the great rebirth debate

A discussion on all aspects of Theravāda Buddhism
User avatar
ancientbuddhism
Posts: 884
Joined: Fri Apr 01, 2011 12:53 pm
Location: Cyberia

Re: the great rebirth debate

Post by ancientbuddhism » Tue Aug 09, 2011 2:30 pm

Hi kirk5a, Alex123 et al,

I really don’t know what to say at this point to you or others who choose to respond with specious arguments with the agnostic premise to what is a direct question of what are practicable essentials?.These responses are so disconnected from the question in its context that a this/that reply is not possible without further digression. As unfortunate as this seems, it really does not matter; such are the conditions which give rise to self and views.

For those who can understand, I have no quarrel with what is in the early texts, or anyone else, which give voice to the life-to-life rebirth myth. I am fortunate, quite by accident perhaps, that my Ajahns gave me rather simple contemplative instruction ‘kesā lomā nakhā dantā taco…’ which are easy enough to understand and put into practice, and otherwise I am simply content to also practice any tenets of Dhamma which endow the results of contemplative endeavor, readily evident; just as others may choose contemplative ‘Traditions’ – whether they be LP Teean, Mahāsi, Goenka, khun Sujin, Wat Phra Dhammakāya or the TFT – teachers who can be just as radical if not more so with their arbitrary selection what part of the 8-fold Path is practicable – as any natural agnostic.
I say, beware of all enterprises that require new clothes, and not rather a new wearer of clothes.” – Henry David Thoreau, Walden, 1854

Secure your own mask before assisting others. – NORTHWEST AIRLINES (Pre-Flight Instruction)

A Handful of Leaves

chownah
Posts: 7533
Joined: Wed Aug 12, 2009 2:19 pm

Re: Is hell and hungry ghost realm to be taken literally?

Post by chownah » Tue Aug 09, 2011 2:36 pm

Bhikkhu Pesala wrote:
chownah wrote:It seems that the "wise man" is not indulging in views....is this how you see the "wise man"?
The way that I see it is that the wise man knows that he does not know, so he steers a safe and pragmatic course. The Sutta makes it clear what the Buddha's view was:
“Since there is another world, one who holds the view that there is not holds a wrong view. Since there is another world, one who thinks that there is not has wrong thoughts. Since there is another world, one who says there is not uses wrong speech and is opposed to those Arahants who know there is another world. One who convinces another to accept this untrue Dhamma praises himself and disparages others, thus any former morality he had is abandoned and replaced with bad conduct. All of these various unwholesome things — wrong thought, wrong speech and so forth — have wrong view as their origin.”
Bhikkhu Pesala,
Do you think that "another world" as the Buddha is using it fits into the guidelines of "the world" as the Buddha explains in the Loca Sutta?...it seems to me that "another world" seems to be a very generic concept and does not seem to point in any particular direction...if the Buddha had meant hell I guess he would have said so but maybe not....
chownah

User avatar
Alex123
Posts: 3476
Joined: Wed Mar 10, 2010 11:32 pm

Re: the great rebirth debate

Post by Alex123 » Tue Aug 09, 2011 2:42 pm

Hello Ancientbuddhism,

Of course one may believe what one wants. What I don't approve of is the projecting of one's beliefs onto the Suttas.
One of the ways that one projects one's beliefs or doubts is to interpret clear message in such a way to mean what one wants it to mean that it affirms one's beliefs.


"Myth of rebirth in the early texts notwithstanding – do the teachings of the Buddha stand or fail based on whether one believes in what cannot be reached by living experience? With the myth of rebirth aside I do not see a mere system of ethics, mere petty morality, but a way of living with an analysis of experience which can be put into practice with evident progression." http://www.dhammawheel.com/viewtopic.ph ... fc#p142808" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

How do you know that rebirth is a myth? Why not Nibbāna being a myth? Have you personally seen it? Have you seen an Arahant?
"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..."

User avatar
Aloka
Posts: 5794
Joined: Wed Jan 21, 2009 2:51 pm

Re: Is hell and hungry ghost realm to be taken literally?

Post by Aloka » Tue Aug 09, 2011 2:43 pm

Alex123 wrote:Hi Aloka,
Aloka wrote:
Zom wrote:Thinking that heavens and hells should not be taken "literally" - is the Wrong View.
Unless you can show them to me Zom, then in my own view its all purely speculative and has no connection to my practice here and now.
And who can show you Nibbāna? Have you personally and directly seen it? So how isn't that speculative to you?
Have you personally seen an Arahant, for example? Are you sure you weren't mistaken? So do we reject Arhatship then as mere speculation? (same with other stages).

