the great rebirth debate

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

Post by clw_uk » Mon Jan 27, 2014 1:02 pm

Alex123 wrote:If there is only one life, then at death arahants and worldlings are all equal at 6 feet under. Not much point in trying to become a stream enterer or higher....
Death would be automatic parinibbana.

We are danger of getting into the same old argument here

At the end of the day I do not know if there is rebirth, heaven, hell, Ra, oblivion or the Force.

However I will say that that line of thinking is irrelevant to me.

All I will say is that when I engage with Dhamma, I am more happy etc and I would practice regardless, as even if there is no future state etc it still improves my life in the here and now :)

My practice would not change if rebirth was proved, or if Christianity was proved or it oblivion was proved.

The reason why is that whenever I think about what happens after death, its always because of the "ego" wanting to know what happens to "me", which of course is a wrong place to come from (as well as admitting that I do not know and might never know)


However thats just my approach to the Dhamma, others will of course find merit in rebirth view and that works for them

The person who does that is just as much a follower of Buddha as I am, to me whats more important is how we use these concepts to free ourselves from dukkha :)


peace out x
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clw_uk
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Re: the great rebirth debate

Post by clw_uk » Mon Jan 27, 2014 1:46 pm

On a side note I will say I was wrong before to say that Buddha did not teach about rebirth. If we look at the Suttas he obviously did and because of that he obviously seen some value in teaching others about the concept. The reasons why though, I do not know. If I am honest I personally do not see the need for it, but thats just my subjective preference, which is not a good indicator of truth (As Ajahn Chah said, following our desires and preferences wont get us to nibbana)


Also, in terms of D.O. it can be read as both psychological and literal in the Suttas (or maybe intended as both, where clinging gives birth to "me" which can carry on after physical death).


The reasons for Buddha teaching about rebirth after death to some people, I do not know. I don't know the Buddhas intent, by that I mean I do not know if he meant to use it as a skilfull means to help others aim at wholesome actions (which helps to then lead them to his own teachings) or if he taught it as being an empirical fact, that he either believed or knew about.

I can see both in the Suttas

As I said before however, I think its how we use these views that is important, not the views themselves

After all we all aim for nibbana, which is the ending of birth here and now and after (if it does happen).


:smile: :soap:
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Re: the great rebirth debate

Post by Dinsdale » Mon Jan 27, 2014 2:07 pm

clw_uk wrote:
Spiny Norman wrote: The suttas describe a cycle of psycho-physical rebirth with beings re-appearing in different realms according to their kamma. How one chooses to understand or interprets this is, I think, another matter.
Do you view the reference of birth of beings as occurring in each moment, or only after death, or both?
As I said, in the suttas on dependent origination, birth and death are clearly and consistently described in physical rather than psychological terms. DO describes literal birth and death arising arising in dependence on bhava ( being or becoming ) which logically means that bhava must represent the cycle of ( literal ) birth and death, not some kind of psychological process.

In any case for me the idea of momentary rebirth of the "I" ( whatever ) doesn't make a lot of sense - the suttas describe self-view, conceit etc as deep-seated tendencies, not things that keep getting"reborn".

If you find the idea of moment-to-moment rebirth useful, that's fine, but I still don't think it's supported by the suttas.
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Re: the great rebirth debate

Post by Dinsdale » Mon Jan 27, 2014 2:09 pm

clw_uk wrote: I don't know the Buddhas intent, by that I mean I do not know if he meant to use it as a skilfull means to help others aim at wholesome actions (which helps to then lead them to his own teachings) or if he taught it as being an empirical fact, that he either believed or knew about.
There is no way of knowing for sure, but I find it difficult to believe that the Buddha would have made stuff up in order to reach a wider audience.
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Re: the great rebirth debate

Post by clw_uk » Mon Jan 27, 2014 2:17 pm

As I said, in the suttas on dependent origination, birth and death are clearly and consistently described in physical rather than psychological terms. DO describes literal birth and death arising arising in dependence on bhava ( being or becoming ) which logically means that bhava must represent the cycle of ( literal ) birth and death, not some kind of psychological process.
Yet the Buddha said that when there is no more clinging, there is no more "me" etc and there is the deathless. He also taught that clinging gives rise to "I am" and taught that the "world" etc are in the mind.

When I read the suttas I take it as meaning psychological for the most part, with suttas that teach that this moment to moment process can carry on after psychical death.

In any case for me the idea of momentary rebirth of the "I" ( whatever ) doesn't make a lot of sense - the suttas describe self-view, conceit etc as deep-seated tendencies, not things that keep getting"reborn".
That is true, however the strong view of "me" can be different from a subtle, underlying notion of "mine"

If you find the idea of moment-to-moment rebirth useful, that's fine, but I still don't think it's supported by the suttas.
To me it makes the most sense and has been a very useful tool to use in terms of practice etc. If you find the traditonal three life times model and post mortem rebirth useful, thats cool :)


There will always be those who prefer Ajahn Buddhadasa teaching of Dhamma, and those who prefer Ajahn Bodhi teaching of Dhamma

If they both help people get beyond dukkha, whats the harm :)

Different strokes for different folkes


The only I issue I have is when someone says that someone has to believe in rebirth, or not believe in it, to be a Buddhist


Personally I think that the defining feature of being a Buddhist is adhering to the three marks, non attachment and wholesome action ... Not if someone agrees with, disagrees with or just doesnt care about certain metaphysical/supernatural claims :) x
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Re: the great rebirth debate

Post by clw_uk » Mon Jan 27, 2014 2:21 pm

Spiny Norman wrote:
clw_uk wrote: I don't know the Buddhas intent, by that I mean I do not know if he meant to use it as a skilfull means to help others aim at wholesome actions (which helps to then lead them to his own teachings) or if he taught it as being an empirical fact, that he either believed or knew about.
There is no way of knowing for sure, but I find it difficult to believe that the Buddha would have made stuff up in order to reach a wider audience.


