am sorry for my english

rowyourboat
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Re: the great rebirth debate

Post by rowyourboat » Fri Aug 24, 2012 9:50 pm

jcsuperstar wrote:i guess someone needs to get this ball rolling :twisted:

personally i believe in literal rebirth. it's just i don't care that much about it. and i don't think it's a necessity. i feel the non literal moment to moment view of rebirth is far more important to focus on in terms of one's daily practice.

what's your take?
Hi all,

Just joining this thread after much water has flowed under the bridge - my belief in literal rebirth waxed and waned, and is currently back in full force. :D. Moment to moment births and deaths is great but 'literal' rebirth, ie my death and being reborn god knows where, does motivate my practice to a certain degree. My suspicions are that there will be more non-believers among beginners than those who are advanced on this path.

With metta
With Metta

Karuna
Mudita
& Upekkha

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Re: the great rebirth debate

Post by Ron-The-Elder » Sun Aug 26, 2012 10:43 pm

rowyourboat wrote:
Just joining this thread after much water has flowed under the bridge - my belief in literal rebirth waxed and waned, and is currently back in full force. :D. Moment to moment births and deaths is great but 'literal' rebirth, ie my death and being reborn god knows where, does motivate my practice to a certain degree. My suspicions are that there will be more non-believers among beginners than those who are advanced on this path.

With metta
I don't see "belief" as important to understanding this process as is "experience". Problem is that I just don't remember previous lives and deaths like Buddha did, whereas,mind-moment to mind-moment rebirth is memorable and from that experience I can easily see where Buddha's teachings in that regard hold great merit. In all of this I continue to dwell in this house of emptiness, finding no permanent self, ego, or soul, which is key to making progress along "the path".
What Makes an Elder? :
A head of gray hairs doesn't mean one's an elder. Advanced in years, one's called an old fool.
But one in whom there is truth, restraint, rectitude, gentleness,self-control, he's called an elder, his impurities disgorged, enlightened.
-Dhammpada, 19, translated by Thanissaro Bhikkhu.

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