chatra wrote:I'm a new member here, and I'm considering converting to Buddhism. In fact, I might just convert right here and now - if it weren't for one issue.
I'm going to try my best not to rehash a topic I know has been gone over hundreds of times, but I'm having trouble accepting the concept of "rebirth". I cannot seem to find any logical justification for it. Is there any logical and scientific* explanation of exactly how this works?
Is it possible to be a Buddhist, accepting the ethical tenants, view of human nature, etc. etc., while rejecting the cosmology (rebith, the 36 planes, etc. etc.)? Or would this be as dishonest as claiming to be Christian, while rejecting the concepts of Heaven and Hell?
Thanks for any help you might have to offer. I'll keep an open mind, I promise.
*While an enormous compendium of people who explain and seem to have experienced rebirth might be classified as scientific, it still does not give logical justification.
This really depends a lot on how the concept of "rebirth" is to be understood within the Buddhas framework. There are essentially to "camps" the going with the interpretation of rebirth meaning birth beyond the grave in some other realm or back to earth and the other going with rebirth meaning birth of the sense of "I am" throughout life on earth
For the second view you might find these helpful to understand it
http://www.what-buddha-taught.net/Books ... ebirth.pdf
... The Buddha said that, "I teach only one thing: dukkha and the quenching of dukkha." That is what all the teachings are about, dukkha and the quenching of dukkha. He didn't talk about other things. Whether or not there is rebirth is not the fundamental question, because once one is born here and now, there is dukkha like this and it must be quenched like this. Even if you are born again, dukkha is like this and must be quenched in the same way. Why bother talking about birth or no birth? Talk only about how dukkha arises and how dukkha is quenched. Just this is already enough. For this reason the Buddha taught anattā. Once anattā is fully realized, there is no dukkha. When there is no attā, dukkha isn't born, anymore. Therefore, he taught the quenching of dukkha, that is, he taught this matter of not-self. The teaching of anattā is essential for the ending of dukkha. Arguments and discussions about whether there is rebirth or not area waste of time. Whether "it" will be born or not, there is still this business of quenching dukkha like this. It's better to speak about this quenching of dukkha instead. This quenching of dukkha is the fact that there is no attā, is understanding that everything is anattā. (33)
We can conclude by saying that if you understand anattā correctly and truly, then you will discover for yourself that there is no rebirth and no reincarnation. The matter is finished.
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http://www.buddhadasa.com/naturaltruth/ ... uage1.html
Now, going a little higher, we come to the word "birth" (jati). In everyday language, the word "birth" refers to physically coming into the world from the mother's womb. A person is born physically only once. Having been born, one lives in the world until one dies and enters the coffin. Physical birth happens to each of us only once. This birth from the mother's womb is what is meant by "birth" in everyday language.
In Dhamma language, the word "birth" refers to the birth of the idea "I" or "ego" that arises in the mind throughout each day. In this sense, the ordinary person is born very often, time and time again; a more developed person is born less frequently; a person well advanced in practice (ariyan, noble one) is born less frequently still, and ultimately ceases being born altogether. Each arising in the mind of the idea of "I" in one form or another is called a "birth." Thus, birth can take place many times over in a single day. As soon as one starts thinking like an animal, one is born as an animal in that same moment. To think like a human being is to be born a human being. To think like a celestial being is to be born a celestial being. Life, the individual, pleasure and pain, and the rest-all these were identified by the Buddha as simply momentary states of consciousness. So the word "birth" means in Dhamma language the arising of the idea of "I" or "me", and not, as in everyday language, physical birth from the mother's womb.
The word "birth" is very common in the Buddha's discourses. When he was speaking of everyday things, he used the word "birth" with its everyday meaning. But when he was expounding Higher Dhamma - for instance, when discussing conditioned arising (paticca-samuppada) - he used the word "birth" (jati) with the meaning it has in Dhamma language. In his description of conditioned arising, he wasn't talking about physical birth. He was talking about the birth of attachment to the ideas of "me" and "mine", "myself" and "my own.
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I believe you have already been given links that adhere to the rebirth after the grave understanding
hope this helps