the great rebirth debate

A discussion on all aspects of Theravāda Buddhism
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Ben
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Re: Is hell and hungry ghost realm to be taken literally?

Post by Ben » Tue Aug 09, 2011 9:58 am

Hi Aloka,
Aloka wrote:Unless you can show them to me Zom, then in my own view its all purely speculative and has no connection to my practice here and now.
How can you possibly know that? How do you know that your view does not condition your practice negatively? And wrong view generated by one's practice or one's experiences or interpretations of them, then just creates a self-validating circle of delusion. Most people who follow a wrong path are completely convinced that they are following the right path.
kind regards

Ben
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Re: Is hell and hungry ghost realm to be taken literally?

Post by Jhana4 » Tue Aug 09, 2011 10:09 am

Ervin wrote:My understaning is that Budhists believe in hell realms. Once a Budhist reverend told me that one day in hell is 50 thousand years. If that is really the case than that is horific and extremley cruel and disproportionate punishment. Honestly I hope there a is no hell or at least if Budha was right than I hope they are to be taken metaphorically.

Anyway, I am interested in your/theravada take on it!

Thanks
I don't believe it. I don't see those kind of things as being any different than the superstitions/myths Christians on our side of the world believe because that is what they were brought up with those stories. I understand that the Bible has some good advice about life too, admits the myths in its pages. That good advice doesn't make the myths anymore plausible. Same with Buddhism.
In reading the scriptures, there are two kinds of mistakes:
One mistake is to cling to the literal text and miss the inner principles.
The second mistake is to recognize the principles but not apply them to your own mind, so that you waste time and just make them into causes of entanglement.

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Re: Is hell and hungry ghost realm to be taken literally?

Post by plwk » Tue Aug 09, 2011 10:41 am

I sometimes wonder if the burger I eat is 'real'.... :thinking: :tongue:

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Re: Is hell and hungry ghost realm to be taken literally?

Post by FlowerPotMen » Tue Aug 09, 2011 10:48 am

[Mod note: This is a post by the banned and frequent violator of the TOS aka Element, who is a global moderator on Buddhism Without Borders]
Ben wrote:How can you possibly know that? How do you know that your view does not condition your practice negatively? And wrong view generated by one's practice or one's experiences or interpretations of them, then just creates a self-validating circle of delusion. Most people who follow a wrong path are completely convinced that they are following the right path.
Just self-righteous speculation :soap:

The heavens & hells of the six sense bases the Buddha taught is known. However, the heaven & hell of the Flower Pot Men is just imagined :strawman:

It is right view to believe there are other worlds (para loka). The Incontrovertible Discourse from the Majjhimanikāya instructs this mundane right view for the householder promotes the three kinds of skilful action. :reading:

But it cannot lead to enlightenment & the end of suffering. The Incontrovertible Discourse calls it a "lucky throw" or "gamble". :toast:

So the way the mind holds such a view certainly affects one's practise. :sage:

To hold the view as 'literal' is just a self-validating circle of delusion. :spy:

The stream enterer is so because it knows without doubt it is on the right path. The stream enterer has dropped 'self-validating beliefs', doubt and superstition. :meditate:

With metta :heart:

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Alex123
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Re: Is hell and hungry ghost realm to be taken literally?

Post by Alex123 » Tue Aug 09, 2011 12:46 pm

chownah wrote: Alex123,
SOMETIMES the Buddha indicated that something he said was a simile....this does not mean that every other time he spoke he meant it to be literal....


But the Buddha NEVER (or please tell where) said that rebirth is a simile and that there is "one life only". Same with the Theravada commentaries and some mahayana commentary that I've read.

I find it preposterous to imply that Buddha was such an incapable teacher who couldn't express His thought clearly, which has led to thousands of years of misinterpreting His Teachings. I really do not know how He could have been even more clear when He frequently said "with the break-up of the body, after death" and defined the body as "this body — endowed with form, composed of the four primary elements, born from mother & father, nourished with rice & porridge, subject to inconstancy, rubbing, pressing, dissolution, and dispersion " . If there was one life only, then it would be stupid for Gotama to look for a way to end birth, aging and death (MN26), since birth would never be repeated if there was one life only, and nothing could prevent the aging and death of this body (please see again what the body means). Furthermore, if rebirth is supposed to mean arising of mental states in this single life, then why would one need to enter 4th Jhāna to see that? Can't one be aware of ones mind state without having to go as deep?