Is what is said in the Suttas speculative unless it was verified by you? Do we consider our own beliefs to be preferable to suttas?
Alex123

What are you talking about? Did I mention Nibbana or Arahants?

Also, no offence meant, but I'd prefer not to engage with your extremist attack style.

Relax... breathe .... be happy ! The sun is shining here -does it shine for you?

.

User avatar
daverupa
Posts: 5980
Joined: Mon Jan 31, 2011 6:58 pm

Re: Is hell and hungry ghost realm to be taken literally?

Post by daverupa » Tue Aug 09, 2011 2:45 pm

santa100 wrote:
From Apannaka Sutta:
“Since there is another world, one who holds the view that there is not holds a wrong view. Since there is another world, one who thinks that there is not has wrong thoughts. Since there is another world, one who says there is not uses wrong speech and is opposed to those Arahants who know there is another world. One who convinces another to accept this untrue Dhamma praises himself and disparages others, thus any former morality he had is abandoned and replaced with bad conduct. All of these various unwholesome things — wrong thought, wrong speech and so forth — have wrong view as their origin.”
Well, for the no-rebirth/no-other-world/all-a-myth/all-speculative camp, if you're confident that you can continue your training without the risk of falling into wrong thought, wrong speech, wrong action, etc. then carry on, wishing you all the best. Just be aware that the odds are stacking up against you. The words above were from the Great Teacher. You heard Him...
MN 117 wrote:"And what is right view? Right view, I tell you, is of two sorts: There is right view with effluents [asava], siding with merit, resulting in the acquisitions [of becoming]; and there is noble right view, without effluents, transcendent, a factor of the path.

"And what is the right view that has effluents, sides with merit, & results in acquisitions? 'There is what is given, what is offered, what is sacrificed. There are fruits & results of good & bad actions. There is this world & the next world. There is mother & father. There are spontaneously reborn beings; there are priests & contemplatives who, faring rightly & practicing rightly, proclaim this world & the next after having directly known & realized it for themselves.' This is the right view that has effluents, sides with merit, & results in acquisitions."
This is the right view of the Apannaka Sutta which was preached to a brahmin village.
MN 117 wrote:"And what is the right view that is without effluents, transcendent, a factor of the path? The discernment, the faculty of discernment, the strength of discernment, analysis of qualities as a factor for Awakening, the path factor of right view of one developing the noble path whose mind is noble, whose mind is free from effluents, who is fully possessed of the noble path. This is the right view that is without effluents, transcendent, a factor of the path.
This is the right view preached to the monastic sangha.

Why this difference? Is it a matter of the audience? It certainly seems important. After all, "the words above were from the Great Teacher. You heard Him."

It seems certain brahmins were taught a morality argued for with a version of Pascal's Wager, while the monastic sangha was taught to nevermind all that effluent, acquisitive merit in favor of the noble path - and nowhere therein is 'the next world' an essential teaching.

Cling to views of this world and the next like a brahmin, or set it aside in favor of Dhamma practice.

:meditate:
Last edited by daverupa on Tue Aug 09, 2011 2:55 pm, edited 1 time in total.
  • "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]

User avatar
Alex123
Posts: 3476
Joined: Wed Mar 10, 2010 11:32 pm

Re: Is hell and hungry ghost realm to be taken literally?

Post by Alex123 » Tue Aug 09, 2011 2:50 pm

chownah wrote: Do you think that "another world" as the Buddha is using it fits into the guidelines of "the world" as the Buddha explains in the Loca Sutta?...it seems to me that "another world" seems to be a very generic concept and does not seem to point in any particular direction...if the Buddha had meant hell I guess he would have said so but maybe not....
chownah
Both hell and heaven are made of sense-spheres, khandhas and elements.
Another world does point to where one goes AFTER death described as with the break-up of the body, after death.

The Buddha has clearly said this about the body:
"These beings — who were endowed with bad conduct of body, speech, & mind, who reviled the noble ones, held wrong views and undertook actions under the influence of wrong views — with the break-up of the body, after death, have re-appeared in the plane of deprivation, the bad destination, the lower realms, in hell."
=======
""Furthermore, the monk reflects on this very body from the soles of the feet on up, from the crown of the head on down, surrounded by skin and full of various kinds of unclean things: 'In this body there are head hairs, body hairs, nails, teeth, skin, flesh, tendons, bones, bone marrow, kidneys, heart, liver, pleura, spleen, lungs, large intestines, small intestines, gorge, feces, bile, phlegm, pus, blood, sweat, fat, tears, skin-oil, saliva, mucus, fluid in the joints, urine.'
...
"Furthermore, the monk contemplates this very body — however it stands, however it is disposed — in terms of properties: 'In this body there is the earth property, the liquid property, the fire property, & the wind property.'

