About Death (?)

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

Post by ringo » Mon Jul 04, 2011 6:12 pm

Can there arise the phenomena of contact, feeling, perception, volition and consciousness without any organs (without the mind as well)?
According to the science we know such a thing is impossible and it appears convincing to me at the moment that death is absolute annihilation. It would be wonderful if someone could shed more light on what the Buddhist refutation of this would be.

Reductor
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Re: About Death (?)

Post by Reductor » Mon Jul 04, 2011 6:36 pm

Hello and welcome to Dhammawheel.

The buddhist refutation is that lives influnce one another by a means not yet made plain by scientific minded people. Moreover, the buddhist view is that such mechanical explainations are unnecessary, because the moment to moment experience of the conceit 'I am' is evident right now.

That explanation may be difficult to grasp, I know. But how is it that some people recall experiences of lives well verified, while retaining a sense of identification with that deceased person? To a buddhist this identification itself lays near the heart of our concern, not the mechanisms themselves.

Or so it seems to me.

See the work of Ian stevenson if you like, a well known researcher of 'reincarnation cases' the world over. He investigated more than 3000 in his career.

Also, consider the true heart of buddhism: suffering, its cause, its end and the means. The Four Noble truths.

Take care.

ringo
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Re: About Death (?)

Post by ringo » Mon Jul 04, 2011 7:37 pm

Thank you for your reply. It was certainly a very interesting thing to read about.
In connection with your answer I would like to ask another question. Here is the sermon I refer to, from http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .nymo.html" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

To quote the Blessed One to Ananda:

"Now there is the person who has abstained from killing living beings here... has had right view. And on the dissolution of the body, after death, he reappears in the states of deprivation, in an unhappy destination, in perdition, in hell.[12] But (perhaps) the evil kamma producing his suffering was done by him earlier, or the evil kamma producing his suffering was done by him later, or wrong view was undertaken and completed by him at the time of his death. And that was why, on the dissolution of the body, after death, he reappeared in the states of deprivation, in an unhappy destination, in perdition, in hell. But since he has abstained from killing living beings here... has had right view, he will feel the result of that here and now, or in his next rebirth, or in some subsequent existence,"

And elsewhere in the same sermon

"So, Ananda, there is kamma that is incapable (of good result) and appears incapable (of good result); there is kamma that is incapable (of good result) and appears capable (of good result); there is kamma that is capable (of good result) and appears capable (of good result); there is kamma that is capable (of good result) and appears incapable (of good result)."

My question is this, were a man to say,
"Only one of the two following phenomena can be the truth,
a) rebirth of consciousness can occur in a new body or
b) when the body of one other than an Arahat dies, that consciousness is extinguished"

Would he or would he not be misrepresenting the Blessed One?

ringo
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Re: About Death (?)

Post by ringo » Mon Jul 04, 2011 7:42 pm

And on a slightly unrelated note, how is one expected to discern an act that appears to be of good kamma is in fact an act of bad kamma?

Reductor
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Re: About Death (?)

Post by Reductor » Mon Jul 04, 2011 7:43 pm

The word 'rebirth' is debatable. Some peolle feel it implies an essance which is not evident. Rather the first option is better as 'consciousness continues dependent on a body' . Little more need be said.

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cooran
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Re: About Death (?)

Post by cooran » Mon Jul 04, 2011 7:49 pm

Hello ringo,

Rather than repeating what may have been explored before, have a look at this thread - 97 pages of discussion and debate:

the Great Rebirth Debate
http://www.dhammawheel.com/viewtopic.php?f=16&t=41" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

with metta
Chris
---The trouble is that you think you have time---
---Worry is the Interest, paid in advance, on a debt you may never owe---
---It's not what happens to you in life that is important ~ it's what you do with it ---

Reductor
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Re: About Death (?)

Post by Reductor » Mon Jul 04, 2011 9:29 pm

ringo wrote:And on a slightly unrelated note, how is one expected to discern an act that appears to be of good kamma is in fact an act of bad kamma?
If you can discern what it means when you suffer, you can then discern what it means when others suffer. Dependent on this you should be well equipt to act in a wholesome way. Nothing fancy but effective just the same.

If you become preoccupied with 'the other world' it seems probable your ideas of right and wrong become abstract and speculative, divorced from things that actually matter.

Reductor
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Re: About Death (?)

Post by Reductor » Mon Jul 04, 2011 9:43 pm

thereductor wrote:... Little more need be said.
Except one more thing, which I didn't have time to expand upon before: all experience of continuation depends on the continuation of conceit, the thought "I was such", "I am such" and "I will be such". Conceit itself depends on craving, and craving depends on ignorance. If a new life identifies itself with a previous life, it does so due to craving, due to ignornace of how much suffering such identification will produce.

