What suttas support the classical Theravada view of immediate rebirth?

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Re: What suttas support the classical Theravada view of immediate rebirth?

Post by auto » Sat Sep 21, 2019 12:31 pm

DooDoot wrote:
Fri Sep 13, 2019 12:48 am
zan wrote:
Fri Sep 13, 2019 12:24 am
Thanks, I'm lost, though, are you arguing for the classical Theravada position or against?
My intention is not to argue against the classical Theravada position, even though it may sound as though I am. My intention is to point out MN 93 (about the gandhabba) does not explicitly support the classical Theravada position; per the topic question. MN 93 does not say for what period of time, if any, the gandhabba was waiting or floating around before it descended into an embryo. Regards. :smile:
gandhabba itself is low or lowest spiritual being degrading lower is human, possible(also have read it somewhere)beings in heaven know in advantage their death so perhaps they wait and even know who is their future mother.

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Re: What suttas support the classical Theravada view of immediate rebirth?

Post by zan » Mon Sep 23, 2019 6:47 pm

SDC wrote:
Sat Sep 14, 2019 2:45 pm
zan wrote:
Tue Sep 10, 2019 3:41 am
I know it is immediate, with zero room for any intermediate state (see Venerable Narada Thera, The Buddha and His Teachings, 1964, excerpt below)

What suttas support this view?
Rebirth takes place immediately, irrespective of the place of birth, just as an electromagnetic wave, projected into space, is immediately reproduced in a receiving radio set. Rebirth of the mental flux is also instantaneous and leaves no room whatever for any intermediate state [7] (antarabhava). Pure Buddhism does not support the belief that a spirit of the deceased person takes lodgement in some temporary state until it finds a suitable place for its "reincarnation."
-Venerable Narada Thera
Any state would be the next life, so I seriously doubt you are going to find a sutta that overrides the idea of intermediate states. One could theoretically be a hungry ghost for like a day and then be right there in the womb to be reborn as human the next. I tend to think the whole idea of "intermediate states" not being "real" rebirth comes from Tibetan notions of death. Is that what you are referring to? I'm not necessarily agreeing with Ven. Narada Therea, but even if there were these blips that were less significant (in length or intensity) than an entire human life, they are still "the next life".

Bearing that in mind, do you still want to see evidence that there is no possibility for these less significant states? Because it seems to me that one's time in "any state" is directly determined by their action. It can be 5 aeons in heaven or 15 minutes in hell. I'm just not sure that the presuppositions in your question are taking this into consideration, so I'm not sure how any answer could make a difference.

Just trying to get a little clarification? What is the difference between 5 minutes as a hungry ghost or 80 years as a human? The states are distinct. That is what matters. Would an intermediate state be something other than this?
SDC wrote:
Sat Sep 14, 2019 2:45 pm
zan wrote:
Tue Sep 10, 2019 3:41 am
I know it is immediate, with zero room for any intermediate state (see Venerable Narada Thera, The Buddha and His Teachings, 1964, excerpt below)

What suttas support this view?
Rebirth takes place immediately, irrespective of the place of birth, just as an electromagnetic wave, projected into space, is immediately reproduced in a receiving radio set. Rebirth of the mental flux is also instantaneous and leaves no room whatever for any intermediate state [7] (antarabhava). Pure Buddhism does not support the belief that a spirit of the deceased person takes lodgement in some temporary state until it finds a suitable place for its "reincarnation."
-Venerable Narada Thera
Any state would be the next life, so I seriously doubt you are going to find a sutta that overrides the idea of intermediate states. One could theoretically be a hungry ghost for like a day and then be right there in the womb to be reborn as human the next. I tend to think the whole idea of "intermediate states" not being "real" rebirth comes from Tibetan notions of death. Is that what you are referring to? I'm not necessarily agreeing with Ven. Narada Therea, but even if there were these blips that were less significant (in length or intensity) than an entire human life, they are still "the next life".

Bearing that in mind, do you still want to see evidence that there is no possibility for these less significant states? Because it seems to me that one's time in "any state" is directly determined by their action. It can be 5 aeons in heaven or 15 minutes in hell. I'm just not sure that the presuppositions in your question are taking this into consideration, so I'm not sure how any answer could make a difference.

Just trying to get a little clarification? What is the difference between 5 minutes as a hungry ghost or 80 years as a human? The states are distinct. That is what matters. Would an intermediate state be something other than this?
Thanks for the questions. I will clarify. Please read the following with caution, I'm by no means an expert lol! Just trying to clarify what I am speaking about.

The issue at hand, I believe, is a conscious experience like in other traditions, between lives. What you are talking about wouldn't be this, to my knowledge, but would be considered separate lives (albeit some decidedly short), with no intermediate state. For example: human seventy years, hungry ghost five minutes, human again, is three lives, with no intermediate states. An intermediate state would be a state of existence between each of those, so it would be something like human seventy years, intermediate state for two weeks, hungry ghost five minutes, intermediate state for two weeks, human.