"Furthermore, as if he were to see a corpse cast away in a charnel ground — one day, two days, three days dead — bloated, livid, & festering, he applies it to this very body, 'This body, too: Such is its nature, such is its future, such its unavoidable fate'..." - MN119
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.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..."

User avatar
Alex123
Posts: 3476
Joined: Wed Mar 10, 2010 11:32 pm

Re: Is hell and hungry ghost realm to be taken literally?

Post by Alex123 » Tue Aug 09, 2011 2:57 pm

Aloka wrote: Alex123
What are you talking about? Did I mention Nibbana or Arahants?
What I mean is that if one is to doubt rebirth merely because one has not seen it and Science cannot prove it, then why not deny other things that one has not seen and Science cannot prove such as: Nibbāna, Arhatship, etc?

Why be selective in what aspects of the suttas one accepts and what denies?
"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..."

chownah
Posts: 7533
Joined: Wed Aug 12, 2009 2:19 pm

Re: Is hell and hungry ghost realm to be taken literally?

Post by chownah » Tue Aug 09, 2011 3:05 pm

Alex123 wrote:Chownah,
chownah wrote:
Bhikkhu Pesala wrote:Please see The Incontrovertible Discourse from the Majjhimanikāya.
Bhikkhu Pesala,
In this story the "wise man" does not take the view that "another world" exists nor does he take the view that "another world" does not exist. It seems that if the "wise man" has had some experience suggesting that "another world" exists then he is not formulating views based on that experience...and if the "wise man" has not had some experience of "another world" then he is not formulationg views based on that lack of experience....it seems that the "wise man" is not indulging in views....is this how you see the "wise man"?
chownah
So, before directly seeing Nibbāna, is it a view because that person hasn't yet had the experience suggesting that Nibbāna exists?
So do we reject it then because it is "a view" of which a person had no experience?
Yes, every thought we have about Nibbana is a view so in that respect if the word "nibbana" arises it does so as a view in that it has not been experienced...in fact can not be experienced...Nibbana is not an experience....anything we say is conjecture...just views.

Since Nibbana is not a thing I don't think it is appropriate to think in terms of rejecting it...if you are talking about rejecting our views surrounding the word "nibbana" then I think it is better to think in terms of refining our views surroundig that word....I guess that in a certain way views get refined from having residue toward having no residue....and the ultimately perhaps the residue disappears completely and this is nibbana although this is just my view and so is assuredly incorrect....and should be dropped...or refined....
Alex123 wrote: If one hasn't personally seen an Arhat, does that mean that it is a view that Arhats exist - and we need to reject it?
etc, etc.
Yes, if one has not experienced an arhat then all that one can have in relationship to the word "arhat" is views...again, perhaps thinking in terms of refining is better than rejecting...it is best to see that the ideas are views...I think this is part of "seeing things as they are"....but I'm not sure if my interpretation of this is kosher Theravadan or not....
Alex123 wrote: Reading the complete Sutta-Pitaka, is there any reasonable basis to conclude that Buddha taught "one life only", and "rebirth as mental states in this life only"? Was Buddha such an incapable teacher who couldn't clearly say that after one-life it is over?
Unless you want to label anyone who disagrees with you on this as being "unreasonable" then I guess there obviously is a reasonable basis for the conclusion......I think that the most reasonable thing is for those who have had experience and thus belief to declare that they have had this or that experience and as a result they have belief...or for someone who has had no experience but believes it for some other reason to declare that they have not had experience but do believe based on these other factors (faith, logic, following a leader, etc....or even a "don't know why")...or for someone who has had no experience and who does not believe to declare that they have had no experience and have no active belief but that it is possible that in the future they will have an experience or some other factor may arise which will give rise to a belief. I think this is called "guarding the truth"........we all have beliefs based on experience (or lack thereof)....if you don't try to invalidate my experience I won't try to invalidate yours...
chownah

User avatar
Alex123
Posts: 3476
Joined: Wed Mar 10, 2010 11:32 pm

Re: Is hell and hungry ghost realm to be taken literally?

