the great rebirth debate

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

Post by Laurens » Wed Nov 30, 2016 10:29 am

I do not believe that rebirth does not occur, however currently I see no reasons to believe that it does. Just like the question of whether or not there was ever life on Mars. To say there definitely was given the level of evidence that we currently have would be foolish. But to say there definitely wasn't would also be foolish. We don't know, but we don't have a reason to assume there was and act accordingly.

Sure the Buddha himself is said to have spoken about rebirth. But he also said to not just believe everything he said just because he said it. We should find things out for ourselves.

The best evidence we have is reports of children having past life memories but these are shaky and not so convincing when we take a sceptical approach. Children are playful and highly imaginative they are also suggestable. If your kid sees a WW2 film about fighter pilots then starts playing and talking around being a fighter pilot it can be very easy to suggest your way towards being convinced they are acting out past life memories, especially if you already believe in it. Fanciful kids and incredulous parents is all you need. Get an "expert" in past life regression involved and you are well on your way to being totally convinced along with your child. It may be the case that children do sometimes recall past lives, but it could also be people putting thoughts into their kids head and spinning stories together.

As far as I am concerned what matters now is the present moment. Rebirth doesn't have any obvious bearing on that so its truth or falsehood are ultimately irrelevant.
"If only it were all so simple! If only there were evil people somewhere insidiously committing evil deeds, and it were necessary only to separate them from the rest of us and destroy them. But the line dividing good and evil cuts through the heart of every human being. And who is willing to destroy a piece of his own heart?"

Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn

justindesilva
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Re: the great rebirth debate

Post by justindesilva » Thu Feb 02, 2017 2:20 pm

Laurens wrote:I do not believe that rebirth does not occur, however currently I see no reasons to believe that it does. Just like the question of whether or not there was ever life on Mars. To say there definitely was given the level of evidence that we currently have would be foolish. But to say there definitely wasn't would also be foolish. We don't know, but we don't have a reason to assume there was and act accordingly.

Sure the Buddha himself is said to have spoken about rebirth. But he also said to not just believe everything he said just because he said it. We should find things out for ourselves.

The best evidence we have is reports of children having past life memories but these are shaky and not so convincing when we take a sceptical approach. Children are playful and highly imaginative they are also suggestable.
There are only two ways to check the reality of rebirth. First one is for one to attain a stage of dyana enabling to read the past.
The 2nd is to read literature about experiential evidence of rebirth. Out of them there are highly acceptable books.
Many mansions is a book by Gina written about the experiences and works of Edgar Cayce is how Caycee used his ability to read the past lives of people who came to relieve of their sicknesses. He not only read their past births but also found out the reason for the sickness as karma of past lives. This book is widely accepted.
The next and important factors is recorded as past births by a former professor in psychiatry in university of Virginia 1957 . His name been Dr. Ian Stevenson and has recorded 3000 cases of past lives in India Burma and other Asian countries with verified data.
His studies had been widely accepted with his style of on the spot verifications.
If one is interested there are many other such verified records. I read the record of such a verified past birth in 1954 by a girl called Gnanaythilaka while verifications by a high priest and uni professors with journalists as a team was recorded. This was proved beyond doubt.
I believe that one major step in buddhism is verifying the truth of past birth or rebecoming.

chownah
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Re: the great rebirth debate

Post by chownah » Fri Feb 03, 2017 3:09 am

justindesilva wrote:This book is widely accepted. ........

His studies had been widely accepted ........
The book has also been widely rejected.
His studies have also been widely rejected.
chownah

justindesilva
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Re: the great rebirth debate

Post by justindesilva » Fri Feb 03, 2017 3:59 am

chownah wrote:
justindesilva wrote:This book is widely accepted. ........

His studies had been widely accepted ........
The book has also been widely rejected.
His studies have also been widely rejected.
chownah
May I know that whether you have any knowledge of the works of caycee been rejected and I am aware of the few cases of studies in sri lanka been published without a challenge in sri lanka. One May study of such successful studies made in India too though I am pressed with time disabling me to find them now.

chownah
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Re: the great rebirth debate

Post by chownah » Mon Feb 06, 2017 9:37 am

justindesilva wrote:
chownah wrote:
justindesilva wrote:This book is widely accepted. ........

