the great rebirth debate

A discussion on all aspects of Theravāda Buddhism
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Alex123
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Re: the great rebirth debate

Post by Alex123 » Thu Dec 16, 2010 11:13 pm

Kenshou wrote: Okay, thanks, you have provided. Now, I believe that there is some room for interpretation on what is going on there. Again, looking in the context of the teachings as a whole, I would be inclined to think that the Buddha would be able to experience this discomfort equanimously. From Ud 12. (ñanavira's trans.) "Contacts contact dependent on ground -How should contacts contact a groundless one?" I do not believe that such feelings are necessarily dukkha, even less so for an individual that does not identify with them.
However it may be too vague to say.
Thank you for admitting that even the Buddha could experience discomfort equanimously. Discomfort isn't sukkha, it is dukkha.


For "contact" I believe this refers to "contact-with-ignorance" (avijjāsamphasso) not a bare contact .

An Arahant STILL has 5 aggregates, and still does have phassa. An Arahant isn't some phantom that doesn't have sense bases that come into contact with pleasant/unpleasant sense objects and experience the corresponding vedanā due to phassa.

With metta,

Alex
"Life is a struggle. Life will throw curveballs at you, it will humble you, it will attempt to break you down. And just when you think things are starting to look up, life will smack you back down with ruthless indifference..."

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Re: the great rebirth debate

Post by Kenshou » Thu Dec 16, 2010 11:52 pm

Thank you for admitting that even the Buddha could experience discomfort equanimously. Discomfort isn't sukkha, it is dukkha.
You have made me remember that there are indeed instances in the canon where it is said that the Buddha experiences some unpleasant feeling. For some reason, I had forgotten about that, and you've given me the chance to consider it, which is good for me.
An Arahant STILL has 5 aggregates, and still does have phassa. An Arahant isn't some phantom that doesn't have sense bases that come into contact with pleasant/unpleasant sense objects and experience the corresponding vedanā due to phassa.
That was never implied. My impression is that when it is said that the arahant is not touched by contact, it does not mean that they do not have the six-sense bases any longer, but that because they have ended the conceit that there is an "I" who is contacted, there can be said to be no contact. But anyway this kind of a side-track, more importantly:

I do not believe that unpleasant feelings are necessarily dukkha. I do agree that for the arahant the 5 aggregates continue to occur, and that they experience pleasant feelings and unpleasant feelings. However, looking at the teachings, it seems to me that the arahant who does not have craving or aversion for these things and no identification with them, would suffer no stress over the disintegration of pleasant feelings or the arrival of unpleasant ones.

So I guess my bottom line is that when seen with wisdom what are conventionally called unpleasant feelings really don't have to be unpleasant. I know from experience that this is possible. You can be sick or tired or uncomfortable without being agitated. It's easier said than done, but if I can do it some of the time, I bet an arahant could do it exponentially better.

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mikenz66
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Re: the great rebirth debate

Post by mikenz66 » Fri Dec 17, 2010 1:15 am

Alex123 wrote:
darvki wrote: The problem with asserting that a buddha or arahant still suffers to an extent is that their status is based on something like this:

"Guys, I've overcome suffering!"
"Wow, all of it?"
"Well, no...but I'm going to when I die."
Again, the cessation doesn't need to be simultaneous. Ven. Dhammanando had an excellent post somewhere about "when this ceases, that ceases" not necessarily implying a momentary event.
I assembled some material on this issue of time in and around this post:
http://www.dhammawheel.com/viewtopic.ph ... 300#p94936" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
Bhikkhu Nanananda wrote: In the definition of the Nibbàna element without residual cling­ing, the same standard phrase recurs, while its distinctive feature is sum­med up in just one sentence: Tassa idheva sabba­veda­yi­tàni an­abhi­nanditàni sãtibhavis­santi, "in him, here itself, all what is felt will cool off, not being delighted in". It may be noted that the verb is in the future tense and apart from this cooling off, there is no guarantee of a world beyond, as an asaïkhata dhàtu, or `unprepared element', with no sun, moon or stars in it.