Maybe it's true, I don't know

However the aim for me is nibbana, so if there is rebirth or not I would practice the same


Subjectively, If somehow I knew there was rebirth or not, I would still practice Dhamma

I think thats Buddhisms biggest strength, that it has real value regardless of metaphysics

I take Buddhism as a set of tools to help me be free from unnecessary pain, not as a set of doctrines to believe in as such
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Re: the great rebirth debate

Post by Pondera » Tue Jan 28, 2014 12:54 am

http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=tbruPR3o0Z ... bruPR3o0Zc - this is a short animation of how the universe might expand and contract if space-time were doughnut shaped. If you add total determinism (or near total determinism) into the mix, you have a pretty good argument for your life repeating over and over again. Doesn't help much connecting one birth to another.

Is there evidence that space-time is donut shaped? Apparently "it's flat". But then, if our focal point is on .... I don't really understand how scientists measure space-time. I wish I did. I think the donut shaped universe is a comforting model and I'd like to argue for it (in some other place and time).
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Re: the great rebirth debate

Post by Alex123 » Tue Jan 28, 2014 12:59 am

Pondera wrote:your life repeating over and over again. Doesn't help much connecting one birth to another.

If
a) Your consciousness and sense of identity is entirely product of material causes (brain with certain pattern of brain activity).
b) There are infinite amount of Universes (as in cyclical or other models) .

Then after enough big bangs/big crunches either this situation will repeat again and you will be reborn, or some creature/person can be born with similar type of brain and brain activity so that there is birth of you again. This all hinges on physicalism and infinite amount of universes model.
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Re: the great rebirth debate

Post by AJungianIdeal » Tue Jan 28, 2014 2:45 am

My understanding of post-mortem rebirth is that it isn't rebirth of a person per se but more the rebirth of experiencing or awareness. Is that wrong?

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Re: the great rebirth debate

Post by SamKR » Tue Jan 28, 2014 3:20 am

AJungianIdeal wrote:My understanding of post-mortem rebirth is that it isn't rebirth of a person per se but more the rebirth of experiencing or awareness. Is that wrong?
I think it's not wrong. Rebirth (jati) is the formation of new aggregates of experiences, due to a renewed becoming (bhava), along with ignorance and self-identification, etc. The set of experiences before death (the present loka) "changes to" a new set of experiences (the future loka) - and these experiences, like present or past experiences, are ruled by sankhara. That is how I understand a rebirth.

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Re: the great rebirth debate

Post by Dinsdale » Tue Jan 28, 2014 9:37 am

SamKR wrote: I think it's not wrong. Rebirth (jati) is the formation of new aggregates of experiences, due to a renewed becoming (bhava), along with ignorance and self-identification, etc. The set of experiences before death (the present loka) "changes to" a new set of experiences (the future loka) - and these experiences, like present or past experiences, are ruled by sankhara. That is how I understand a rebirth.
I think that's a good explanation. I usually think about rebirth as a dependent re-arising of consciousness, but it amounts to the same.
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Re: the great rebirth debate

Post by Pondera » Wed Jan 29, 2014 1:57 am

Pretty sure Tibetan Book of the Dead talks about the consciousness of the knower descending into the mind of the fetus at a very particular instance in the fetal development. The descent, I believe, is from heaven (or "limbo" I think is a better term).
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Re: the great rebirth debate

Post by Pondera » Wed Jan 29, 2014 1:58 am

Alex123 wrote:
Pondera wrote:your life repeating over and over again. Doesn't help much connecting one birth to another.

If
a) Your consciousness and sense of identity is entirely product of material causes (brain with certain pattern of brain activity).
b) There are infinite amount of Universes (as in cyclical or other models) .

Then after enough big bangs/big crunches either this situation will repeat again and you will be reborn, or some creature/person can be born with similar type of brain and brain activity so that there is birth of you again. This all hinges on physicalism and infinite amount of universes model.
Another viable theory. Still doesn't seem to explain linkages between births, however.
Four simple meditations on earth, water, fire, and wind - leading to tranquility and pleasure, equanimity and peacehttps://drive.google.com/file/d/1G3qI6G ... sp=sharing

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Re: the great rebirth debate

Post by Alex123 » Wed Jan 29, 2014 2:22 am

Pondera wrote:
Alex123 wrote:
Pondera wrote:your life repeating over and over again. Doesn't help much connecting one birth to another.

If
a) Your consciousness and sense of identity is entirely product of material causes (brain with certain pattern of brain activity).
b) There are infinite amount of Universes (as in cyclical or other models) .

Then after enough big bangs/big crunches either this situation will repeat again and you will be reborn, or some creature/person can be born with similar type of brain and brain activity so that there is birth of you again. This all hinges on physicalism and infinite amount of universes model.
Another viable theory. Still doesn't seem to explain linkages between births, however.

There is no link. Just that later being has a brain function similar to the dead person.


We have no evidence of some sort of thing, call it "consciousness", "mind", "gandhabba", or "soul" passing from one body to another.
"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: the great rebirth debate

Post by Pondera » Wed Jan 29, 2014 2:40 am

We have the attainment "knowledge of the passing away and arising of beings according to their kamma". I don't personally have this, but it is included in the doctrine.
Four simple meditations on earth, water, fire, and wind - leading to tranquility and pleasure, equanimity and peacehttps://drive.google.com/file/d/1G3qI6G ... sp=sharing

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