No soul, consciousness confused?

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DooDoot
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Re: No soul, consciousness confused?

Post by DooDoot » Wed Nov 06, 2019 7:39 am

MrLearner wrote:
Wed Nov 06, 2019 1:08 am
I'm really sorry these are basic questions but i did a search on this forum about these all but still confused. So if there is no soul in buddhism what goes to the next life?
Hello there. Actually, there are debates about the above in Buddhism. While I try not to get so involved in these debates very much anymore, since I have learned & studied from the scriptures what I need to learn for my personal faith:

1. When we study the evolution & history of Buddhism, we can find the idea of past & future lives became more & more literal over time. For example, there are very few 'older teachings' ('suttas') that refer to literal past lives of the Buddha and some of those that exist are difficult to believe; such as MN 123, where it is said the Buddha walked, talked & predicted his enlightenment as soon as he was born from his mother's womb/vagina.

2. In the original teachings, many words used to claim the Buddha taught past lives, such as "jati/jatiya" ("birth") and "nivasa" (literally "homes" or "dwellings"), when studied carefully, do not appear to literally mean "physical birth" and "lives". For example, the Pali word for "lives" is "jiva" rather than "nivasa". The word "jatiya" often means "social class" and the related words "jati", "jata" & "jayati" are used in many different ways that are not about physical origins.

3. In short, I personally have doubts the Buddha himself literally taught about past & future lives but I speculate these doctrines were added into the scriptures at a later time. Otherwise, the Buddha used language that can be interpreted in two ways. For example, in those teachings about kamma & future destinations, the Buddha did not refer to "consciousness". These teachings, often given to laypeople & Brahmins, actually refer to "persons" or "beings" that have a future destination. In other words, the teachings about "kamma & rebirth" appear to always be "personal" and not impersonal. For example, the Buddha generally did not teach Dependent Origination to laypeople. It is generally the scholars that construct reincarnation doctrines out of Dependent Origination, to create an impersonal consciousness that is reincarnated. But I have not read this in the older scriptures (suttas). In the suttas, I have generally read the Buddha taught a "person", a "certain man", " a certain women" or a certain "being" (or "self") re-arises in the future.

4. Regardless, what is most important is discerning the teachings about what is loosely translated as "rebirth" are about the results of kamma. If you do bad, you go to hell, which is a place of suffering. If you do good, you go to heaven, which is a place of happiness. If the mind overcomes self-clinging, the mind reaches Nibbana, which is a state of peace.

5. Buddhism is about reducing & ending suffering. This is the most important message we find in the teachings. If you believe in reincarnation but don't have the right view about good, bad & morality, then believing in reincarnation probably won't help you much have a peaceful life (and you might only develop an amoral Protestant-like view that you will have a human reincarnation regardless of the quality of your kamma; which is contrary to what the teachings say).

6. For some of us here, we focus on the present moment and the quality of our Dhamma life in the present moment. If there is a future life then a good moral life today will guarantee a good future life. It is not belief in reincarnation that will bring a good future life. Instead, it is doing good kamma that will bring a good & happy present & future life.

Best wishes

Doot :smile:
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MrLearner
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Re: No soul, consciousness confused?

Post by MrLearner » Wed Nov 06, 2019 11:33 am

Thank you everyone for their replies :console: I found all of them helpful but I'm getting more questions as I try to understand this. Now my new question is,

1. Can there be rebirth but no karma?

I mean when we die, obviously energy is released (atleast if nothing else from our decaying body), now if fetuses are going to be around, obviously this energy will move into one of the fetuses. As energy can neither be created, destroyed, only transferred. So I'm fine with rebirth. What I ask i what is this force that makes this energy move into a good body if you do good karma and bad body if you do bad karma. Now this is where it becomes supernatural and I'm bit confused, how is karma able to move this energy to according to your karma? What is karma? Is it like some special force like gravity?

I do beleive in karma, because it is obvious in day today life, but this problem has been troubling me lately. What if there is rebirth but no karma, so no matter what you do in this life, you will be reborn but not according to karma but according to probability or chance of getting a new or bad life.

perkele
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Re: No soul, consciousness confused?

Post by perkele » Wed Nov 06, 2019 1:03 pm

MrLearner wrote:
Wed Nov 06, 2019 11:33 am
I mean when we die, obviously energy is released (atleast if nothing else from our decaying body), now if fetuses are going to be around, obviously this energy will move into one of the fetuses. As energy can neither be created, destroyed, only transferred. So I'm fine with rebirth. What I ask i what is this force that makes this energy move into a good body if you do good karma and bad body if you do bad karma. Now this is where it becomes supernatural and I'm bit confused, how is karma able to move this energy to according to your karma? What is karma? Is it like some special force like gravity?
It seems unreasonable to me to think about "life energy" as some special form of physical energy, which is transformed from life to life by some physical process in line the physical law of conservation of energy.

Would the amount of that "life energy" be the same for a moscito as for an elephant?
And when "birth is ended, the holy life fulfilled, the task done. There is nothing further for the sake of this world" (stock phrase from the suttas, declaring having reached nibbana), would then conservation of energy be violated?