"When the mind was thus concentrated, purified, bright, unblemished, rid of defilement, pliant, malleable, steady, & attained to imperturbability, I directed it to the knowledge of recollecting my past lives. I recollected my manifold past lives, i.e., one birth, two...five, ten...fifty, a hundred, a thousand, a hundred thousand, many eons of cosmic contraction, many eons of cosmic expansion, many eons of cosmic contraction & expansion: 'There I had such a name, belonged to such a clan, had such an appearance. Such was my food, such my experience of pleasure & pain, such the end of my life. Passing away from that state, I re-arose there. There too I had such a name, belonged to such a clan, had such an appearance. Such was my food, such my experience of pleasure & pain, such the end of my life. Passing away from that state, I re-arose here.' Thus I remembered my manifold past lives in their modes & details.
...
"When the mind was thus concentrated, purified, bright, unblemished, rid of defilement, pliant, malleable, steady, & attained to imperturbability, I directed it to the knowledge of the passing away & reappearance of beings. I saw — by means of the divine eye, purified & surpassing the human — beings passing away & re-appearing, and I discerned how they are inferior & superior, beautiful & ugly, fortunate & unfortunate in accordance with their kamma: 'These beings — who were endowed with bad conduct of body, speech, & mind, who reviled the noble ones, held wrong views and undertook actions under the influence of wrong views — with the break-up of the body, after death, have re-appeared in the plane of deprivation, the bad destination, the lower realms, in hell. But these beings — who were endowed with good conduct of body, speech & mind, who did not revile the noble ones, who held right views and undertook actions under the influence of right views — with the break-up of the body, after death, have re-appeared in the good destinations, in the heavenly world.' Thus — by means of the divine eye, purified & surpassing the human — I saw beings passing away & re-appearing, and I discerned how they are inferior & superior, beautiful & ugly, fortunate & unfortunate in accordance with their kamma.
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
Last edited by Alex123 on Tue Aug 09, 2011 1:00 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Alex123
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Re: Is hell and hungry ghost realm to be taken literally?

Post by Alex123 » Tue Aug 09, 2011 12:50 pm

Hi Aloka,
Aloka wrote:
Zom wrote:Thinking that heavens and hells should not be taken "literally" - is the Wrong View.
Unless you can show them to me Zom, then in my own view its all purely speculative and has no connection to my practice here and now.
And who can show you Nibbāna? Have you personally and directly seen it? So how isn't that speculative to you?
Have you personally seen an Arahant, for example? Are you sure you weren't mistaken? So do we reject Arhatship then as mere speculation? (same with other stages).

Is what is said in the Suttas speculative unless it was verified by you? Do we consider our own beliefs to be preferable to suttas?
"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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Re: Is hell and hungry ghost realm to be taken literally?

Post by chownah » Tue Aug 09, 2011 1:01 pm

Bhikkhu Pesala wrote:Please see The Incontrovertible Discourse from the Majjhimanikāya.
Bhikkhu Pesala,
In this story the "wise man" does not take the view that "another world" exists nor does he take the view that "another world" does not exist. It seems that if the "wise man" has had some experience suggesting that "another world" exists then he is not formulating views based on that experience...and if the "wise man" has not had some experience of "another world" then he is not formulationg views based on that lack of experience....it seems that the "wise man" is not indulging in views....is this how you see the "wise man"?
chownah

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Re: Is hell and hungry ghost realm to be taken literally?

Post by Alex123 » Tue Aug 09, 2011 1:14 pm

Chownah,
chownah wrote:
Bhikkhu Pesala wrote:Please see The Incontrovertible Discourse from the Majjhimanikāya.
Bhikkhu Pesala,
In this story the "wise man" does not take the view that "another world" exists nor does he take the view that "another world" does not exist. It seems that if the "wise man" has had some experience suggesting that "another world" exists then he is not formulating views based on that experience...and if the "wise man" has not had some experience of "another world" then he is not formulationg views based on that lack of experience....it seems that the "wise man" is not indulging in views....is this how you see the "wise man"?
chownah
So, before directly seeing Nibbāna, is it a view because that person hasn't yet had the experience suggesting that Nibbāna exists?
So do we reject it then because it is "a view" of which a person had no experience?

If one hasn't personally seen an Arhat, does that mean that it is a view that Arhats exist - and we need to reject it?
etc, etc.

Reading the complete Sutta-Pitaka, is there any reasonable basis to conclude that Buddha taught "one life only", and "rebirth as mental states in this life only"? Was Buddha such an incapable teacher who couldn't clearly say that after one-life it is 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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Re: Is hell and hungry ghost realm to be taken literally?

