To be Buddhist you must accept kamma and rebirth?

Exploring Theravāda's connections to other paths - what can we learn from other traditions, religions and philosophies?

To be Buddhist you must accept kamma and rebirth?

Yes
36
58%
No
20
32%
Not Sure
6
10%
 
Total votes: 62

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kc2dpt
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Re: To be Buddhist you must accept kamma and rebirth?

Post by kc2dpt »

pink_trike wrote:In more than one place in the Suttas words to the effect of "don't have faith in me...try it, analyze it, study it" are attributed to the Buddha as instructions for lay followers
Care to provide more than one reference?
In the example of rebirth, its none of my business - it will happen or not, completely independent of any manufactured or imported view I may or may not hold about it. I don't know - which shouldn't be confused with "doubt". "I don't know" is an open window, "faith" is a closed window. Religious folks like to keep the windows closed. I leave em open. :anjali:
Sorry but this misses the point. Whether you know or don't know you still have a view. Some decisions you make in the course of your practice are going to depend on this view, namely whether you believe you will experience birth after you die or not. Most likely you're "I don't know" results in you making decisions based solely on the here and now, which is the equivalent of holding the view of no birth after death.

It not so much about what you believe, but rather what view you base your decisions on.
- Peter

Be heedful and you will accomplish your goal.

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pink_trike
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Re: To be Buddhist you must accept kamma and rebirth?

Post by pink_trike »

mikenz66 wrote:
Tex wrote:I suppose one could call oneself a "student of physics" while not believing in gravity, but I don't know how much progress s/he would make.
...the sort of arguments Physicists get from people who think they have found some fundamental mistake in Relativity that everyone else who has looked at it in the last 100 years has overlooked... :thinking:
Maybe this is because the history of scientific thought with all the paradigm blindness and misplaced certainty is now widely known, not to mention the amazing convergence of information that's been taking place over the last decade in the scientific world as a result of the IT revolution that is turning scientific dogma on it's head in all fields. The mantel of authority has worn thin. ;)

Hardly a decade has gone by since the mid 1800s without some noted scientist announcing that "we now know everything there is to know about _______(fill in the blank). :cookoo: You'd think they'd learn...or at least hire a PR adviser. :)
Vision is Mind
Mind is Empty
Emptiness is Clear Light
Clear Light is Union
Union is Great Bliss

- Dawa Gyaltsen

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thecap
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Re: To be Buddhist you must accept kamma and rebirth?

Post by thecap »

Peter wrote:Most likely you're "I don't know" results in you making decisions based solely on the here and now, which is the equivalent of holding the view of no birth after death.
Hello Peter. I have a question. Does that mean, if I don't know whether there is rebirth in the traditional sense, then that's the equivalent of hodling the view that no one else will be born after my body dies?
Last edited by thecap on Fri Mar 27, 2009 10:03 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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pink_trike
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Re: To be Buddhist you must accept kamma and rebirth?

Post by pink_trike »

Peter wrote:
pink_trike wrote:In more than one place in the Suttas words to the effect of "don't have faith in me...try it, analyze it, study it" are attributed to the Buddha as instructions for lay followers
Care to provide more than one reference?
In the example of rebirth, its none of my business - it will happen or not, completely independent of any manufactured or imported view I may or may not hold about it. I don't know - which shouldn't be confused with "doubt". "I don't know" is an open window, "faith" is a closed window. Religious folks like to keep the windows closed. I leave em open. :anjali:
Sorry but this misses the point. Whether you know or don't know you still have a view. Some decisions you make in the course of your practice are going to depend on this view, namely whether you believe you will experience birth after you die or not. Most likely you're "I don't know" results in you making decisions based solely on the here and now, which is the equivalent of holding the view of no birth after death.

It not so much about what you believe, but rather what view you base your decisions on.
You known the usual source. I'll see if I can hunt up the sutta I was reading the other day that specifically stated how the Dharma is to be approached. Short name, starts with J. Not good with sutta names...

What part of "I don't know"do you not understand? :) In my world, "I don't know" isn't a belief (view). That's an interesting assumption you have about "I don't know"...that it really means rejection. And about me, that I can so easily dupe myself. :jumping:
Vision is Mind
Mind is Empty
Emptiness is Clear Light
Clear Light is Union
Union is Great Bliss

- Dawa Gyaltsen

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Disclaimer: I'm a non-religious practitioner of Theravada, Mahayana/Vajrayana, and Tibetan Bon Dzogchen mind-training.

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Ceisiwr
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Re: To be Buddhist you must accept kamma and rebirth?