The two verses that follow purport to give a summary of the prose passage. Here it is clearly stated that out of the two Nibbàna ele­ments, as they are called, the former pertains to the here and now, diñ­­ñhadhammika, while the latter refers to what comes after death, sam­paràyika. The Nibbàna element with residual clinging, sa-upà­disesà Nibbànadhàtu, has as its redeeming feature the assurance that the tentacular craving for becoming is cut off, despite its exposure to likes and dislikes, pleasures and pains, common to the field of the five senses.

As for the Nibbàna element without residual clinging, it is defi­nitely stated that in it all forms of existence come to cease. The rea­son for it is none other than the crucial fact, stated in that single sen­tence, namely, the cooling off of all what is felt as an inevitable con­sequence of not being delighted in, anabhinanditàni.
:anjali:
Mike

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Spiny O'Norman
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Re: the great rebirth debate

Post by Spiny O'Norman » Fri Dec 17, 2010 2:38 pm

Alex123 wrote: Also what is anicca is dukkha.
But it seems from DO that dukkha arises in dependence on ignorance, ie not seeing anicca ( and anatta ).
And as a result of this ignorance we become attached, that invariably leads to suffering.
Logically then if we do see clearly the nature of things then attachment / craving doesn't occur, and there is an end to suffering.

Spiny

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kirk5a
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Re: the great rebirth debate

Post by kirk5a » Fri Dec 17, 2010 4:09 pm

Spiny O'Norman wrote: But it seems from DO that dukkha arises in dependence on ignorance, ie not seeing anicca ( and anatta ).
And, this mental dukkha arises on not seeing the dukkha characteristic of things. Because we don't see the dukkha aspect, the unsatisfactory aspect, we get attached and create more dukkha. We think things are really worth desiring. Those are the three characteristics of all dependently arisen phenomena. The not-seeing of which is the basis for awareness to be bound to conditioned phenomena. The seeing of which is the basis for letting go.
"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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Re: the great rebirth debate

Post by clw_uk » Fri Dec 17, 2010 8:19 pm

I think this sutta is relevant to the discussion at hand

"An untaught worldling, O monks, experiences pleasant feelings, he experiences painful feelings and he experiences neutral feelings. A well-taught noble disciple likewise experiences pleasant, painful and neutral feelings. Now what is the distinction, the diversity, the difference that exists herein between a well-taught noble disciple and an untaught worldling?

"When an untaught worldling is touched by a painful (bodily) feeling, he worries and grieves, he laments, beats his breast, weeps and is distraught. He thus experiences two kinds of feelings, a bodily and a mental feeling. It is as if a man were pierced by a dart and, following the first piercing, he is hit by a second dart. So that person will experience feelings caused by two darts. It is similar with an untaught worldling: when touched by a painful (bodily) feeling, he worries and grieves, he laments, beats his breast, weeps and is distraught. So he experiences two kinds of feeling: a bodily and a mental feeling.

"Having been touched by that painful feeling, he resists (and resents) it. Then in him who so resists (and resents) that painful feeling, an underlying tendency of resistance against that painful feeling comes to underlie (his mind). Under the impact of that painful feeling he then proceeds to enjoy sensual happiness. And why does he do so? An untaught worldling, O monks, does not know of any other escape from painful feelings except the enjoyment of sensual happiness. Then in him who enjoys sensual happiness, an underlying tendency to lust for pleasant feelings comes to underlie (his mind). He does not know, according to facts, the arising and ending of these feelings, nor the gratification, the danger and the escape, connected with these feelings. In him who lacks that knowledge, an underlying tendency to ignorance as to neutral feelings comes to underlie (his mind). When he experiences a pleasant feeling, a painful feeling or a neutral feeling, he feels it as one fettered by it. Such a one, O monks, is called an untaught worldling who is fettered by birth, by old age, by death, by sorrow, lamentation, pain, grief and despair. He is fettered by suffering, this I declare.

