I agree that the audience is vast. I understand that the macro perspective could have its uses and I would fully support that if I did not see far too much of the huge amount of time it causes people to invest in small matters of merit (like whether it is safe to throw away a badly written book on Buddhism when it contains bits of actual Buddhavacana in it) rather than focus on what the Buddha was actually teaching -- skills to see cause and effect accurately and first-hand.Prasadachitta wrote: In my opinion we can enter into a relatively less "fuzzy" understanding of D.O. from either a macro or a micro perspective. Either way the notions and impressions which make up these perspectives occur in the here and now. I think that actively denying models put forth by the Buddha just because they have not helped me to understand, would be self centered and foolish. The Buddha set forth the Dhamma for the good and welfare of all beings. The "audience" is vast.
I would support the macro-literal-rebirth view as being a useful teaching tool if I did not find volumes and volumes being written debating whether there could be rebirth or not, rather than focusing on practice. It was undoubtedly a good teaching tool when it was the default belief system. I find that Westerners who do not have rebirth as their native view spend a great deal of time and effort trying to understand and adopt it, time that would be far better spent on understanding what the Buddha is saying at the core about how we create our false sense of self. With dependent origination, the Buddha is saying something very precise about where that "self" originates, how we create it, and why we should be doing something about it, and that is being obscured by efforts to get people to adopt a world-view that is not natural to them. A world view that they will have to let go of to be liberated unless it becomes evident through their practice to be a truth.
And here's the problem: If it is a truth that practice reveals, then sincere and dedicated practice will reveal it *regardless of whether a person believed it or not when they had no evidence*. Whereas, if it turns out to have been a virtual representation of truth (which is what I am saying it is) and people have invested a lot of time in learning to believe in it as a cosmic order, on little or no evidence, and they have to let go of that belief to be liberated -- we have then hindered their progress on the path by teaching them how to believe in things without good evidence.
This is my own Safe Bet: that it is better to stick to what the Buddha teaches about basing our choices on causes and effects that we have seen for ourselves with certainty, than to learn to believe in things unseen -- things that will reveal themselves if true, but are a bear to let go of once adopted if not true.
Now, if any of our sangha members have personal, first-hand experience of rebirth, or of directly seeing the rising and passing away of beings according to their actions, then they should certainly tell us about that and teach it as a fact they have experienced. I'm all for that. But otherwise, I follow the Buddha's injunction that we should not be talking about things we have not, ourselves, experienced.
The Buddha's system works fine without belief in literal rebirth, but I recognize that it is difficult to see that if one has never practiced the Buddha's path without having or working on belief in literal rebirth. One has to trust the Buddha a lot to let go of beliefs entirely and just see where the path leads then.