Post by santa100 » Tue Aug 09, 2011 1:45 pm

From Apannaka Sutta:
“Since there is another world, one who holds the view that there is not holds a wrong view. Since there is another world, one who thinks that there is not has wrong thoughts. Since there is another world, one who says there is not uses wrong speech and is opposed to those Arahants who know there is another world. One who convinces another to accept this untrue Dhamma praises himself and disparages others, thus any former morality he had is abandoned and replaced with bad conduct. All of these various unwholesome things — wrong thought, wrong speech and so forth — have wrong view as their origin.”
Well, for the no-rebirth/no-other-world/all-a-myth/all-speculative camp, if you're confident that you can continue your training without the risk of falling into wrong thought, wrong speech, wrong action, etc. then carry on, wishing you all the best. Just be aware that the odds are stacking up against you. The words above were from the Great Teacher. You heard Him...

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Re: Is hell and hungry ghost realm to be taken literally?

Post by Bhikkhu Pesala » Tue Aug 09, 2011 2:16 pm

chownah wrote:It seems that the "wise man" is not indulging in views....is this how you see the "wise man"?
The way that I see it is that the wise man knows that he does not know, so he steers a safe and pragmatic course. The Sutta makes it clear what the Buddha's view was:
“Since there is another world, one who holds the view that there is not holds a wrong view. Since there is another world, one who thinks that there is not has wrong thoughts. Since there is another world, one who says there is not uses wrong speech and is opposed to those Arahants who know there is another world. One who convinces another to accept this untrue Dhamma praises himself and disparages others, thus any former morality he had is abandoned and replaced with bad conduct. All of these various unwholesome things — wrong thought, wrong speech and so forth — have wrong view as their origin.”
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Re: the great rebirth debate

Post by ancientbuddhism » Tue Aug 09, 2011 2:30 pm

Hi kirk5a, Alex123 et al,

I really don’t know what to say at this point to you or others who choose to respond with specious arguments with the agnostic premise to what is a direct question of what are practicable essentials?.These responses are so disconnected from the question in its context that a this/that reply is not possible without further digression. As unfortunate as this seems, it really does not matter; such are the conditions which give rise to self and views.

For those who can understand, I have no quarrel with what is in the early texts, or anyone else, which give voice to the life-to-life rebirth myth. I am fortunate, quite by accident perhaps, that my Ajahns gave me rather simple contemplative instruction ‘kesā lomā nakhā dantā taco…’ which are easy enough to understand and put into practice, and otherwise I am simply content to also practice any tenets of Dhamma which endow the results of contemplative endeavor, readily evident; just as others may choose contemplative ‘Traditions’ – whether they be LP Teean, Mahāsi, Goenka, khun Sujin, Wat Phra Dhammakāya or the TFT – teachers who can be just as radical if not more so with their arbitrary selection what part of the 8-fold Path is practicable – as any natural agnostic.
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Re: Is hell and hungry ghost realm to be taken literally?

Post by chownah » Tue Aug 09, 2011 2:36 pm

Bhikkhu Pesala wrote:
chownah wrote:It seems that the "wise man" is not indulging in views....is this how you see the "wise man"?
The way that I see it is that the wise man knows that he does not know, so he steers a safe and pragmatic course. The Sutta makes it clear what the Buddha's view was:
“Since there is another world, one who holds the view that there is not holds a wrong view. Since there is another world, one who thinks that there is not has wrong thoughts. Since there is another world, one who says there is not uses wrong speech and is opposed to those Arahants who know there is another world. One who convinces another to accept this untrue Dhamma praises himself and disparages others, thus any former morality he had is abandoned and replaced with bad conduct. All of these various unwholesome things — wrong thought, wrong speech and so forth — have wrong view as their origin.”
Bhikkhu Pesala,
Do you think that "another world" as the Buddha is using it fits into the guidelines of "the world" as the Buddha explains in the Loca Sutta?...it seems to me that "another world" seems to be a very generic concept and does not seem to point in any particular direction...if the Buddha had meant hell I guess he would have said so but maybe not....
chownah

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Alex123
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Re: the great rebirth debate

Post by Alex123 » Tue Aug 09, 2011 2:42 pm

Hello Ancientbuddhism,

Of course one may believe what one wants. What I don't approve of is the projecting of one's beliefs onto the Suttas.
One of the ways that one projects one's beliefs or doubts is to interpret clear message in such a way to mean what one wants it to mean that it affirms one's beliefs.


