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Re: the great rebirth debate

Posted: Sat Nov 06, 2010 9:27 pm
by Alex123
Hello Aloka,

Neither "mundane" nor "supramundane" teaching, neither "conventional" nor "ultimate" teaching rejects the teaching of rebirth.

The "ultimate" teaching is just more precise and talks in terms of mental & physical events, while conventional teaching uses ordinary words (such as this person was reborn as a frog, etc etc). In both cases they refer to cittas, cetasika and rūpa.


While mundane teaching is often aimed at showing the path to better rebirth, the supramundane teaching is aimed at stopping rebirth all together.


So in all cases existence of rebirth is accepted.

With metta,

Alex

Re: the great rebirth debate

Posted: Sat Nov 06, 2010 9:42 pm
by Aloka
Hi Alex,

Alex 123 wrote:
So in all cases existence of rebirth is accepted.
But this may not be intended strictly in a post mortem sense but could be the way that Ajahn Sumedho speaks of it in 'The Mind and the Way'.
You can see rebirth directly; you don’t have to believe in a theory of rebirth. Rebirth is something that occurs in what you are doing all the time. Now, since there is no self, there is nothing to be reborn as a personal essence or soul, carrying through from one lifetime to the next. However, desire is being reborn; it is constantly looking for something to absorb into or something to become.

If you are unhappy and depressed, you look for something that you can absorb into that will give you some happy feeling, or at least get you away from the unpleasantness of the moment. That’s rebirth.

Metta,

Aloka _/\_

Re: the great rebirth debate

Posted: Sat Nov 06, 2010 9:52 pm
by Alex123
Hello Aloka,
Aloka wrote:Hi Alex,
But this may not be in a post mortem sense but could be the way that Ajahn Sumedho speaks of it in 'The Mind and the Way'.
The suttas are clear that the end of this body is not the end of cause-effect stream of cittas until arhatship.

There are many suttas that do talk about what is called 'literal rebirth' with phrases such as "at the breakup of the body, after death,".

Read MN129 and MN130.

http://metta.lk/tipitaka/2Sutta-Pitaka/ ... ita-e.html" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

Especially take note of
I say this not hearing from another recluse or brahmin, this is what I have myself known and seen and so I say it.
http://metta.lk/tipitaka/2Sutta-Pitaka/ ... uta-e.html" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
So all the talk about "Buddha borrowing elements of Hindu society he lived in" are refuted by that one sentence. What He has taught was what he himself has " ...known and seen... ".


With metta,

Alex

Re: the great rebirth debate

Posted: Sat Nov 06, 2010 10:10 pm
by bodom
But this may not be intended strictly in a post mortem sense but could be the way that Ajahn Sumedho speaks of it in 'The Mind and the Way'.

You can see rebirth directly; you don’t have to believe in a theory of rebirth.


Hi Aloka

Ajahn Sumedho doesn't always speak of rebirth strictly in the above manner either...
We must be reborn again and again until we do resolve our kamma. We don't know how many lifetimes we have had so far, but here we are in this incarnation, with our own particular character and kammic tendencies.


http://www.abhayagiri.org/main/article/215/" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

:anjali:

Re: the great rebirth debate

Posted: Sat Nov 06, 2010 10:32 pm
by 5heaps
clw_uk wrote:
thats offtopic. rebirth doesnt refer to just birth of i, it refers to other specific events (ie. the generation of consciousness due to the final moment of consciousness in this life)
No that was a later idea. If Im right it came from Vasubandhu

It was an attempt to try and cram Buddhadhamma into a speculative metaphysical view
completely ridiculous. there are very many instances where the Buddha talks about rebirth in various circumstances ie. from a womb, through the power of 'emanation' (ie. gods). many instances where the Buddha talks about the supporting conditions of such occurrences. even many instances of giving examples of people who have undergone such occurrences.

im getting quite tired of inept people dissing the historical giants of buddhism. get some class.

Re: the great rebirth debate

Posted: Sat Nov 06, 2010 10:37 pm
by Aloka
Hi Bodom,
bodom wrote:
Ajahn Sumedho doesn't always speak of rebirth strictly in the above manner either...

Maybe not, different strokes for different folks as the saying goes - however I've had personal instruction from him in connection with my own practice, and I'm totally satisfied with that.


With metta,

Aloka

Re: the great rebirth debate

Posted: Sat Nov 06, 2010 10:41 pm
by bodom
I've had personal instruction from him in connection with my own practice, and I'm totally satisfied with that.


And in the grand scheme of things that is all that truly matters. :smile:

:anjali:

Re: the great rebirth debate

Posted: Sat Nov 06, 2010 11:10 pm
by Kenshou
5heaps wrote:im getting quite tired of inept people dissing the historical giants of buddhism. get some class.
Rebirth and Buddhism aside, this is the most ironic thing I've read all week.