"But in the case of a well-taught noble disciple, O monks, when he is touched by a painful feeling, he will not worry nor grieve and lament, he will not beat his breast and weep, nor will he be distraught. It is one kind of feeling he experiences, a bodily one, but not a mental feeling. It is as if a man were pierced by a dart, but was not hit by a second dart following the first one. So this person experiences feelings caused by a single dart only. It is similar with a well-taught noble disciple: when touched by a painful feeling, he will no worry nor grieve and lament, he will not beat his breast and weep, nor will he be distraught. He experiences one single feeling, a bodily one.

"Having been touched by that painful feeling, he does not resist (and resent) it. Hence, in him no underlying tendency of resistance against that painful feeling comes to underlie (his mind). Under the impact of that painful feeling he does not proceed to enjoy sensual happiness. And why not? As a well-taught noble disciple he knows of an escape from painful feelings other than by enjoying sensual happiness. Then in him who does not proceed to enjoy sensual happiness, no underlying tendency to lust for pleasant feelings comes to underlie (his mind). He knows, according to facts, the arising and ending of those feelings, and the gratification, the danger and the escape connected with these feelings. In him who knows thus, no underlying tendency to ignorance as to neutral feelings comes to underlie (his mind). When he experiences a pleasant feeling, a painful feeling or a neutral feeling, he feels it as one who is not fettered by it. Such a one, O monks, is called a well-taught noble disciple who is not fettered by birth, by old age, by death, by sorrow, lamentation, pain, grief and despair. He is not fettered to suffering, this I declare.

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .nypo.html" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;


Seems obvious to me that one can be free from dukkha in the here and now and that physical pain does not have to be dukkha
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Re: the great rebirth debate

Post by clw_uk » Fri Dec 17, 2010 8:20 pm

Spiny O'Norman wrote:
Alex123 wrote: Also what is anicca is dukkha.
But it seems from DO that dukkha arises in dependence on ignorance, ie not seeing anicca ( and anatta ).
And as a result of this ignorance we become attached, that invariably leads to suffering.
Logically then if we do see clearly the nature of things then attachment / craving doesn't occur, and there is an end to suffering.

Spiny


:anjali:
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Re: the great rebirth debate

Post by clw_uk » Fri Dec 17, 2010 8:34 pm

Alex
Without mental defilements there are no dukkha of grief, sadness, fear and so on. But there is still dukkha due to change, and dukkha due to formations.

The dukkha due to change is another word for unsatisfactory. Heroin is always unsatisfactory, as is feelings etc. However if there is no clinging then there is no mental dukkha, no stress or pain
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Re: the great rebirth debate

Post by clw_uk » Fri Dec 17, 2010 8:45 pm

kirk5a wrote:If the senses in themselves are not dukkha, only the clinging is dukkha, then why not undergo rebirth another thousand billion times? Just clear up the craving bit, and then, as I have seen it said here - "rebirth is no problem." :smile:

I don't see it that way. And I don't see the Buddha saying it that way. At all. Very much not saying that. In very strong graphic language like filling up the graveyards and so on.

As far as practice goes, well, if the dukkha of the senses is not seen, how we gonna let go? Is it realistic to suppose that the senses can be viewed as non-dukkha.. but we'll still let go of all that? I don't think so.

The Buddha is quite clear that clinging to the aggregates is dukkha
"Birth is dukkha, aging is dukkha, death is dukkha; sorrow, lamentation, pain, grief, & despair are dukkha; association with the unbeloved is dukkha; separation from the loved is dukkha; not getting what is wanted is dukkha. In short, the five clinging-aggregates are dukkha."

The views of rebirth, no rebirth one life or a million are also dukkha

At Savatthi. "Monks, there are these four floods. Which four? The flood of sensuality, the flood of becoming, the flood of views, & the flood of ignorance. These are the four floods.