His studies had been widely accepted ........
The book has also been widely rejected.
His studies have also been widely rejected.
chownah
May I know that whether you have any knowledge of the works of caycee been rejected and I am aware of the few cases of studies in sri lanka been published without a challenge in sri lanka. One May study of such successful studies made in India too though I am pressed with time disabling me to find them now.
Concerning Edgar Cayce take a look at the wikipedia article at the sections called Controversy and Criticism:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Edgar_Cay ... _criticism
chownah

justindesilva
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Re: the great rebirth debate

Post by justindesilva » Mon Feb 06, 2017 2:52 pm

His studies had been widely accepted ........[/quote]
The book has also been widely rejected.
His studies have also been widely rejected.
chownah[/quote]
May I know that whether you have any knowledge of the works of caycee been rejected and I am aware of the few cases of studies in sri lanka been published without a challenge in sri lanka. One May study of such successful studies made in India too though I am pressed with time disabling me to find them now.[/quote]
Concerning Edgar Cayce take a look at the wikipedia article at the sections called Controversy and Criticism:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Edgar_Cay ... _criticism
chownah[/quote]
Shall we not consider that Edgar Cayce lived in an environment surrounded by atheists who wouldn't want to encourage 're incarnation or 're birth. Furthermore he would have been challenged for other areas of psychic matters but I have read praises of his work mentioned in the book many mansions.
Further more even Dr. Carl S jung has written in one of his books ( either Memories Dreams & Reflections or his biography) that one of his grand daughters remembered past burials at a place made a few generations ago, and was found correct when a pit was made there. I believe that ad buddhists we must encourage people to see the truth in 're birth whenever the opportunity arises and not discourage such criticisms made without facts.
Certain Christians who would not want spread of buddhism take such criticisms.
Constructive criticism is needed but not skeptic criticism.

Santi253
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The Evidence for Rebirth

Post by Santi253 » Sat May 27, 2017 7:02 am

The evidence for rebirth is partly why I converted to Buddhism. There is perhaps more evidence for rebirth than for any other afterlife belief. The work of Ian Stevenson on past life memories is especially remarkable:
The Journal of the American Medical Association referred to Stevenson’s Cases of the Reincarnation Type (1975) a “painstaking and unemotional” collection of cases that were “difficult to explain on any assumption other than reincarnation.”[26] In September 1977, the Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease devoted most of one issue to Stevenson’s research.[27] Writing in the journal, the psychiatrist Harold Lief described Stevenson as a methodical investigator and added, “Either he is making a colossal mistake, or he will be known (I have said as much to him) as ‘the Galileo of the 20th century’.”[28] The issue proved popular: the journal’s editor, the psychiatrist Eugene Brody, said he had received 300–400 requests for reprints.[26]
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ian_Stevenson
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9w2MCpzE8u0
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Aloka
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Re: The Evidence for Rebirth

Post by Aloka » Sat May 27, 2017 7:13 am

.

However, its worth noting that the following observations can also be found:

According to his New York Times obituary, his detractors saw him as "earnest, dogged but ultimately misguided, led astray by gullibility, wishful thinking and a tendency to see science where others saw superstition."[7] Critics suggested that the children or their parents had deceived him, that he was too willing to believe them, and that he had asked them leading questions. In addition, critics said, the results were subject to confirmation bias, in that cases not supportive of the hypothesis were not presented as counting against it.[8] Leonard Angel, a philosopher of religion, told The New York Times that Stevenson did not follow proper standards. "ut you do have to look carefully to see it; that's why he's been very persuasive to many people."[

Skeptics have written that Stevenson's evidence was anecdotal and by applying Occam's razor there are prosaic explanations for the cases without invoking the paranormal.[29] Science writer Terence Hines has written:
The major problem with Stevenson’s work is that the methods he used to investigate alleged cases of reincarnation are inadequate to rule out simple, imaginative storytelling on the part of the children claiming to be reincarnations of dead individuals. In the seemingly most impressive cases Stevenson (1975, 1977) has reported, the children claiming to be reincarnated knew friends and relatives of the dead individual. The children’s knowledge of facts about these individuals is, then, somewhat less than conclusive evidence for reincarnation.[30]

