Rebirth in clasical theravada

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Re: Rebirth in clasical theravada

Post by Cittasanto » Fri Jun 12, 2009 1:18 am

Ben wrote:Hi Manapa

I think at this point I would recommend that you do those things which are germane to your practice. As my teacher says from time to time put to the side anything which at the moment appears unacceptable. In time, as a result of your practice, you will develop greater saddha in the Buddha's omniscience and teaching, as you will also develop penetrative insight into the nature of all things, including the question of rebirth.
Metta

Ben
Hi Ben
This question has nothing to do with my practice! I have no personal inquiry into rebirth, or the nature of things, I was curious as to the clasical view, due to another group where a similare thread is going on, and a person their seams to hold an almost mahayana Boddhisatva vow view of the importance of rebirth.
notice ehat the responce I responded to first second and third and how I responded!

EDIT - if it was personal I would of just joind in the great rebirth debate.
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Re: Rebirth in clasical theravada

Post by retrofuturist » Fri Jun 12, 2009 1:25 am

Greetings Manapa,
Manapa wrote:...due to another group where a similare thread is going on, and a person their seams to hold an almost mahayana Boddhisatva vow view of the importance of rebirth.
Any chance you could provide a link?

Metta,
Retro. :)
"Do not force others, including children, by any means whatsoever, to adopt your views, whether by authority, threat, money, propaganda, or even education." - Ven. Thich Nhat Hanh

"The uprooting of identity is seen by the noble ones as pleasurable; but this contradicts what the whole world sees." (Snp 3.12)

"One discerns wrong view as wrong view, and right view as right view. This is one's right view." (MN 117)

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Re: Rebirth in clasical theravada

Post by mikenz66 » Fri Jun 12, 2009 2:54 am

Hi Manapa,
Manapa wrote:But is it important to the path?
the unshakable belief that it actually happens, so much so that you go out looking for the evidence ie tulkus, or the stories that abound of children remembering their past lives.
is it that important to the path in the clasical sense?
I'm getting confused about what you are asking. Tulkas are irrelevant in Theravada.

And I really can't figure out what the Mahayana Bodhisattva vows have to do with it. Sorry...

You have had various quotes from various sources showing that in Classical Theravada there is simply no room for discussion about rebirth. It's part of the furniture, or structure if you like. Commentarial works such as the Visuddhimagga and so on define the whole idea of the path in terms of getting out of the round of rebirth, and describe the process in minute detail.

I'm starting to feel like someone who, on being asked if the electrical system is an integral part of an automobile points to the diagrams in manual that shows that there are wires going all over the place, and is then asked "but where does it say in the manual that the wiring is essential?"

Metta
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Re: Rebirth in clasical theravada

Post by kc2dpt » Fri Jun 12, 2009 3:00 am

Manapa wrote:But is it important to the path?
the unshakable belief that it actually happens, so much so that you go out looking for the evidence ie tulkus, or the stories that abound of children remembering their past lives.
is it that important to the path in the clasical sense?
It is part of Right View, which is part of the Noble Eightfold Path. That means it is important to adopt the view that it actually happens. What's important is how you act, and the Buddha recommends acting as if rebirth were true. What you believe is only relevant in as much as it influences how you act.

Taking steps to increase your belief, while perhaps helpful, is not actually necessary in my opinion.
- Peter

Be heedful and you will accomplish your goal.

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Re: Rebirth in clasical theravada

Post by retrofuturist » Fri Jun 12, 2009 3:07 am

Greetings,

What Peter says is well captured in...

MN 60: Apannaka Sutta
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

Metta,
Retro. :)
"Do not force others, including children, by any means whatsoever, to adopt your views, whether by authority, threat, money, propaganda, or even education." - Ven. Thich Nhat Hanh

"The uprooting of identity is seen by the noble ones as pleasurable; but this contradicts what the whole world sees." (Snp 3.12)

"One discerns wrong view as wrong view, and right view as right view. This is one's right view." (MN 117)

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Re: Rebirth in clasical theravada

Post by kc2dpt » Fri Jun 12, 2009 4:26 am

I was thinking of the Kalama Sutta, but that one's good too. :)
- Peter

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Re: Rebirth in clasical theravada