"Now, this noble eightfold path is to be developed for direct knowledge of, comprehension of, the total ending of, & the abandoning of these four floods. Which noble eightfold path? There is the case where a monk develops right view dependent on seclusion, dependent on dispassion, dependent on cessation, resulting in letting go. He develops right resolve... right speech... right action... right livelihood... right effort... right mindfulness... right concentration dependent on seclusion, dependent on dispassion, dependent on cessation, resulting in letting go. This noble eightfold path is to be developed for direct knowledge of, for comprehension of, for the total ending of, & for the abandoning of these four floods."

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
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Re: the great rebirth debate

Post by clw_uk » Fri Dec 17, 2010 10:14 pm

Taken from Kamma and Anatta Thread





Buddhism teaches literal rebirth, clearly and definitely.
Im sure "Buddhism" does, however the view of "after death I will be a dog" is not part of the Buddhas own teachings, rather something he made use of
To deny the existence of a birth conditioned by previous existences after the physical death of the body is to distance yourself from the fundamental assumptions of Buddhism.
Reason why?

Fundamental Buddhism is dukkha and its cessation

Dukkha is clinging to the 5 aggregates, no clinging then no dukkha

here and now
If you adopt this view, you are reinterpreting the suttas to conform with your own beliefs.
How do you know what" my own beliefs are"? Reading my mind are you?

There is no reason to not just be inspired by Buddhism, while having your own views and using your own insight. You don't need to quell doubt in your beliefs by relying on religious authority, religious authority which may be accessible only by asserting that The Buddha didn't REALLY teach that which you wish him to have not taught.

Once again using your telepathy? How do you know what I am doing? How do you know that what I say does not come from insight?

Also the sentence you quoted was Aj.Buddhadasas words, not mine
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Re: the great rebirth debate

Post by Alex123 » Fri Dec 17, 2010 10:55 pm

clw_uk wrote: The dukkha due to change is another word for unsatisfactory. Heroin is always unsatisfactory, as is feelings etc. However if there is no clinging then there is no mental dukkha, no stress or pain
Rather than saying "However if there is no clinging then there is no mental dukkha, no stress or pain" do you mean "However if there is no clinging then there is no mental dukkha, no mental stress or mental pain pain" ? If it is the latter than I mostly agree. Though Ud 4.5 and MN26 do show that even a Buddha can experience some degree of dukkha, perhaps only due to physical stress (of teaching Dhamma or putting up with unruly monks, nuns and laypeople).

Do you know how craving leads to dukkha according to D.O. ?
From craving as a requisite condition comes clinging/sustenance. From clinging/sustenance as a requisite condition comes becoming. From becoming as a requisite condition comes birth. From birth as a requisite condition, then aging & death, sorrow, lamentation, pain, distress, & despair come into play. Such is the origination of this entire mass of stress & suffering.
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
Whats wrong with birth?
For one who is born there is death; Once born, one encounters sufferings — Bondage, murder, affliction — Hence one shouldn't approve of birth. The Buddha has taught the Dhamma, The transcendence of birth; For the abandoning of all suffering
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .bodh.html" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
“The heap of bones one person leaves behind With the passing of a single aeon Would form a heap as high as a mountain: Such is said by the Great Sage.
This is declared to be as massive As the tall Vepulla Mountain Standing north of Vulture Peak In the Magadhan mountain range.
SN15.10 (10) Person. Ven BB Trans.
I wonder how the metaphorical births & deaths of ego identity can be reconciled with the simile above.
"Life is a struggle. Life will throw curveballs at you, it will humble you, it will attempt to break you down. And just when you think things are starting to look up, life will smack you back down with ruthless indifference..."