I think one of the most important points is that the Buddha didn't teach in depth about this intermediate state or how to prepare for it, interact with it, or it's intricacies and details. In fact, he didn't teach about it at all. There are some suttas where he, depending on your perspective, might be mentioning, extremely vaguely (when compared to how other schools talk about it), such a state but that's all, and it's completely up to the perspective of whoever is reading it. I don't see it, and neither did the creators of the Abhidhamma and commentaries. Those few, vague mentions do not require us to assume an intermediate state, but could mean something else.

They also bring into question issues like a being having a self, these suttas mention a gandhabba waiting to be born or something similar. Does this require us to say that the gandhabba absolutely is the exact same person that died and is about to be reborn, floating there, fully conscious? I don't see how. It could just as easily be the name for the body matter that the consciousness will arise in, which, for ease of conversation, is implied to be the being itself. Just as a body can be called "his" and a person may say "I am" even if only arahants are talking, just because that is how we convey information, and none of the arahants believe the conceit "I am", a gandhabba can be a "being" waiting to be born, when really it is just matter awaiting consciousness to arise in it. A good comparison is non percipient beings. They don't have minds, but are still beings.

So a person dies, their consciousness ceases. There is matter somewhere where the consciousness will re arise. So rather than say it in such strange terms the Buddha said "a being waiting to be born".

Even if it's not immediate for the person who died, it still doesn't require an intermediate state. The person whose consciousness has ceased can just stay ceased for a while. Their new body can be in the process of being grown, here or in another realm, for however long need be, and then, when their new body is ready, they can become conscious in it. So for them there was absolutely no intermediate state where they existed in some form, consciously, between lives. And yet, we can still say that their unconscious body was a "being waiting to be born".

Even if a sutta said "the consciousness of a being waiting to be reborn has craving as fuel", that still doesn't necessarily mean they are floating there, conscious, waiting to be reborn. It's about interpretation. This could mean their consciousness has ceased, their new body is in the making, but there consciousness must still have fuel to eventually re arise. Just like non percipient beings who are unconscious and yet obviously their consciousnesses are still craving, otherwise they would never fall from that state and become conscious again.

There are no suttas that require us to say that a person, the same exact person who died, is floating around in some intermediate state, experiencing said state.

If it does exist in the suttas, then it must have zero importance and be something irrelevant that cannot be interacted with or changed in any way; something that skirts the issue entirely and doesn't require us to equate it with these states from other traditions. Otherwise the Buddha would have taught on it.

The utter deficit of information on this supposed state in the suttas points to it's non-existence at most, or it's total lack of importance at least. Realistically, I think it points to something like I've written above; the way it is interpreted is key and it need not be an intermediate state in the way that other traditions speak of one.
Last edited by zan on Mon Sep 23, 2019 6:51 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: What suttas support the classical Theravada view of immediate rebirth?

Post by cappuccino » Mon Sep 23, 2019 6:50 pm

zan wrote: So a person dies, their consciousness ceases. There is matter somewhere where the consciousness will re arise.
Buddhism teaches the content of consciousness is inconstant

that's not saying consciousness itself is inconstant

just the content of consciousness is inconstant

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Re: What suttas support the classical Theravada view of immediate rebirth?

Post by zan » Mon Sep 23, 2019 7:30 pm

cappuccino wrote:
zan wrote: So a person dies, their consciousness ceases. There is matter somewhere where the consciousness will re arise.
Buddhism teaches the content of consciousness is inconstant

that's not saying consciousness itself is inconstant

just the content of consciousness is inconstant
Thanks for the neat idea, and in whatever school of Buddhism you are from, that may be the case. However this is a discussion on orthodox Theravada, and in this school, consciousness literally ceases and re-arises constantly. Consciousness itself is literally inconstant, not just it's contents.

Since you spend a lot of time discussing orthodox Theravada here, have you considered learning about it? I recommend the Abhidhammattha Sangaha. It will give you a good overview on the teachings of this school. The Bhikkhu Bodhi translation is really good and his commentary makes it easy to understand. You are obviously a pretty intelligent individual and would understand it easily. It is significantly different from your school of Buddhism and would probably be interesting to learn for you.
Never read anything I write as an accurate statement about anything whatsoever. First, look to wiser ones than I. Look to wise texts. Unless you can confirm their accuracy from a reliable source, treat my writings like word games, nothing more.

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Re: What suttas support the classical Theravada view of immediate rebirth?

Post by cappuccino » Mon Sep 23, 2019 7:42 pm

zan wrote: Since you spend a lot of time discussing orthodox Theravada here, have you considered learning about it?
comments create karma

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Re: What suttas support the classical Theravada view of immediate rebirth?

Post by zan » Mon Sep 23, 2019 7:44 pm

cappuccino wrote:
Mon Sep 23, 2019 7:42 pm
zan wrote: Since you spend a lot of time discussing orthodox Theravada here, have you considered learning about it?
comments create karma
I was only trying to make a helpful suggestion. Apologies if it was not to your liking. I enjoy discussing Buddhism with you. You keep me thinking about the dhamma in different ways and so I re read a lot of suttas, which is a good thing.
Never read anything I write as an accurate statement about anything whatsoever. First, look to wiser ones than I. Look to wise texts. Unless you can confirm their accuracy from a reliable source, treat my writings like word games, nothing more.