Post by Ceisiwr »

Greetings


Just wanted to make an observation

On the Zen forum (where i got the idea for this topic) their votes are 50/50 but here there is a majority in favour of accepting

This seems to signifie a slight difference across the schools in term of doctrine (and practice?)


Metta
Mere suffering exists, no sufferer is found;
The deeds are, but no doer of the deeds is there;
Nibbāna is, but not the man that enters it;
The path is, but no traveler on it is seen.


Visuddhimagga

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Ceisiwr
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Re: To be Buddhist you must accept kamma and rebirth?

Post by Ceisiwr »

Greetings

"I don't know" isn't a belief (view

Maybe so but it will have some effect
Mere suffering exists, no sufferer is found;
The deeds are, but no doer of the deeds is there;
Nibbāna is, but not the man that enters it;
The path is, but no traveler on it is seen.


Visuddhimagga

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pink_trike
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Re: To be Buddhist you must accept kamma and rebirth?

Post by pink_trike »

clw_uk wrote:Greetings
"I don't know" isn't a belief (view
Maybe so but it will have some effect
Yes, it has the effect of being open to possibility while not clouded by beliefs.
Vision is Mind
Mind is Empty
Emptiness is Clear Light
Clear Light is Union
Union is Great Bliss

- Dawa Gyaltsen

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Disclaimer: I'm a non-religious practitioner of Theravada, Mahayana/Vajrayana, and Tibetan Bon Dzogchen mind-training.

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pink_trike
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Re: To be Buddhist you must accept kamma and rebirth?

Post by pink_trike »

Peter wrote:
pink_trike wrote:In more than one place in the Suttas words to the effect of "don't have faith in me...try it, analyze it, study it" are attributed to the Buddha as instructions for lay followers
Care to provide more than one reference?
Source: the wikipedia god.

In the Jivaka Sutta...The Buddha, when asked how one practices being a lay follower "both for his own benefit & the benefit of others," the Buddha states that one is consummate oneself in and encourages others in the consummation of: conviction (saddhā); virtue (sīla); generosity (cāga); visiting monks; and, hearing, remembering, analyzing, understanding and practicing the Dhamma.[13]

Sutta 44(iv, 220), Buddha questions Sariputta to which Sariputta answers, "Herein, O Lord, I do not follow the Exalted One out of faith. Those by whom this is unknown, unseen, uncognized, unrealized and unexperienced by wisdom, they will herein follow others out of faith."

Those who religiously accept the Buddha as the final Supreme authority, and who regard a literal reading of the words attributed to him are doing so on faith, and faith alone. I never met the man so I don't know. I've studied the meta processes of oral tradition and early writing, and remain convinced that those who passed along the oral teachings, and at some still unknown date later began to write them down, followed ancient standards for the transmission of knowledge that are only now becoming clear to us. Religious Buddhists don't have much interest in the "style guides" that were used widely at that time, preferring a more literal reading. Until these style guides are better understood in the context of the written preservation of Buddhist oral tradition (some of which predate Buddhism itself), I'm sticking with "I don't know", practice, and the guidance of teachers regarding my practice. Also, in light of scholarly confirmation that there have been many additions and revisions to the suttas at various times/places, and the number of theravadan divisions that died out or were politically squeezed out of existence...I'll stick to practice.

We live in the age of "I don't know"...a time when all concrete assumptions are crumbling in all fields of human inquiry and belief - a prediction that can be traced back to words attributed to the Buddha. Uncertainty is the zeitgeist of the times - so that's what we have to work with.
Last edited by pink_trike on Fri Mar 27, 2009 11:53 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Vision is Mind
Mind is Empty
Emptiness is Clear Light
Clear Light is Union
Union is Great Bliss

- Dawa Gyaltsen

---

Disclaimer: I'm a non-religious practitioner of Theravada, Mahayana/Vajrayana, and Tibetan Bon Dzogchen mind-training.

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Ceisiwr
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Re: To be Buddhist you must accept kamma and rebirth?

Post by Ceisiwr »

Sutta 44(iv, 220), Buddha questions Sariputta to which Sariputta answers, "Herein, O Lord, I do not follow the Exalted One out of faith. Those by whom this is unknown, unseen, uncognized, unrealized and unexperienced by wisdom, they will herein follow others out of faith."

Sariputta didnt follow out of faith because when he was asked he already had seen and understood the teachings through practice, others who havent reached that level will practice acording to faith acording to that sutta


Metta
Mere suffering exists, no sufferer is found;
The deeds are, but no doer of the deeds is there;
Nibbāna is, but not the man that enters it;
The path is, but no traveler on it is seen.