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Alex123
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Re: the great rebirth debate

Post by Alex123 » Fri Dec 17, 2010 11:00 pm

CLW,

If there is no rebirth than the path is mostly pointless. It doesn't matter if one is serial rapist or a saint, it doesn't matter if one has wrong or right views, it doesn't matter if one is Buddhist or fundamentalist radical Muslim, the end would be the same and suicide could simply hasten nibbana.

Also even if one were to suffer continuously for 120 years, the cumulative suffering would not be even 1/trillionth of the cumulative suffering possible due to trillions or more of rebirths.

By denying the full amount of suffering, one is denying 1st NT. If the suffering is believed to be not that much (even 120 years of suffering is nothing compared to cumulative amount of suffering in rebirths), then it doesn't really make much sense and urgency to practice the path.

Why do we need the Buddha if we are guaranteed parinibbāna at death?
"Life is a struggle. Life will throw curveballs at you, it will humble you, it will attempt to break you down. And just when you think things are starting to look up, life will smack you back down with ruthless indifference..."

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Alex123
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Re: the great rebirth debate

Post by Alex123 » Fri Dec 17, 2010 11:06 pm

clw_uk wrote:I think this sutta is relevant to the discussion at hand

"But in the case of a well-taught noble disciple, O monks, when he is touched by a painful feeling, he will not worry nor grieve and lament, he will not beat his breast and weep, nor will he be distraught. It is one kind of feeling he experiences, a bodily one, but not a mental feeling. It is as if a man were pierced by a dart, but was not hit by a second dart following the first one. So this person experiences feelings caused by a single dart only. It is similar with a well-taught noble disciple: when touched by a painful feeling, he will no worry nor grieve and lament, he will not beat his breast and weep, nor will he be distraught. He experiences one single feeling, a bodily one.
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .nypo.html" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;


Seems obvious to me that one can be free from dukkha in the here and now and that physical pain does not have to be dukkha

Your sutta quote does refute your own position. A well taught noble disciple can feel a painful feeling dukkha vedanā. So this own quote tells us that even ariyasāvako can feel dukkha.

touched by a painful feeling = dukkhāya vedanāya phuṭṭho

Sutavā ca kho bhikkhave ariyasāvako dukkhāya vedanāya phuṭṭho samāno na socati na kilamati na paridevati na urattāḷiṃ kandati na sammohaṃ āpajjati: so ekaṃ vedanaṃ vediyati kāyikaṃ, na cetasikaṃ.
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... ml#pts.207" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
"Life is a struggle. Life will throw curveballs at you, it will humble you, it will attempt to break you down. And just when you think things are starting to look up, life will smack you back down with ruthless indifference..."

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Alex123
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Re: the great rebirth debate

Post by Alex123 » Fri Dec 17, 2010 11:12 pm

clw_uk wrote: Im sure "Buddhism" does, however the view of "after death I will be a dog" is not part of the Buddhas own teachings, rather something he made use of
You are right in the regard that there is no transmigrating "I". There is only a cause-effect stream that sometimes is conventionally called a dog, a man, a Deva, a Brahma, as hell being...

As for Hell, the Buddha has clearly stated that it was neither metaphor, nor belief on His part.
``Bhikkhus, I say this not hearing from another recluse or brahmin, this is what I have myself known and seen and so I say it."
http://metta.lk/tipitaka/2Sutta-Pitaka/ ... uta-e.html" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
"Life is a struggle. Life will throw curveballs at you, it will humble you, it will attempt to break you down. And just when you think things are starting to look up, life will smack you back down with ruthless indifference..."

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Re: the great rebirth debate

Post by Spiny O'Norman » Sat Dec 18, 2010 11:02 am

Alex123 wrote:Why do we need the Buddha if we are guaranteed parinibbāna at death?
To gain wisdom and to be liberated from suffering? Actually the answer would be the same whether one assumed one lifetime or a million lifetimes, I really can't see the relevance of the timescale or what difference it makes to how we practice. There is suffering and there is a path which leads to cessation of suffering.

Spiny

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