"Myth of rebirth in the early texts notwithstanding – do the teachings of the Buddha stand or fail based on whether one believes in what cannot be reached by living experience? With the myth of rebirth aside I do not see a mere system of ethics, mere petty morality, but a way of living with an analysis of experience which can be put into practice with evident progression." http://www.dhammawheel.com/viewtopic.ph ... fc#p142808" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

How do you know that rebirth is a myth? Why not Nibbāna being a myth? Have you personally seen it? Have you seen an Arahant?
"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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Aloka
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Re: Is hell and hungry ghost realm to be taken literally?

Post by Aloka » Tue Aug 09, 2011 2:43 pm

Alex123 wrote:Hi Aloka,
Aloka wrote:
Zom wrote:Thinking that heavens and hells should not be taken "literally" - is the Wrong View.
Unless you can show them to me Zom, then in my own view its all purely speculative and has no connection to my practice here and now.
And who can show you Nibbāna? Have you personally and directly seen it? So how isn't that speculative to you?
Have you personally seen an Arahant, for example? Are you sure you weren't mistaken? So do we reject Arhatship then as mere speculation? (same with other stages).

Is what is said in the Suttas speculative unless it was verified by you? Do we consider our own beliefs to be preferable to suttas?
Alex123

What are you talking about? Did I mention Nibbana or Arahants?

Also, no offence meant, but I'd prefer not to engage with your extremist attack style.

Relax... breathe .... be happy ! The sun is shining here -does it shine for you?

.

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Re: Is hell and hungry ghost realm to be taken literally?

Post by daverupa » Tue Aug 09, 2011 2:45 pm

santa100 wrote:
From Apannaka Sutta:
“Since there is another world, one who holds the view that there is not holds a wrong view. Since there is another world, one who thinks that there is not has wrong thoughts. Since there is another world, one who says there is not uses wrong speech and is opposed to those Arahants who know there is another world. One who convinces another to accept this untrue Dhamma praises himself and disparages others, thus any former morality he had is abandoned and replaced with bad conduct. All of these various unwholesome things — wrong thought, wrong speech and so forth — have wrong view as their origin.”
Well, for the no-rebirth/no-other-world/all-a-myth/all-speculative camp, if you're confident that you can continue your training without the risk of falling into wrong thought, wrong speech, wrong action, etc. then carry on, wishing you all the best. Just be aware that the odds are stacking up against you. The words above were from the Great Teacher. You heard Him...
MN 117 wrote:"And what is right view? Right view, I tell you, is of two sorts: There is right view with effluents [asava], siding with merit, resulting in the acquisitions [of becoming]; and there is noble right view, without effluents, transcendent, a factor of the path.

"And what is the right view that has effluents, sides with merit, & results in acquisitions? 'There is what is given, what is offered, what is sacrificed. There are fruits & results of good & bad actions. There is this world & the next world. There is mother & father. There are spontaneously reborn beings; there are priests & contemplatives who, faring rightly & practicing rightly, proclaim this world & the next after having directly known & realized it for themselves.' This is the right view that has effluents, sides with merit, & results in acquisitions."
This is the right view of the Apannaka Sutta which was preached to a brahmin village.
MN 117 wrote:"And what is the right view that is without effluents, transcendent, a factor of the path? The discernment, the faculty of discernment, the strength of discernment, analysis of qualities as a factor for Awakening, the path factor of right view of one developing the noble path whose mind is noble, whose mind is free from effluents, who is fully possessed of the noble path. This is the right view that is without effluents, transcendent, a factor of the path.
This is the right view preached to the monastic sangha.

Why this difference? Is it a matter of the audience? It certainly seems important. After all, "the words above were from the Great Teacher. You heard Him."

It seems certain brahmins were taught a morality argued for with a version of Pascal's Wager, while the monastic sangha was taught to nevermind all that effluent, acquisitive merit in favor of the noble path - and nowhere therein is 'the next world' an essential teaching.

Cling to views of this world and the next like a brahmin, or set it aside in favor of Dhamma practice.

:meditate:
Last edited by daverupa on Tue Aug 09, 2011 2:55 pm, edited 1 time in total.
  • "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting oneself one protects others? By the pursuit, development, and cultivation of the four establishments of mindfulness. It is in such a way that by protecting oneself one protects others.

    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting others one protects oneself? By patience, harmlessness, goodwill, and sympathy. It is in such a way that by protecting others one protects oneself.

- Sedaka Sutta [SN 47.19]

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