It is this problematic cycle of life identifying with life that is solved by perfecting the buddhist practice.

chownah
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Re: About Death (?)

Post by chownah » Tue Jul 05, 2011 2:23 am

ringo wrote:My question is this, were a man to say,
"Only one of the two following phenomena can be the truth,
a) rebirth of consciousness can occur in a new body or
b) when the body of one other than an Arahat dies, that consciousness is extinguished"

Would he or would he not be misrepresenting the Blessed One?
The Buddha taught that consciousness is not one continuous flowing stream....consciousness arises moment by moment....each time it arises it is a different instance of consciusness arising....perhaps a good analogy is that if at rush hour you are watching a bloated freeway of cars going by you can consider each car to be one instance of consciousness....we do not think that each instance of a car is the arising of tbe same car....we only see the cars as being connected or forming anything continuous because by chance these cars all are lined up and going in the same direction....when rush hour is over these cars will no longer appear so....it is a mental construct that there is "traffic flow"....really there are just individual unconnected cars which momentarily give the impression of a traffic flow......"consciousness as a continuous stream constantly flowing" is a mental construct.....really there are just individual unconncected arisings of consciousness (at the six sense bases) that is just interpreted as a continuous flow (which is often referred to as the mythical "self".
chownah

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Kim OHara
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Re: About Death (?)

Post by Kim OHara » Tue Jul 05, 2011 2:48 am

:thumbsup:
Nice analogy, Chownah.

:namaste:
Kim

daverupa
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Re: About Death (?)

Post by daverupa » Tue Jul 05, 2011 2:49 am

Is it proper to specify that the momentary idea is late abhidhamma at least, and not quite "what the Buddha taught"?
  • "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]

chownah
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Re: About Death (?)

Post by chownah » Tue Jul 05, 2011 3:18 am

daverupa wrote:Is it proper to specify that the momentary idea is late abhidhamma at least, and not quite "what the Buddha taught"?
I'm not sure but seems like you are commenting on my previous post...if so, then....I agree that this is an issue to be dealt with. I never know how to handle this issue....for some it is the Buddha's teachings and for some it is not....I usually try to add some weasel words like "in my view the Buddha taught" or "it is often accepted that the Buddha taught"....etc. What I presented was an analogy based on my view of the Buddha's teachings...I guess I should have put in the disclaimer especially since the topic is about something that is widely not agreed on.....sorry for that and I'll try to do better in the future.
Thank you for pointing this out as I am not wanting to negate anyone's point of view on this issue but just wanting to affirm my own.
chownah

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acinteyyo
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Re: About Death (?)

Post by acinteyyo » Tue Jul 05, 2011 7:34 am

ringo wrote:Can there arise the phenomena of contact, feeling, perception, volition and consciousness without any organs (without the mind as well)?
According to the science we know such a thing is impossible and it appears convincing to me at the moment that death is absolute annihilation.
Let me ask you one question. It appears convincing to you at the moment that death is absolute annihilation of what?

best wishes, acinteyyo
Thag 1.20. Ajita - I do not fear death; nor do I long for life. I’ll lay down this body, aware and mindful.

ringo
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Re: About Death (?)

Post by ringo » Tue Jul 05, 2011 10:44 am

Let me ask you one question. It appears convincing to you at the moment that death is absolute annihilation of what?

best wishes, acinteyyo
It appears convincing to me at the moment that when the body dies the sense organs (eye, ear, nose, tongue, body and mind) cease to function. Cessation of the sense organs leads to cessation of touch which leads to cessation of feeling, perception, volition and ultimately consciousness. By this cessation of consciousness the fetters are annihilated, clinging is annihilated, suffering is annihilated and the body is returned to the elements.

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kirk5a
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Re: About Death (?)

Post by kirk5a » Tue Jul 05, 2011 1:56 pm

ringo wrote: It appears convincing to me at the moment
So do you live your life in accordance with a view that merely has the strength of "appearing convincing"? It would be more in accord with reason to allow for uncertainty. If you are claiming certainty on the matter, I find that certainty unconvincing. Science is hardly in a state of full knowledge regarding consciousness.
"When one thing is practiced & pursued, ignorance is abandoned, clear knowing arises, the conceit 'I am' is abandoned, latent tendencies are uprooted, fetters are abandoned. Which one thing? Mindfulness immersed in the body." -AN 1.230

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