the great rebirth debate

A discussion on all aspects of Theravāda Buddhism
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Bhikkhu Pesala
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Re: What is rebirth?

Post by Bhikkhu Pesala » Wed Sep 30, 2015 6:21 pm

freedom wrote:When the first flame burns out, how does the second one start? After a person died, how does the next "person" start? What do the second one have from the first one? Do they have anything in common?
The simile doesn't stretch that far. When the last conscious moment in one existence ceases, a new process conditioned by it starts immediately in a new form. The idea of a “person” doesn't occur until a human being achieves growth and maturity. Very young children don't have a concept of self.

Self Concept.

The view of a permanent self is an illusion created by the mental process, and persists throughout life unless it is eradicated through the very diligent practice of insight meditation. If we can gain at least some insight into this illusory self-view, a lot of fruitless suffering can be removed. The first direct insights into not-self occur quite early in the progress of insight, but as the personality-view is so deeply-rooted it reasserts itself whenever we stop being truly mindful.

The Nature of Illusion.
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freedom
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Re: What is rebirth?

Post by freedom » Wed Sep 30, 2015 6:41 pm

Bhikkhu Pesala wrote: The simile doesn't stretch that far. When the last conscious moment in one existence ceases, a new process conditioned by it starts immediately in a new form. The idea of a “person” doesn't occur until a human being achieves growth and maturity. Very young children don't have a concept of self.

Self Concept.

The view of a permanent self is an illusion created by the mental process, and persists throughout life unless it is eradicated through the very diligent practice of insight meditation. If we can gain at least some insight into this illusory self-view, a lot of fruitless suffering can be removed. The first direct insights into not-self occur quite early in the progress of insight, but as the personality-view is so deeply-rooted it reasserts itself whenever we stop being truly mindful.

The Nature of Illusion.
Thanks very much for your explanation. I will look deeper into this...

In MN 93, I see this:
MN93

"'Yes, master, we know how there is the descent of an embryo. There is the case where the mother & father have come together, the mother is fertile, and a gandhabba [the being about to be reborn] is standing present. The coming together of these three is the descent of the embryo.'
This "gandhabba" is a being that means it has the 5 aggregates ( and this is what is about to be reborn as stated ). It seems like the rebirth does not start immediately in this case (?) Moreover, where does this gandhabba come from? Does this mean that what is reborn is the 5 aggregates?
One should not be negligent of discernment, should guard the truth, be devoted to relinquishment, and train only for calm - MN 140.

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Bhikkhu Pesala
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Re: What is rebirth?

Post by Bhikkhu Pesala » Wed Sep 30, 2015 6:46 pm

The being about to be born refers to the being about to decease from a previous existence.

It is neither the same being, nor a different one.

It should not be confused with the other meaning of a Gandhabba, which is a celestial musician.
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freedom
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Re: What is rebirth?

Post by freedom » Wed Sep 30, 2015 7:10 pm

Bhikkhu Pesala wrote:The being about to be born refers to the being about to decease from a previous existence.

It is neither the same being, nor a different one.

It should not be confused with the other meaning of a Gandhabba, which is a celestial musician.
This being about to be reborn has the 5 aggregates, but it is neither the same being, nor a different one. Therefore, can I say that this being is the copy of the being that is about to decease (but with fine material form)? This being can go to hell, to a womb, or to heaven...
One should not be negligent of discernment, should guard the truth, be devoted to relinquishment, and train only for calm - MN 140.

freedom
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Re: What is rebirth?

Post by freedom » Wed Sep 30, 2015 7:27 pm

Let me make an example:

Assume A is about to die. The copy process take place, B is a copy of A. Therefore, B has all the memory of A as well as all the personalities of A. When B completely separated from A, A is dead and B is the brand new being. B is not A, but B is no different from A. When B dies, C is a copy of B, therefore C has all the memories of B and A and so on. (This process is quite the same with the cell division) - This is what we called rebirth. Am I correct?