Visuddhimagga

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sukhamanveti
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Re: To be Buddhist you must accept kamma and rebirth?

Post by sukhamanveti »

pink_trike wrote:
Peter wrote:
pink_trike wrote:In more than one place in the Suttas words to the effect of "don't have faith in me...try it, analyze it, study it" are attributed to the Buddha as instructions for lay followers
Care to provide more than one reference?
Source: the wikipedia god.

In the Jivaka Sutta...The Buddha, when asked how one practices being a lay follower "both for his own benefit & the benefit of others," the Buddha states that one is consummate oneself in and encourages others in the consummation of: conviction (saddhā); virtue (sīla); generosity (cāga); visiting monks; and, hearing, remembering, analyzing, understanding and practicing the Dhamma.[13]

Sutta 44(iv, 220), Buddha questions Sariputta to which Sariputta answers, "Herein, O Lord, I do not follow the Exalted One out of faith. Those by whom this is unknown, unseen, uncognized, unrealized and unexperienced by wisdom, they will herein follow others out of faith."

Those who religiously accept the Buddha as the final Supreme authority, and who regard a literal reading of the words attributed to him are doing so on faith, and faith alone. I never met the man so I don't know. I've studied the meta processes of oral tradition and early writing, and remain convinced that those who passed along the oral teachings, and at some still unknown date later began to write them down, followed ancient standards for the transmission of knowledge that are only now becoming clear to us. Religious Buddhists don't have much interest in the "style guides" that were used widely at that time, preferring a more literal reading. Until these style guides are better understood in the context of the written preservation of Buddhist oral tradition (some of which predate Buddhism itself), I'm sticking with "I don't know", practice, and the guidance of teachers regarding my practice. Also, in light of scholarly confirmation that there have been many additions and revisions to the suttas at various times/places, and the number of theravadan divisions that died out or were politically squeezed out of existence...I'll stick to practice.

We live in the age of "I don't know"...a time when all concrete assumptions are crumbling in all fields of human inquiry and belief - a prediction that can be traced back to words attributed to the Buddha. Uncertainty is the zeitgeist of the times - so that's what we work with.
I think that you might not be allowing for the possibility of more than one kind of "faith" among those who revere the Buddha, even a type of sophisticated "faith" that may have some rational grounds for it.

I think that most Theravadins do not have this sort of faith: A man knocks on Mr. A's door, offers him some pamphlets and says, "My religious text says this. My religious text says that. Just believe." Mr. A says, "OK. I believe." That is blind faith.

Instead they might have this sort of faith: They practice under the guidance of a teacher who consistently demonstrates that he is an expert in meditation and awakening and that he has profound insights into the nature of reality, the person, etc. We tend to afford experts whose experiments have been successfully replicated by other experts a measure of trust. We need not pretend to have absolute certainty to do this. Most knowledge is uncertain and a matter of probability anyway.

There are other possibilities as well...


As for doubts about the authenticity of the teachings of the Pali Canon, there are rational grounds for recognizing that the principal teachings of the Nikayas (4 Noble Truths, Eightfold Path, 3 Marks of Existence, etc.) probably go back to the Buddha. For example: (1) These teachings are found in what remains of the scriptural collections of the other early Indian schools, suggesting that the teachings are presectarian. (We can compare the Nikaya discourses with corresponding texts of the Sarvastivadins, Dharmaguptakas, Kasyapiyas, and Mahasanghikas. Several scholars have done so and gained increased confidence in the Pali Canon. Differences between the schools were largely a matter of interpretation.). (2) The teachings are highly coherent, suggesting that they are the product of one mind, rather than a patchwork evolving from the contributions of many.
Sīlaṃ balaṃ appaṭimaṃ.
Sīlaṃ āvudhamuttamaṃ.
Sīlamābharaṇaṃ seṭṭhaṃ.
Sīlaṃ kavacamabbhutaṃ.


Virtue is a matchless power.
Virtue is the greatest weapon.
Virtue is the best adornment.
Virtue is a wonderful armor.

Theragatha 614


Sabbapāpassa akaraṇaṃ,
kusalassa upasampadā,
Sacittapariyodapanaṃ,
etaṃ buddhāna sāsanaṃ.


Refraining from all wrong-doing,
Undertaking the good,
Purifying the mind,
This is the teaching of the buddhas.

Dhammapada v. 183/14.5

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kc2dpt
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Re: To be Buddhist you must accept kamma and rebirth?