Re: the great rebirth debate

Posted: Sun Nov 07, 2010 4:38 am
by tiltbillings
Aloka wrote:
tiltbillings wrote:
Again, to insist that these texts must be crammed into a figurative only reading is to make the Buddha intro a clumsy, inept teacher.
I'm not insisting anything, Tilt. I'm wondering if perhaps there are mundane and supramundane teachings (or as expressed in Vajrayana, teachings on a relative and ultimate level)

From the Manorathapūranī:
The Awakened One, best of speakers,
Spoke two kinds of truths:
The conventional and the ultimate.
A third truth does not obtain.

Therein:
The speech wherewith the world converses is true
On account of its being agreed upon by the world.
The speech which describes what is ultimate is also true,
Through characterizing dhammas as they really are.

Therefore, being skilled in common usage,
False speech does not arise in the Teacher,
Who is Lord of the World,
When he speaks according to conventions.
(Mn. i. 95)


I've got the Pali for that somewhere too - but as I don't understand Pali I'm just quoting the English.
Okay, but do not forget that the converntional truth is still the truth and no less true than the supposed ultimate truth.

Again, the passage you quoted and the one I added to it point to the fact that the anti-rebirther stance makes the Buddha out to be a poor teacher.

Re: the great rebirth debate

Posted: Sun Nov 07, 2010 4:54 am
by mikenz66
Aloka wrote:
glimpses of other realms.
These glimpses are enough to make my practice more determined
.
Dear Bhante,
I interpret other realms as different mental states and have discussed this with teachers who have said its ok to do that.
Kind regards,
Aloka
As Ven Nanadhaja says, this is fine. But I don't understand why it means that you argue against other interpretations. Especially since Ajahn Sumedo's book: http://books.google.com/books?id=Ux8ssV ... &q&f=false" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false; page 55 states:
If you understand rebirth on the everyday level, you'll appreciate how it must operate at the time of death. The last wish of a person, if they're heedless and full of desire, is probably to be reborn again, to find another human birth, to find some womb to jump into. This is desire; it operates as an energy in the universe.
...
If you're at peace with the dying process of your body, what can be reborn? Because there is no desire, there is only mindfulness and wisdom. Then there is release, surrender, and liberation from the heaviness of the human body.
This is similar to what Ajahn Buddhadasa states in "Heartwood of the Bodhi Tree" in the section on preparing for death...
http://www.dhammawheel.com/viewtopic.ph ... 180#p83349" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

From Pages 101-102 of the Wisdom edition.
There is a final pair to consider - birth and non-birth. We must reflect and investigate carefully that both birth and non-birth are too much trouble, for neither is void and free. If we cling to not being born this clinging too is non-void (sunna). This part, concerning birth and non-birth, the final pair, is the hardest to understand and the hardest to practice. We must want neither birth nor non-birth. Through not grasping at or clinging to either of them, there is voidness. Having spoken continually about having an being, of not-having and not-being, we come to birth and non-birth. Almost immediately, we grasp at non-birth. Thus, at the final stage, our practice must advance to the point where our knowledge of non-birth dissolves without becoming an object of grasping and clinging. Then, there appears true sunnata, in which there is neither birth nor non-birth, in other words, trued no-birth, the remainderless quenching.

This manner of speaking may seem to be quibbling or wrestling back and forth, but the meaning is unequivocal. There is a definite difference between true and false non-birth. S o don't cling to the idea that nibbana is non-birth and is wonderful and amazing in this way and that. And don't attach to the cycles of birth and death (vattasamsara) as a plethora of fun-filled births. There must be no grasping at or clinging to either side for there to be sunnata and genuine non-birth. The practise during ordinary times must continually be of this nature.
He goes on to discuss practising at the moment of death,which is in the link. In the book it's P 104:
The Last Chance

The third occasion for practice is the moment when the mind quenches. The body will break up and die; how can we practice sunnata at that time? In this situation we must depend on having taken "remainderless quenching" as our basic principle throughout life.
...
Regularly contemplate that being a person is no fun, being a deval is no fun, being a father ...
Then, the mind will hold no hope of having or being anything at all. One could say "all hope has been given up".
He goes on to give several pages of advice of how to realise nibbana at the moment of death, with a simile of jumping off a ladder.

:anjali:
Mike

Re: the great rebirth debate

Posted: Sun Nov 07, 2010 5:15 am
by tiltbillings
mikenz66 wrote:
If you understand rebirth on the everyday level, you'll appreciate how it must operate at the time of death. The last wish of a person, if they're heedless and full of desire, is probably to be reborn again, to find another human birth, to find some womb to jump into. This is desire; it operates as an energy in the universe.
...
If you're at peace with the dying process of your body, what can be reborn? Because there is no desire, there is only mindfulness and wisdom. Then there is release, surrender, and liberation from the heaviness of the human body.
Oh, dear. Ven Sumedho takes rebirth literally and what can we say about Buddhadasa's comments?