This will explain why we can recall past lives because Z contains all the memory of A,B,C,.. But actually Z is a brand new being who has no past or future!
One should not be negligent of discernment, should guard the truth, be devoted to relinquishment, and train only for calm - MN 140.

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Alex123
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Re: What is rebirth?

Post by Alex123 » Wed Sep 30, 2015 7:56 pm

freedom wrote:Let me make an example:

Assume A is about to die. The copy process take place, B is a copy of A. Therefore, B has all the memory of A as well as all the personalities of A. When B completely separated from A, A is dead and B is the brand new being. B is not A, but B is no different from A. When B dies, C is a copy of B, therefore C has all the memories of B and A and so on. (This process is quite the same with the cell division) - This is what we called rebirth. Am I correct?

This will explain why we can recall past lives because Z contains all the memory of A,B,C,.. But actually Z is a brand new being who has no past or future!
The problem is that memories and mental qualities depend on the brain. When a person dies, so does the brain. So how can there be any carry over?
"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..."

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Bhikkhu Pesala
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Re: What is rebirth?

Post by Bhikkhu Pesala » Wed Sep 30, 2015 8:28 pm

There is no point repeating the Great Rebirth Debate again.

Please read the references given already and try to understand the Buddha's teaching.
Last edited by Bhikkhu Pesala on Wed Sep 30, 2015 8:29 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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freedom
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Re: What is rebirth?

Post by freedom » Wed Sep 30, 2015 8:29 pm

Alex123 wrote:
freedom wrote:Let me make an example:

Assume A is about to die. The copy process take place, B is a copy of A. Therefore, B has all the memory of A as well as all the personalities of A. When B completely separated from A, A is dead and B is the brand new being. B is not A, but B is no different from A. When B dies, C is a copy of B, therefore C has all the memories of B and A and so on. (This process is quite the same with the cell division) - This is what we called rebirth. Am I correct?

This will explain why we can recall past lives because Z contains all the memory of A,B,C,.. But actually Z is a brand new being who has no past or future!
The problem is that memories and mental qualities depend on the brain. When a person dies, so does the brain. So how can there be any carry over?
We do not know all about memories. What if they are just patterns or something else (Like in DNA). There is no conclusive evidences that memories and mental qualities must depend only on the brain. Information can be coded in patterns, and these patterns can be copied over.
One should not be negligent of discernment, should guard the truth, be devoted to relinquishment, and train only for calm - MN 140.

freedom
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Re: What is rebirth?

Post by freedom » Wed Sep 30, 2015 8:34 pm

Alex123 wrote: The problem is that memories and mental qualities depend on the brain. When a person dies, so does the brain. So how can there be any carry over?
If we look at the cell division, we see that the new cell retains the memory of the old one without requiring the brain.
One should not be negligent of discernment, should guard the truth, be devoted to relinquishment, and train only for calm - MN 140.

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Alex123
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Re: What is rebirth?

Post by Alex123 » Wed Sep 30, 2015 9:05 pm

freedom wrote:
Alex123 wrote: The problem is that memories and mental qualities depend on the brain. When a person dies, so does the brain. So how can there be any carry over?
If we look at the cell division, we see that the new cell retains the memory of the old one without requiring the brain.
A cell does not have a brain and it divides while the other cell still exists. It is not like person dying and getting reborn.
freedom wrote: We do not know all about memories. What if they are just patterns or something else (Like in DNA). There is no conclusive evidences that memories and mental qualities must depend only on the brain. Information can be coded in patterns, and these patterns can be copied over.
It is almost conclusively proven that when brain is damaged, the memories are damaged (and so do mental functions). Alzheimer's disease is well studied... So is effect of brain damage on the mind.