Post by kc2dpt »

thecap wrote:
Peter wrote:Most likely you're "I don't know" results in you making decisions based solely on the here and now, which is the equivalent of holding the view of no birth after death.
Does that mean, if I don't know whether there is rebirth in the traditional sense, then that's the equivalent of hodling the view that no one else will be born after my body dies?
That's up to you. I don't know what happens after death because I do not have that power to know, the power that the Buddha and others claim to have. However I have adopted the view of what happens after death in line with what the Buddha taught because I have developed confidence in the Buddha and his teachings.

My point, which seems to have been missed by some, is that trying to answer the OP's question with "I don't know" isn't telling the full story. There will be times when you will have to make decisions which will be influenced by what view you hold about what happens when we die. One who grasps firmly to "I don't know" will often make such decisions solely on what they know and see in this life. Such an approach often leads to the same conclusions as outright denying rebirth.
pink_trike wrote:
Peter wrote:
pink_trike wrote:In more than one place in the Suttas words to the effect of "don't have faith in me...try it, analyze it, study it" are attributed to the Buddha as instructions for lay followers
Care to provide more than one reference?
Source: the wikipedia god.
Neither of the two quotes you provided say "don't have faith in me". In fact, they say the exact opposite.

In the Jivaka Sutta...The Buddha, when asked how one practices being a lay follower "both for his own benefit & the benefit of others," the Buddha states that one is consummate oneself in and encourages others in the consummation of: conviction (saddhā); virtue (sīla); generosity (cāga); visiting monks; and, hearing, remembering, analyzing, understanding and practicing the Dhamma.

Sutta 44(iv, 220), Buddha questions Sariputta to which Sariputta answers, "Herein, O Lord, I do not follow the Exalted One out of faith. Those by whom this is unknown, unseen, uncognized, unrealized and unexperienced by wisdom, they will herein follow others out of faith."
in light of scholarly confirmation that there have been many additions and revisions to the suttas at various times/places, and the number of theravadan divisions that died out or were politically squeezed out of existence...I'll stick to practice.
So it is your contention that all the numerous and varied references to rebirth scattered throughout the Canon were added in by later monks? Please provide some evidence for this contention.
- Peter

Be heedful and you will accomplish your goal.

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pink_trike
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Re: To be Buddhist you must accept kamma and rebirth?

Post by pink_trike »

sukhamanveti wrote:
pink_trike wrote:

Source: the wikipedia god.

In the Jivaka Sutta...The Buddha, when asked how one practices being a lay follower "both for his own benefit & the benefit of others," the Buddha states that one is consummate oneself in and encourages others in the consummation of: conviction (saddhā); virtue (sīla); generosity (cāga); visiting monks; and, hearing, remembering, analyzing, understanding and practicing the Dhamma.[13]

Sutta 44(iv, 220), Buddha questions Sariputta to which Sariputta answers, "Herein, O Lord, I do not follow the Exalted One out of faith. Those by whom this is unknown, unseen, uncognized, unrealized and unexperienced by wisdom, they will herein follow others out of faith."

Those who religiously accept the Buddha as the final Supreme authority, and who regard a literal reading of the words attributed to him are doing so on faith, and faith alone. I never met the man so I don't know. I've studied the meta processes of oral tradition and early writing, and remain convinced that those who passed along the oral teachings, and at some still unknown date later began to write them down, followed ancient standards for the transmission of knowledge that are only now becoming clear to us. Religious Buddhists don't have much interest in the "style guides" that were used widely at that time, preferring a more literal reading. Until these style guides are better understood in the context of the written preservation of Buddhist oral tradition (some of which predate Buddhism itself), I'm sticking with "I don't know", practice, and the guidance of teachers regarding my practice. Also, in light of scholarly confirmation that there have been many additions and revisions to the suttas at various times/places, and the number of theravadan divisions that died out or were politically squeezed out of existence...I'll stick to practice.

We live in the age of "I don't know"...a time when all concrete assumptions are crumbling in all fields of human inquiry and belief - a prediction that can be traced back to words attributed to the Buddha. Uncertainty is the zeitgeist of the times - so that's what we work with.
I think that you might not be allowing for the possibility of more than one kind of "faith" among those who revere the Buddha, even a type of sophisticated "faith" that may have some rational grounds for it.

I think that most Theravadins do not have this sort of faith: A man knocks on Mr. A's door, offers him some pamphlets and says, "My religious text says this. My religious text says that. Just believe." Mr. A says, "OK. I believe." That is blind faith.

Instead they might have this sort of faith: They practice under the guidance of a teacher who consistently demonstrates that he is an expert in meditation and awakening and that he has profound insights into the nature of reality, the person, etc. We tend to afford experts whose experiments have been successfully replicated by other experts a measure of trust. We need not pretend to have absolute certainty to do this. Most knowledge is uncertain and a matter of probability anyway.