Re: the great rebirth debate

Posted: Sun Nov 07, 2010 5:31 am
by mikenz66
tiltbillings wrote:Oh, dear. Ven Sumedho takes rebirth literally and what can we say about Buddhadasa's comments?
The funny thing is that I bought Heartwood of the Bodhi Tree back in 2007 when I was in Hong Kong and read it without realising that he was considered to be a denier of literal rebirth. Since a large chunk of that book (actually, a collection of talks) is devoted to advice on how to attain nibbana at the instant of death (not to have a good life before death), the whole book would seem to be a little pointless if nothing persisted after death.

:anjali:
Mike

Re: the great rebirth debate

Posted: Sun Nov 07, 2010 5:38 am
by tiltbillings
mikenz66 wrote:
tiltbillings wrote:Oh, dear. Ven Sumedho takes rebirth literally and what can we say about Buddhadasa's comments?
The funny thing is that I bought Heartwood of the Bodhi Tree back in 2007 when I was in Hong Kong and read it without realising that he was considered to be a denier of literal rebirth. Since a large chunk of that book (actually, a collection of talks) is devoted to advice on how to attain nibbana at the instant of death (not to have a good life before death), the whole book would seem to be a little pointless if nothing persisted after death.

:anjali:
Mike
Exactly, a point missed by those who cling to and twist Buddhadasa's words to get to rebirth denial.

But, oh, dear, Vens Sumedho and Buddhadasa no longer in the anti-rebirther's arsenal, but what we are going to continue to get is rebirth is wrong view stuff over and over and over, and never mind that for the Buddha rebirth was not a view and, as Aloka has quoted, it is clearly a teaching the Buddha gave us.

Re: the great rebirth debate

Posted: Sun Nov 07, 2010 9:15 am
by Aloka
Hi mikenz66,

in your quote from 'The Mind and the Way' you missed out a chunk of what Ajahn Sumedho had to say on page 55 -56
"The desire for rebirth at the time of death is a desire to be reborn again in the human form. We can only know this through watching how our mind works. If you were dying and you didn't want to die what would be the most likely thing to arise in your mind ? It would be a desire to cling to some form of life.

Some passion of your life would arise in your dying moment and that desire would be for some form of materialisation. The momentum of your habits are always materialising in forms, arent they? You're always seeking what you desire, either a sense desire, or an intellectual desire, or a desire to repress something you dont like.

But if you are mindful when you die, if there's no longing to have another rebirth or to take some action, what is there to be reborn again ?"
Diverting for a moment -guess what ? - Years ago I once did a whole month's offline retreat of intensiveTibetan Buddhist Bardo practices to prepare for dying and rebirth !

However returning to the present - You guys can criticise and mock all you like, but I'm very relaxed about the dying process and I certainly don't intend being reborn, OK ? ....and what you gonna do about that, Tilt? More sarcasm ? Ban me for being a heretic ? (Monty Python and the Spanish Inquisition comes to mind frequently in these threads)

I think that closes the matter from my point of view. I hope you both enjoy your future lives and may you both be reborn in the Theravada equivalent of Dewachen rather than a muddy pool somewhere !

Thank you for the discussion, its been..er... most enlightening ! :D


With metta,

Aloka

Re: the great rebirth debate

Posted: Sun Nov 07, 2010 9:34 am
by tiltbillings
Aloka wrote: in your quote from 'The Mind and the Way' you missed out a chunk of what Ajahn Sumedho had to say on page 55 -56
It does not change the point that Ven Sumedho obviously takes rebirth literally.
However returning to the present - You and Tilt can criticise and mock all you like,
No one is mocking you.
but I'm very relaxed about the dying process and I certainly don't intend being reborn, OK ?
Intentions. You may not have any choice in that.
....and what you gonna do about that, Tilt? More sarcasm ? Ban me for being a heretic ? (Monty Python and the Spanish Inquisition comes to mind frequently in these threads)
Your practice has nothing - not a thing - to do with what I am talking about. What your practice is is none of my business and it certainly is not of any interest to me. What I am talking about - as I said repeatedly - is what the Buddha taught. I am not arguing that rebirth is true; rather, I am making the point that the Buddha clearly taught rebirth, as the very passage you quoted plainly shows.
I think that closes the matter from my point of view. I hope you both enjoy your future lives and may you both be reborn in the Theravada equivalent of Dewachen rather than a muddy pool somewhere !
Thanks.