Robert Baker wrote that many of the alleged past-life experiences investigated by Stevenson and other parapsychologists can be explained in terms of known psychological factors. Baker attributed the recalling of past lives to a mixture of cryptomnesia and confabulation.[31]

Ian Wilson argued that a large number of Stevenson’s cases consisted of poor children remembering wealthy lives or belonging to a higher caste. He speculated that such cases may represent a scheme to obtain money from the family of the alleged former incarnation.[32]

The philosopher C. T. K. Chari of Madras Christian College in Chennai, a specialist in parapsychology, argued that Stevenson was naive and that the case studies were undermined by his lack of local knowledge. Chari wrote that many of the cases had come from societies, such as that of India, where people believed in reincarnation, and that the stories were simply cultural artifacts; he argued that, for children in many Asian countries, the recall of a past life is the equivalent of an imaginary playmate. [33] The philosopher Keith Augustine made a similar argument.[34] Stevenson responded that it was precisely those societies that listened to children's claims about past lives, which in Europe or North America would normally be dismissed without investigation.[35] To address the cultural concern, he wrote European Cases of the Reincarnation Type (2003), which presented forty cases he had examined in Europe.[36]

The philosopher Paul Edwards, editor-in-chief of Macmillan's Encyclopedia of Philosophy, became Stevenson's chief critic.[37] From 1986 onwards, he devoted several articles to Stevenson's work, and discussed Stevenson in his Reincarnation: A Critical Examination (1996).[38] He argued that Stevenson's views were "absurd nonsense" and that when examined in detail his case studies had "big holes” and “do not even begin to add up to a significant counterweight to the initial presumption against reincarnation."[39] Stevenson, Edwards wrote, “evidently lives in a cloud-cuckoo-land.” [40]

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ian_Stevenson


:anjali:

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Aloka
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Re: The Evidence for Rebirth

Post by Aloka » Sat May 27, 2017 7:27 am

Also in connection with Ian Stevenson:
He believed that bodies and souls have separate evolutions and existences, and he seemed not to be concerned or aware of the philosophical problems that ensue from such claims about mind and body.

His dualism became stronger after he experimented with mescaline and LSD.
AND:
Those who want to believe in survival of a personality after death will likely ignore the weaknesses in Stevenson's methods and praise him for his meticulousness, his devotion to detail, his zeal to get every claim verified or disproved. For my part, I have to agree with Stevenson's own assessment of his work: he's provided evidence, but no compelling evidence for reincarnation.

I see no way to move forward using his methods or his data, so I see his work as a colossal waste of time. On the positive side, however, I agree with him that past life regressive therapy, which uses hypnosis, is rife with methodological problems, not the least of which is the problem with suggestion contaminating any evidence that might be uncovered for a past life.

Hence, past life regression cannot provide good evidence for reincarnation. Neither can collecting more stories from children who claim to have lived previous lives unless better methods of documentation, questioning witnesses and alleged experients, and verifying claims are developed.

http://skepdic.com/stevenson.html
I find the comments about past life regression hypnotherapy interesting, because my previous Tibetan Vajrayana teacher told me a number of years ago that past life regression was completely unreliable, when I asked him about it. (I'm a qualified hypnotherapist, amongst other things).

:anjali:

Santi253
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Re: The Evidence for Rebirth

Post by Santi253 » Sat May 27, 2017 10:10 am

I find the children's past life stories to be the most interesting. To each their own.
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justindesilva
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Re: the great rebirth debate