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Re: What suttas support the classical Theravada view of immediate rebirth?

Post by cappuccino » Mon Sep 23, 2019 7:48 pm

zan wrote: Consciousness itself is literally inconstant
this is nowhere in the teaching

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Re: What suttas support the classical Theravada view of immediate rebirth?

Post by zan » Mon Sep 23, 2019 7:49 pm

cappuccino wrote:
Mon Sep 23, 2019 7:48 pm
zan wrote: Consciousness itself is literally inconstant
this is nowhere in the teaching
It is in the Abhidhamma, which is part of the tipitaka/Pali Canon. Also, the Abhidhamma uses the suttas as it's foundation and Theravada teachers explain how they interpret certain suttas to mean this. The commentary to certain suttas also explains how they are interpreted to support this view.
Last edited by zan on Mon Sep 23, 2019 7:54 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: What suttas support the classical Theravada view of immediate rebirth?

Post by cappuccino » Mon Sep 23, 2019 7:53 pm

zan wrote:
cappuccino wrote:
zan wrote: Consciousness itself is literally inconstant
this is nowhere in the teaching
It is in the Abhidhamma, which is part of the Tipitaka/Pali Canon.
I recommend the Kevatta Sutta

Notes

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Re: What suttas support the classical Theravada view of immediate rebirth?

Post by zan » Mon Sep 23, 2019 7:58 pm

cappuccino wrote:
Mon Sep 23, 2019 7:53 pm
zan wrote:
cappuccino wrote:

this is nowhere in the teaching
It is in the Abhidhamma, which is part of the Tipitaka/Pali Canon.
I recommend the Kevatta Sutta

Notes
Thanks, I've read it and the notes, your posts have gotten me thinking about this issue a great deal, but as an orthodox Theravadin it's not something I can reconcile with the Abhidhamma, which is considered Buddhavacana by some, or is considered by some to at least have been taught by Sariputta, the Buddha's chief disciple.
Never read anything I write as an accurate statement about anything whatsoever. First, look to wiser ones than I. Look to wise texts. Unless you can confirm their accuracy from a reliable source, treat my writings like word games, nothing more.

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Re: What suttas support the classical Theravada view of immediate rebirth?

Post by cappuccino » Mon Sep 23, 2019 8:04 pm

Abhidharma doesn't contradict

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Re: What suttas support the classical Theravada view of immediate rebirth?

Post by zan » Mon Sep 23, 2019 8:09 pm

cappuccino wrote:
Mon Sep 23, 2019 8:04 pm
Abhidharma doesn't contradict
The Abhidhamma teaches that consciousness is literally inconstant, which is a contradiction of the idea that consciousness isn't inconstant, only it's contents. The Abhidhamma teachers generally use certain suttas to support this idea, so, from their perspective, it's not a contradiction of the suttas.
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Re: What suttas support the classical Theravada view of immediate rebirth?

Post by cappuccino » Mon Sep 23, 2019 8:19 pm

you're misreading the Abhidharma
Buddhism teaches the content of consciousness is inconstant

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Re: What suttas support the classical Theravada view of immediate rebirth?

Post by cappuccino » Mon Sep 23, 2019 8:35 pm

"In dependence on the ear & sounds there arises ear-consciousness...

"In dependence on the nose & aromas there arises nose-consciousness...

"In dependence on the tongue & flavors there arises tongue-consciousness...

"In dependence on the body & tactile sensations there arises body-consciousness...

"In dependence on the intellect & ideas there arises intellect-consciousness. The intellect is inconstant, changeable, of a nature to become otherwise. Ideas are inconstant, changeable, of a nature to become otherwise. Thus this pair is both wavering & fluctuating — inconstant, changeable, of a nature to become otherwise.

Dvaya Sutta

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Re: What suttas support the classical Theravada view of immediate rebirth?

Post by zan » Mon Sep 23, 2019 8:38 pm

cappuccino wrote:
Mon Sep 23, 2019 8:19 pm
you're misreading the Abhidharma
Buddhism teaches the content of consciousness is inconstant
That's possible, I'm far from an expert. Bhikkhu Bodhi is, though and he seems to think the same:
Consciousness:

...citta is fundamentally an activity or process of cognizing or knowing an object. It is not an agent or instrument possessing actual being in itself apart from the activity of cognizing...

The Buddhist thinkers point out, by means of these definitions, that it is not a self that performs the act of cognition, but citta or consciousness. This citta is nothing other than the act of cognizing, and that act is necessarily impermanent, marked by rise and fall.
-A Comprehensive Manual of Abhidhamma, Bhikkhu Bodhi, pages 28-29
Could you provide some quotes from the Abhidhamma that make it clear that I am misreading it and that consciousness is constant, and only it's content is inconstant?
Never read anything I write as an accurate statement about anything whatsoever. First, look to wiser ones than I. Look to wise texts. Unless you can confirm their accuracy from a reliable source, treat my writings like word games, nothing more.

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