Heck, the mind develops as the brain develops (in childhood). That is why mental functions increase in a growing infant and child.
Case studies aside, modern experiments have demonstrated that the relation between brain and mind is much more than simple correlation. By damaging, or manipulating, specific areas of the brain repeatedly under controlled conditions (e.g. in monkeys) and reliably obtaining the same results in measures of mental state and abilities, neuroscientists have shown that the relation between damage to the brain and mental deterioration is likely causal. This conclusion is further supported by data from the effects of neuro-active chemicals (such as those affecting neurotransmitters) on mental functions,[76] but also from research on neurostimulation (direct electrical stimulation of the brain, including transcranial magnetic stimulation).[77]
link

In some contexts, the decisions that a person makes can be detected up to 10 seconds in advance by means of scanning their brain activity.[79] Furthermore, subjective experiences and covert attitudes can be detected,[80] as can mental imagery.[81] This is strong empirical evidence that cognitive processes have physical basis in the brain,[82][83]
link
"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..."

SarathW
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Re: What is rebirth?

Post by SarathW » Wed Sep 30, 2015 9:28 pm

If you see the dependent origination you see the rebirth.
“As the lamp consumes oil, the path realises Nibbana”

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Alex123
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Re: What is rebirth?

Post by Alex123 » Wed Sep 30, 2015 9:47 pm

SarathW wrote:If you see the dependent origination you see the rebirth.
How can one prove that bhāva (or even ‎taṇhā) leads to jāti (as literal rebirth)? Maybe when the body is gone, so is the mind with all the memories, skills, etc.

An interesting post that I made to an interesting article.


I have no doubt that ‎taṇhā -> dukkha.
"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..."

freedom
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Re: What is rebirth?

Post by freedom » Wed Sep 30, 2015 10:06 pm

Alex123 wrote: A cell does not have a brain and it divides while the other cell still exists. It is not like person dying and getting reborn.
Do you agree that the information can carry over without requiring a brain?
Look at DNA, do you see how the information is stored without requiring a brain? Do you see the patterns in DNA?

When a brain is damaged, the information in that brain area is damaged. (Just like your computer's hard drive area is damaged). But if you can copy this information before the hard drive is damaged or from some backup areas , then you can retain the information and throw away the old one. How do you know that the body does not have other methods to store information? (Like store them in DNA or somewhere else also?)

Like I have said, we do not know all about memory. There may be many other possibilities...
One should not be negligent of discernment, should guard the truth, be devoted to relinquishment, and train only for calm - MN 140.

SarathW
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Re: What is rebirth?

Post by SarathW » Wed Sep 30, 2015 10:13 pm

Too much investigation in to rebirth (next life) come under the unskilful act of, "Who I was, Who I am, Who I will be" etc.
Once you understand dependent origination no need to ponder about this useless topic (over investigation).
What I am saying is, as a beginner you can ask this question.
As long term practitioners we should not waste our time on this topic.
We should concentrate in the present moment.
“As the lamp consumes oil, the path realises Nibbana”

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Alex123
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Re: What is rebirth?

Post by Alex123 » Wed Sep 30, 2015 10:17 pm

freedom wrote: Do you agree that the information can carry over without requiring a brain?
It depends on the kind of information we are talking about. Human personality and mental qualities requires a brain.


freedom wrote: Look at DNA, do you see how the information is stored without requiring a brain? Do you see the patterns in DNA?
Brain is MUCH more complex than a single cell that we can see split in two. Something which doesn't happen in case of human rebirth.
freedom wrote: When a brain is damaged, the information in that brain area is damaged. (Just like your computer's hard drive area is damaged). But if you can copy this information before the hard drive is damaged or from some backup areas , then you can retain the information and throw away the old one.
How is this information is copied from one brain to another? We don't see any physical link between a person who died, in one place and reborn in another place which could be very far away.

freedom wrote: How do you know that the body does not have other methods to store information? (Like store them in DNA or somewhere else also?)
Due to research of brain damage and its invariable mental result.
freedom wrote: Like I have said, we do not know all about memory. There may be many other possibilities...
But we know enough to question how can memory, personality, etc, be transferred.
"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..."

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