If this kind of explanation is necessary for you to be "fine with rebirth" I think you are on the wrong track.
Why do you think that physical laws govern everything? Conscious experience, on a fundamental level, seems to lie out of the scope of physics.

I think, regarding your questions, this "disappointing" sutta is relevant:
AN 4.77: Acintita Sutta - Unconjecturable wrote:There are these four unconjecturables that are not to be conjectured about, that would bring madness & vexation to anyone who conjectured about them. Which four?

"The Buddha-range of the Buddhas[1] is an unconjecturable that is not to be conjectured about, that would bring madness & vexation to anyone who conjectured about it.

"The jhana-range of a person in jhana...[2]

"The [precise working out of the] results of kamma...

"Conjecture about [the origin, etc., of] the world is an unconjecturable that is not to be conjectured about, that would bring madness & vexation to anyone who conjectured about it.

"These are the four unconjecturables that are not to be conjectured about, that would bring madness & vexation to anyone who conjectured about them."
:anjali:

santa100
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Re: No soul, consciousness confused?

Post by santa100 » Wed Nov 06, 2019 1:57 pm

MrLearner wrote:What if there is rebirth but no karma
A crude analogy of Kamma in scientific concept is potential energy and/or kinetic energy. When you play billiards, you have to strike the first ball and set it into motion. Due to the kinetic energy, the strength, and the angle of the hit will it affect the direction and the speed of the subsequent balls. If it strikes on the left side with a powerful force, the next ball will travel very fast toward the left side. If it strikes on the right side with a medium force, the next ball will travel at lesser speed toward the right side. If the striking ball is no longer in motion, there's no force there to set into motion the subsequent balls. Similarly for kamma. Once one's put an end to kamma, there's no "fuel" left to kickstart subsequent rebirths.

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dhammacoustic
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Re: No soul, consciousness confused?

Post by dhammacoustic » Wed Nov 06, 2019 11:56 pm

MrLearner wrote:
Wed Nov 06, 2019 11:33 am
(...) Can there be rebirth but no karma?
no.

rebirth is karma.
I mean when we die, obviously energy is released (atleast if nothing else from our decaying body), now if fetuses are going to be around, obviously this energy will move into one of the fetuses. As energy can neither be created, destroyed, only transferred.
the word energy comes from the ancient greek ἔργον (ergon), which means work... energy is not really a “thing”, as the traditional definiton goes, it's merely the capacity to do work.....so what is the nature [of that reality] that generates the capacity to actualize phenomena? contemplate on that..

metaphysically speaking , when we die nothing is released. the real release was your birth (kamma/work), the original loss of potential. as such, chemical elements have nothing to do with your kamma once you're dead.
So I'm fine with rebirth. What I ask i what is this force that makes this energy move into a good body if you do good karma and bad body if you do bad karma. Now this is where it becomes supernatural and I'm bit confused, how is karma able to move this energy to according to your karma? What is karma? Is it like some special force like gravity?
there are no “special” forces. that very distinction in your mind is “vinnana”.. gravity is a vinnana, it's a signification, a representation , a grasping, a “knowing”.....natural vs. supernatural is also vinnana. these distinctions do not really exist in-and-of-themselves.

if you want to gain insight into the true nature of existence , you should contemplate on “not knowing”, find the absence of vinnana.
I do beleive in karma, because it is obvious in day today life, but this problem has been troubling me lately. What if there is rebirth but no karma, so no matter what you do in this life, you will be reborn but not according to karma but according to probability or chance of getting a new or bad life.
kamma/ rebirth / time/ existence / loss of potential. they are one and the same.

sentinel
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Re: No soul, consciousness confused?

Post by sentinel » Thu Nov 07, 2019 7:08 am

SarathW wrote:
Wed Nov 06, 2019 1:54 am
Buddha did not talk about a soul or transmigrating consciousness.
It appears Vinnana consciousness (re linking consciousness)(say voice of some one) produce Namarupa(say sound waves).
Then Namarupa produce a new consciousness (say a listener).
The Buddha appear never taught about re-linking consciousness .
:coffee:

sentinel
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Re: No soul, consciousness confused?

Post by sentinel » Thu Nov 07, 2019 7:19 am

DooDoot wrote:
Wed Nov 06, 2019 7:39 am

Hello there. Actually, there are debates about the above in Buddhism. While I try not to get so involved in these debates very much anymore, since I have learned & studied from the scriptures what I need to learn for my personal faith:

1. When we study the evolution & history of Buddhism, we can find the idea of past & future lives became more & more literal over time. For example, there are very few 'older teachings' ('suttas') that refer to literal past lives of the Buddha and some of those that exist are difficult to believe; such as MN 123, where it is said the Buddha walked, talked & predicted his enlightenment as soon as he was born from his mother's womb/vagina.

2. In the original teachings, many words used to claim the Buddha taught past lives, such as "jati/jatiya" ("birth") and "nivasa" (literally "homes" or "dwellings"), when studied carefully, do not appear to literally mean "physical birth" and "lives". For example, the Pali word for "lives" is "jiva" rather than "nivasa". The word "jatiya" often means "social class" and the related words "jati", "jata" & "jayati" are used in many different ways that are not about physical origins.