Post by jcsuperstar » Fri Jun 12, 2009 4:52 am

i cant think of any pre-20th century teaching mahyana or theravada that is a non literal rebirth teaching or doesnt include rebirth as a part of buddhism.
the earliest example ive read of rebirth as non literal was a transcription of a japanese zen teaching from around WW2 (i think, though it may have been later) that was originally broadcast on japanese radio. after that comes Buddhadasa, who was influenced by zen so..... :shrug:
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Re: Rebirth in clasical theravada

Post by Ben » Fri Jun 12, 2009 5:06 am

Thanks JC. We'll keep the current discussion focused on the Classical Theravada as per this sub-forum and the intent of the OP.
Kind regards

Ben
“No lists of things to be done. The day providential to itself. The hour. There is no later. This is later. All things of grace and beauty such that one holds them to one's heart have a common provenance in pain. Their birth in grief and ashes.”
- Cormac McCarthy, The Road

Learn this from the waters:
in mountain clefts and chasms,
loud gush the streamlets,
but great rivers flow silently.
- Sutta Nipata 3.725

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Re: Rebirth in clasical theravada

Post by Jechbi » Fri Jun 12, 2009 5:35 am

Dhammanando wrote:It is held to be an indispensible doctrine.
...
Kammic efficacy and rebirth are part of mundane right view. To reject or doubt rebirth is to suppose that there are some causes that don't yield effects – specifically, that there can be ignorance and craving that will not issue in further becoming. Those of such a view have not understood the conditionality of dhammas even at the intellectual/pariyatti level. To not understand this is to not understand the four noble truths, the three characteristics, or anything else that is of decisive importance in the development of paññā.
I appreciate Ven. Dhammanando's post and find myself in agreement with every word of it. In that context, I wonder ...
Peter wrote:... it is important to adopt the view that it actually happens.
... What is the classical Theravada position with regard to how one goes about adopting a view that might conflict with views one has had for a long time, perhaps even for many lifetimes? What is the method for adopting this right view?

To clarify this question, I can imagine a situation in which a person has stubborn kamma associated with the view that upon physical death, existence ceases. Or perhaps a person has a stubborn kamma habit associated with the view that upon physical death, an eternal soul continues. Neither of these is mundane right view, yet I can imagine how a person might hear the Dhamma, accept the 4nt and 8fold path to the best of her ability, aspire to practice ardently, yet still observe thoughts of doubt or skepticism popping into the mind with regard to the notion of post-mortem rebirth, due to this stubborn kamma habit.

I had thought that the correct method to address this type of phenomenon would be:
1) To recognize any such thoughts as not right view.
2) To continue with the practices of right speech, right action, right livelihood, right effort, right awareness, right concentration, right intention, and right view to the best of one's ability, recognizing that right view has not been perfected, and that in fact none of these practices has been perfected.
3) And as a result of applying all of these practices, right view will develop according to kamma.

In this respect, I tend to agree with the approach Ben suggests, namely, to set aside for the moment those views that one cannot bring oneself to accept, and to continue on with the rest of practice.

But I wonder if this approach is in line with classical Theravada thought, because an argument seems to be made that the correct method for adopting right view regarding rebirth is to simply accept it, regardless of whether one believes it. To me that seems like putting the cart before the horse, although I stand to be corrected.

What is the classical Theravada position with regard to the correct method for changing one's mundane wrong views regarding rebirth? Or for that matter regarding any other subject?
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Re: Rebirth in clasical theravada

Post by Ben » Fri Jun 12, 2009 5:42 am

Hi Jechbi

Have a look at the following:
MN 60: Apannaka Sutta: The Incontrovertible Teaching
and...
MN 74: Dighanakha Sutta: To Dighanakha

These probably represent the tip of the iceberg but they are two I have been reading today.

If you don't have Ven Bodhi's translation, please let me know and I'll transcribe the notes.
Metta

Ben
“No lists of things to be done. The day providential to itself. The hour. There is no later. This is later. All things of grace and beauty such that one holds them to one's heart have a common provenance in pain. Their birth in grief and ashes.”
- Cormac McCarthy, The Road

Learn this from the waters:
in mountain clefts and chasms,
loud gush the streamlets,
but great rivers flow silently.
- Sutta Nipata 3.725

Compassionate Hands Foundation (Buddhist aid in Myanmar) • Buddhist Global ReliefUNHCR

e: ben.dhammawheel@gmail.com..