Post by Alex123 » Tue Aug 09, 2011 3:09 pm

daverupa wrote: and nowhere therein is 'the next world' an essential teaching.
And to hold that "there is no next world" is wrong view. Furthermore, the 4NT do include rebirth.


"Now what, friends, is the noble truth of stress? Birth is stressful, aging is stressful, death is stressful; sorrow, lamentation, pain, distress, & despair are stressful; not getting what is wanted is stressful.[2] In short, the five clinging-aggregates are stressful."

Please guess what "not getting what is wanted is stressful" means?

""And what is the stress of not getting what is wanted? In beings subject to birth, the wish arises, 'O, may we not be subject to birth, and may birth not come to us.' But this is not to be achieved by wanting. ..."

If there was one-life, it would be pointless trying to stop birth and all the dukkha that it will bring again, so this question would not even make sense. How can you stop what will not occur (if there is only one life)? Also if death will happen only once, then why such a big deal about stopping it which is impossible, if there was one life only?

"And what is birth? Whatever birth, taking birth, descent, coming-to-be, coming-forth, appearance of aggregates, & acquisition of [sense] spheres of the various beings in this or that group of beings, that is called birth."
[Mara:]
Why don't you approve of birth? Once born, one enjoys sensual pleasures. Who now has persuaded you of this: 'Bhikkhuni, don't approve of birth'?

[Cala:]
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 He has settled me in the truth.
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .bodh.html" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
""And what is death? Whatever deceasing, passing away, breaking up, disappearance, dying, death, completion of time, break up of the aggregates, casting off of the body, interruption in the life faculty of the various beings in this or that group of beings, that is called death."

""And what, friends, is the noble truth of the origination of stress? The craving that makes for further becoming (ponobhavikā) ..."
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
ponobhavikā= leading to rebirth.

Please note that 2nd NT is about craving that leads to rebirth! Not some psychological "I wanted this car, but the stock market crashed and now I am poor" sort of thing.

So even within 4NT, it is heavy about rebirth, its perils and stopping it.
chownah wrote:
Unless you want to label anyone who disagrees with you on this as being "unreasonable" then I guess there obviously is a reasonable basis for the conclusion.
It is unreasonable to insist that He in that context meant something different so that the entire message would be changed.
The Buddha was clear about what He meant by the body.


""Furthermore, the monk reflects on this very body from the soles of the feet on up, from the crown of the head on down, surrounded by skin and full of various kinds of unclean things: 'In this body there are head hairs, body hairs, nails, teeth, skin, flesh, tendons, bones, bone marrow, kidneys, heart, liver, pleura, spleen, lungs, large intestines, small intestines, gorge, feces, bile, phlegm, pus, blood, sweat, fat, tears, skin-oil, saliva, mucus, fluid in the joints, urine.'
...
"Furthermore, the monk contemplates this very body — however it stands, however it is disposed — in terms of properties: 'In this body there is the earth property, the liquid property, the fire property, & the wind property.'

"Furthermore, as if he were to see a corpse cast away in a charnel ground — one day, two days, three days dead — bloated, livid, & festering, he applies it to this very body, 'This body, too: Such is its nature, such is its future, such its unavoidable fate'...
" - MN119
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

"And how is a monk content? Just as a bird, wherever it goes, flies with its wings as its only burden; so too is he content with a set of robes to provide for his body and almsfood to provide for his hunger. Wherever he goes, he takes only his barest necessities along. This is how a monk is content.
...
"'This body of mine is endowed with form, composed of the four primary elements, born from mother and father, nourished with rice and porridge, subject to inconstancy, rubbing, pressing, dissolution, and dispersion.

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


So whenever the Buddha has said: "with the break-up of the body, after death, have re-appeared in" why is the meaning of the body is suddenly something other than the way the Buddha has defined the body? He certainly didn't give a new interpretation of "the body" in passages about death and rebirth.
"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..."

santa100
Posts: 3117
Joined: Fri Jun 10, 2011 10:55 pm

Re: Is hell and hungry ghost realm to be taken literally?

Post by santa100 » Tue Aug 09, 2011 4:18 pm

Daverupa wrote:
MN 117 wrote:
"And what is the right view that is without effluents, transcendent, a factor of the path? The discernment, the faculty of discernment, the strength of discernment, analysis of qualities as a factor for Awakening, the path factor of right view of one developing the noble path whose mind is noble, whose mind is free from effluents, who is fully possessed of the noble path. This is the right view that is without effluents, transcendent, a factor of the path"

Thank you for the ref. for it definitely clarifies the huge contrast between a noble mind, one that "is free from effluents and fully possessed of the noble path" versus one that flatly rejects rebirth and other world.