There are other possibilities as well...


As for doubts about the authenticity of the teachings of the Pali Canon, there are rational grounds for recognizing that the principal teachings of the Nikayas (4 Noble Truths, Eightfold Path, 3 Marks of Existence, etc.) probably go back to the Buddha. For example: (1) These teachings are found in what remains of the scriptural collections of the other early Indian schools, suggesting that the teachings are presectarian. (We can compare the Nikaya discourses with corresponding texts of the Sarvastivadins, Dharmaguptakas, Kasyapiyas, and Mahasanghikas. Several scholars have done so and gained increased confidence in the Pali Canon. Differences between the schools were largely a matter of interpretation.). (2) The teachings are highly coherent, suggesting that they are the product of one mind, rather than a patchwork evolving from the contributions of many.
I don't really disagree with this. But I would note that there is no confirmation yet that the principle teachings don't predate the time of the Buddha. And also, I'll note that the "highly coherent" nature of the teachings may also suggest, rather than being the product of one mind - that they may be the product of a sophisticated ancient preservation style for wrapping knowledge securely to survive it's journey into the future via largely untrained, uneducated human carrier pigeons, with the understanding that those rare few who were trained in the mysteries would read the suttas differently than ordinary people's literal reading (it being presumed that the style guides would still be known by those select few keepers of wisdom).
Vision is Mind
Mind is Empty
Emptiness is Clear Light
Clear Light is Union
Union is Great Bliss

- Dawa Gyaltsen

---

Disclaimer: I'm a non-religious practitioner of Theravada, Mahayana/Vajrayana, and Tibetan Bon Dzogchen mind-training.

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kc2dpt
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Re: To be Buddhist you must accept kamma and rebirth?

Post by kc2dpt »

The "don't know" taught by the Buddha is this: I don't know if the teachings are true or false. I do not know if they lead where they say they lead. I will put them into practice and see for myself if they are true, if they lead where they say they lead.

The specific teaching in question in this thread is: The way to the ending of suffering is the Noble Eightfold Path. Right View is part of the Noble Eightfold Path. Kamma and rebirth are part of Right View.

And so our "don't know" is: Is adopting the view of kamma and rebirth a part of the path to ending suffering? Is holding the view there is no kamma and rebirth an obstacle to ending suffering?
- Peter

Be heedful and you will accomplish your goal.

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Ceisiwr
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Re: To be Buddhist you must accept kamma and rebirth?

Post by Ceisiwr »

Peter

Kamma and rebirth are part of Right View.
Rebirth is a tainted view however, one that leads to becoming
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
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

So its tainted with
There are three taints: the taint of sensual desire, the taint of being and the taint of ignorance. With the arising of ignorance there is the arising of the taints.
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .ntbb.html" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

So couldnt it be said that one needs such view to begin, but to reach nibbana it needs to be let go of because its inherently tainted with sensual desire, being and ignorance which hold one back from nibbana?

Metta
Mere suffering exists, no sufferer is found;
The deeds are, but no doer of the deeds is there;
Nibbāna is, but not the man that enters it;
The path is, but no traveler on it is seen.


Visuddhimagga

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pink_trike
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Re: To be Buddhist you must accept kamma and rebirth?

Post by pink_trike »

peter wrote:There will be times when you will have to make decisions which will be influenced by what view you hold about what happens when we die.
Specifically?
peter wrote:
So it is your contention that all the numerous and varied references to rebirth scattered throughout the Canon were added in by later monks? Please provide some evidence for this contention.
There is no rational way of knowing, or of knowing precisely what is meant by "reborn". The white elephant in the room is whether everything in the Canon was spoken by the Buddha or not, and whether a literal reading is a correct reading. 100, 300, 500, 800 years after the Buddha died (also unknown) there emerges seemingly dynamic content in written form, which at a much later date suddenly becomes static content. Some take it on faith that it is all the word of Jesu...er, the Buddha. "Buddha said it, its in the Canon, I believe it"...to paraphrase a popular xtian phrase. Some don't buy such an easy solution. I read the suttas, and see if practice confirms them. If practice confirms, then I have faith in what is confirmed.
Vision is Mind
Mind is Empty
Emptiness is Clear Light
Clear Light is Union
Union is Great Bliss

- Dawa Gyaltsen

---

Disclaimer: I'm a non-religious practitioner of Theravada, Mahayana/Vajrayana, and Tibetan Bon Dzogchen mind-training.

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