Post by justindesilva » Tue May 30, 2017 6:33 pm

're birth and buddhism is related as that buddhism does not exist without 're birth. The existence of the budda through samsara had been through many millions of years and that too as various types of sentient beings in varying realms. These had been explained to his followers at various explanations in sutta. His main two disciples ,Sariuth and Mugalan, followed him in his past lives as had been explained by Lord budda ( the context is not in my mind specifically.
Lord budda explains that some lower beings could have been our close relatives in a former life. Lord budda went to see his mother who gave him life and died after 7 days in order to preach the damma he was enlightened with. ( I am sure that a bhante will be able to give the contexts of these events). The reason that I wish to high light these facts are becsuse without accepting 're birth one cannot have faith in the philosophy of buddhism. (Especially paticca ssmuppada) .
Agganna sutta explains that as the world restarts the luminous conscience of beings lying in abhassara brahma worlds reappear with an evolution in this earth. It is those beings that takes 're births on this earth.
The numbers with 're births take life in various realms.
Regarding belief of 're birth there is evidence sufficiently available. I make this statement as though born a buddhist I did not accept buddhism until I could clear the truth of rebirth. The first case that made me to be convinced was the story of Gnanathilaka (in early 1950s), that was investigated by a team of scholars, media and a Mahanayake thero of Vajirarama temple of Colombo. It was reported in a daily news journal that could be followed by any body with facts. Then from time to time there were other true stories reported . It is a matter of genuine interest if one needs to find the truth of rebirth.
If there had been 20 investigations and 5 are found true discard the rest and remain with the true few.
One may find the rebirth of Dalai Lama as an interesting investigation from Tibet itself.
The belief of the Maori that the souls of the dead travel as a flock from Rarotonga is a convincing belief. The beliefs of red Indians of being 're born and the very fact that Jesus rose from the death and that another coming of jesus is expected are sufficient to believe that 're birth is within the faith of christians too.
Why is it that Allah wants his Moslem world to obey him .It explains that the hell is there for the 're birth of the evil crowd and the rest will be 're born in the heaven with Allah. All religions hence explain that there is 're birth.
Buddhism how ever gives more detailed facts about 're birth and explains that 're birth is not an event of the mercy of GOD but is one's own doing or responsibility.
The only explanation of child prodigies are them to be treated as 're births of intellectualsvin their former births. The best and only way of finding the truth of rebirth is meditation. Please try.

Luca123
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Re: the great rebirth debate

Post by Luca123 » Sat Jun 03, 2017 10:18 pm

If rebirth were true and provable, there should be at least one single example of person who can give precise and double-checked evidence of his/her past life
If none so far has been able to do so, this means that either rebirth is not real, or it is not proven
I do not see any interest in "the scriptures said this and that"..

Luca123
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Re: the great rebirth debate

Post by Luca123 » Sat Jun 03, 2017 10:20 pm

justindesilva wrote: Regarding belief of 're birth there is evidence sufficiently available. I make this statement as though born a buddhist I did not accept buddhism until I could clear the truth of rebirth. The first case that made me to be convinced was the story of Gnanathilaka (in early 1950s), that was investigated by a team of scholars, media and a Mahanayake thero of Vajirarama temple of Colombo. It was reported in a daily news journal that could be followed by any body with facts. Then from time to time there were other true stories reported . It is a matter of genuine interest if one needs to find the truth of rebirth.
If this were true, all the world would be talking about this now
If this is not the case, this means that vry probably we are talking about fake news

Luca123
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Re: the great rebirth debate

Post by Luca123 » Sat Jun 03, 2017 10:27 pm

justindesilva wrote:
Laurens wrote:Many mansions is a book by Gina written about the experiences and works of Edgar Cayce is how Caycee used his ability to read the past lives of people who came to relieve of their sicknesses. He not only read their past births but also found out the reason for the sickness as karma of past lives. This book is widely accepted.
Cayce was a fraud
His claims have been debunked by the Skeptics http://www.skeptic.com/eskeptic/11-08-03/

Luca123
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Re: Poll: Belief in rebirth

Post by Luca123 » Sat Jun 03, 2017 10:29 pm

clw_uk wrote:dxm_dxm
This is a very good point and I am surprised nobody made it before. If a person believes suffering will end at natural death then there is no need to practice any path.
There seems to be a false dichotomy here. It's not the case that someone either believes in rebirth, or totally disbelieves it. There is the third option of remaining skeptical, in the sense of withholding assent to any non-evident propositions.
I agree with you

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