3. In short, I personally have doubts the Buddha himself literally taught about past & future lives but I speculate these doctrines were added into the scriptures at a later time. Otherwise, the Buddha used language that can be interpreted in two ways. For example, in those teachings about kamma & future destinations, the Buddha did not refer to "consciousness". These teachings, often given to laypeople & Brahmins, actually refer to "persons" or "beings" that have a future destination. In other words, the teachings about "kamma & rebirth" appear to always be "personal" and not impersonal. For example, the Buddha generally did not teach Dependent Origination to laypeople. It is generally the scholars that construct reincarnation doctrines out of Dependent Origination, to create an impersonal consciousness that is reincarnated. But I have not read this in the older scriptures (suttas). In the suttas, I have generally read the Buddha taught a "person", a "certain man", " a certain women" or a certain "being" (or "self") re-arises in the future.

4. Regardless, what is most important is discerning the teachings about what is loosely translated as "rebirth" are about the results of kamma. If you do bad, you go to hell, which is a place of suffering. If you do good, you go to heaven, which is a place of happiness. If the mind overcomes self-clinging, the mind reaches Nibbana, which is a state of peace.

5. Buddhism is about reducing & ending suffering. This is the most important message we find in the teachings. If you believe in reincarnation but don't have the right view about good, bad & morality, then believing in reincarnation probably won't help you much have a peaceful life (and you might only develop an amoral Protestant-like view that you will have a human reincarnation regardless of the quality of your kamma; which is contrary to what the teachings say).

6. For some of us here, we focus on the present moment and the quality of our Dhamma life in the present moment. If there is a future life then a good moral life today will guarantee a good future life. It is not belief in reincarnation that will bring a good future life. Instead, it is doing good kamma that will bring a good & happy present & future life.

Best wishes

Doot :smile:
I hope people won't get a wrong notion from what you have said that there is No Rebirth or No Karma because if people mistaken and took it as No Karma and No Rebirth , this would turn to wrong view of annihilation .
:coffee:

Laurens
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Re: No soul, consciousness confused?

Post by Laurens » Thu Nov 07, 2019 5:10 pm

To give the most concise answer, I think this is generally a contentious issue among Buddhists, and you might get a variety of differing views. It's probably confusing for a beginner.

My advice would be to ask yourself where your consciousness is right now. Look at your own experience of the world, notice how things arise and pass away. Don't worry about speculating on what might or might not get reborn in your next life. You'll find out what happens when you die when you die.
"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

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Re: No soul, consciousness confused?

Post by Dinsdale » Thu Nov 07, 2019 6:01 pm

Laurens wrote:
Thu Nov 07, 2019 5:10 pm
To give the most concise answer, I think this is generally a contentious issue among Buddhists, and you might get a variety of differing views. It's probably confusing for a beginner.

My advice would be to ask yourself where your consciousness is right now. Look at your own experience of the world, notice how things arise and pass away. Don't worry about speculating on what might or might not get reborn in your next life. You'll find out what happens when you die when you die.
:goodpost:
Buddha save me from new-agers!

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cappuccino
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Re: No soul, consciousness confused?

Post by cappuccino » Fri Nov 08, 2019 1:18 am

your view before you die is right or wrong

this determines your afterlife

auto
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Re: No soul, consciousness confused?

Post by auto » Fri Nov 08, 2019 3:07 pm

sentinel wrote:
Thu Nov 07, 2019 7:19 am
I hope people won't get a wrong notion from what you have said that there is No Rebirth or No Karma because if people mistaken and took it as No Karma and No Rebirth , this would turn to wrong view of annihilation .
I think he rejected the consciousness what goes from one life to another. Consciousness is not your self, is subject to arise and pass away. If people would think of their consciousness as sense-organ-consciousness it would be much easier to dissect oneself from it.
I think there is not much taste difference, one need use brains to analize what is what.

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cappuccino
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Re: No soul, consciousness confused?

Post by cappuccino » Fri Nov 08, 2019 3:31 pm

auto wrote: I think he rejected the consciousness what goes from one life to another.
rather the same consciousness, because it changes it's not the same

user99
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Re: No soul, consciousness confused?

Post by user99 » Fri Nov 08, 2019 10:09 pm

If buddha said that all living things should be regarded as not self then everything is predetermined. 😁

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cappuccino
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Re: No soul, consciousness confused?

Post by cappuccino » Fri Nov 08, 2019 10:33 pm

user99 wrote: If Buddha said that all living things should be regarded as not self then everything is predetermined.
somewhat, but there is free will, from the teaching of karma

sentinel
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Re: No soul, consciousness confused?

Post by sentinel » Sat Nov 09, 2019 3:31 pm

cappuccino wrote:
Fri Nov 08, 2019 10:33 pm
user99 wrote: If Buddha said that all living things should be regarded as not self then everything is predetermined.
somewhat, but there is free will, from the teaching of karma
There is this determination called will but not Free , it is conditional .
:coffee:

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