PeterB
Posts: 3909
Joined: Tue Feb 17, 2009 12:35 pm

Re: Is hell and hungry ghost realm to be taken literally?

Post by PeterB » Tue Aug 09, 2011 4:28 pm

santa100 wrote:Daverupa wrote:
MN 117 wrote:
"And what is the right view that is without effluents, transcendent, a factor of the path? The discernment, the faculty of discernment, the strength of discernment, analysis of qualities as a factor for Awakening, the path factor of right view of one developing the noble path whose mind is noble, whose mind is free from effluents, who is fully possessed of the noble path. This is the right view that is without effluents, transcendent, a factor of the path"

Thank you for the ref. for it definitely clarifies the huge contrast between a noble mind, one that "is free from effluents and fully possessed of the noble path" versus one that flatly rejects rebirth and other world.
It does no such thing.

User avatar
daverupa
Posts: 5980
Joined: Mon Jan 31, 2011 6:58 pm

Re: Is hell and hungry ghost realm to be taken literally?

Post by daverupa » Tue Aug 09, 2011 4:34 pm

santa100 wrote:Thank you for the ref. for it definitely clarifies the huge contrast between a noble mind, one that "is free from effluents and fully possessed of the noble path" versus one that flatly accepts rebirth and other world.
Fixed.

Please note that my insistence "it isn't an essential component of Dhamma practice" is not at all saying "the very notion is to be rejected". It can only be sloppy thinking that makes such a jump. It is obvious the Buddha spoke of rebirth, that he spoke of this world and the next. This cannot be disputed at all by anyone who's read the Suttas for themselves.

Yet nowhere is it described as part of the Dhamma. Nowhere is the alleged fact of it touted as essential to accept in order to make progress. Proof of it comes as a result of meditation practice for some, and even then it is just another psychic event with no special value. A monk sitting on a hilltop and directly watching rebirth is ridiculed as wasting his time. These views are, at best, right view with effluents.
"And what, friends, is the noble truth of the origination of stress? The craving that makes for further becoming — accompanied by passion & delight, relishing now here & now there — i.e., craving for sensuality, craving for becoming, craving for non-becoming."
"Rebirth is false!" shriek some who do not know and see for themselves, and thereby craving for non-becoming is observed. "Rebirth is true!" shriek others who do not know and see for themselves, and thereby craving for becoming is observed.

:shrug:
  • "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]

santa100
Posts: 3117
Joined: Fri Jun 10, 2011 10:55 pm

Re: Is hell and hungry ghost realm to be taken literally?

Post by santa100 » Tue Aug 09, 2011 4:50 pm

Daverupa wrote:
santa100 wrote:
Thank you for the ref. for it definitely clarifies the huge contrast between a noble mind, one that "is free from effluents and fully possessed of the noble path" versus one that flatly accepts rebirth and other world.

Fixed.
Sure. Also, after re-visiting our previous posts and you spot anyone who just "flatly accepts" rebirth here without reason, logic, or ref. from the Suttas, please point it out.

santa100
Posts: 3117
Joined: Fri Jun 10, 2011 10:55 pm

Re: Is hell and hungry ghost realm to be taken literally?

Post by santa100 » Tue Aug 09, 2011 5:10 pm

Daverupa wrote:
It can only be sloppy thinking that makes such a jump.
I did not make any jump. I simply clarified my position and the exact target audience. Obviously your statement is the strongest evident of a mind still "not free from effluent". How then do you expect anyone to just jump straight into MN 117 and start practicing that "completely free of all views" approach that you advocated? That's why the Buddha taught us in steps using MN 60. Hey, the baby gotta drink milk before it grows teeth to eat solid food. Food is food, but if taken at the wrong time and wrong place, it will kill you. Plain and simple..

User avatar
Aloka
Posts: 5794
Joined: Wed Jan 21, 2009 2:51 pm

Re: Is hell and hungry ghost realm to be taken literally?

Post by Aloka » Tue Aug 09, 2011 5:37 pm

Alex123 wrote:
Aloka wrote: Alex123
What are you talking about? Did I mention Nibbana or Arahants?
What I mean is that if one is to doubt rebirth merely because one has not seen it and Science cannot prove it, then why not deny other things that one has not seen and Science cannot prove such as: Nibbāna, Arhatship, etc?

Why be selective in what aspects of the suttas one accepts and what denies?
Speculative papanca Alex---- and look, I can shout in huge font too ! :D

Post Reply

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: atipattoh and 104 guests