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Re: Rebirth in clasical theravada

Post by mikenz66 » Fri Jun 12, 2009 6:03 am

Jechbi wrote: In this respect, I tend to agree with the approach Ben suggests, namely, to set aside for the moment those views that one cannot bring oneself to accept, and to continue on with the rest of practice.

But I wonder if this approach is in line with classical Theravada thought, because an argument seems to be made that the correct method for adopting right view regarding rebirth is to simply accept it, regardless of whether one believes it. To me that seems like putting the cart before the horse, although I stand to be corrected.
If you look at the various Suttas, such as the ones that Ben mentions, it seems clear that the Buddha taught different things to different people, depending on what stage they were at. So if you take that as a model you'd have to say that someone who did could not accept Right View should be reading suttas such as
SN3.15: The simile of the mountains
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
"I inform you, great king, I announce to you, great king: aging and death are rolling in on you. When aging and death are rolling in on you, great king, what should be done?"

"As aging and death are rolling in on me, lord, what else should be done but Dhamma-conduct, right conduct, skillful deeds, meritorious deeds?
On a slightly different tack:
I'll need to search for the exact reference, but I recall that there is a warning in the Commentary to at least one of the Suttas in the Samyutta Nikaya that attempting to develop insight without establishing Right View will cause problems (falling into nihilism, as I recall).

Metta
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Re: Rebirth in clasical theravada

Post by Jechbi » Fri Jun 12, 2009 7:08 am

mikenz66 wrote:... attempting to develop insight without establishing Right View will cause problems (falling into nihilism, as I recall).
If right view and right thought are wholly encompassed by paññā, which I think is the classical Theravada position, then how can right view be established without insight?
Rain soddens what is kept wrapped up,
But never soddens what is open;
Uncover, then, what is concealed,
Lest it be soddened by the rain.

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Re: Rebirth in clasical theravada

Post by mikenz66 » Fri Jun 12, 2009 7:23 am

Jechbi wrote:
mikenz66 wrote:... attempting to develop insight without establishing Right View will cause problems (falling into nihilism, as I recall).
If right view and right thought are wholly encompassed by paññā, which I think is the classical Theravada position, then how can right view be established without insight?
I'm sorry, I've spent a little while thumbing through the notes to the SN, but I can't find the passage. Maybe I'm misremembering it, and it's in the Visuddhimagga, so perhaps I'd better start on that...

As Ven Dhammanando says above, we're talking about two different types of Right View, the mundane (accepting kamma, rebirth, etc) and the suppramundane Right View of an Ariya. The second, of course, requires insight.

Mike

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Re: Rebirth in clasical theravada

Post by Cittasanto » Fri Jun 12, 2009 11:22 am

retrofuturist wrote:Greetings Manapa,
Manapa wrote:...due to another group where a similare thread is going on, and a person their seams to hold an almost mahayana Boddhisatva vow view of the importance of rebirth.
Any chance you could provide a link?

Metta,
Retro. :)
It is a private group so I cant unfortunately.
Blog, Suttas, Aj Chah, Facebook.

He who knows only his own side of the case knows little of that. His reasons may be good, and no one may have been able to refute them.
But if he is equally unable to refute the reasons on the opposite side, if he does not so much as know what they are, he has no ground for preferring either opinion …
...
He must be able to hear them from persons who actually believe them … he must know them in their most plausible and persuasive form.
John Stuart Mill

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Re: Rebirth in clasical theravada

Post by retrofuturist » Fri Jun 12, 2009 11:27 am

Greetings Manapa,

No problems... I was hoping it might provide some context, but that's okay.

Metta,
Retro. :)
"Do not force others, including children, by any means whatsoever, to adopt your views, whether by authority, threat, money, propaganda, or even education." - Ven. Thich Nhat Hanh

"The uprooting of identity is seen by the noble ones as pleasurable; but this contradicts what the whole world sees." (Snp 3.12)

"One discerns wrong view as wrong view, and right view as right view. This is one's right view." (MN 117)

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