the great rebirth debate

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

Post by robertk » Sat Dec 15, 2012 7:01 am

I merged the 'rebirth' and 'hell and hungry ghosts' topics as arguments on both sides are similar.

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

Post by alan... » Sat Dec 15, 2012 7:37 am

Papashaw wrote:
alan... wrote:
Papashaw wrote:I feel a lot of compassion for beings in hell if there was a place, the torture wouldn't hurt as much as the boredom of being there for a 10,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000..... years.

I feel strong fury whenever i see someone hurt anyone in this world. If I were to encounter hell as a observer I would be extremely driven to any sort of action possible, I would stand between a torturer and a hellbeing and refuse to even move. I understand actions sends someone to a lower place for a disproportionate time, but it should not be that way. Yama is so easily mistaken for some torturer god willing to please himself and his minions with the sights of horrible cruel slasher movie scenes. :stirthepot:

The attitude i notice here is that of "Oh sucks for that guy, lucky I found buddhism" instead of strong sympathy or pity if somewhere to go to a lower realm. In tibetan buddhism prayers are said for those in the lower realms to relieve their suffering, I guess in theravada though if someone ends up there they are fudged and worth forgetting as they have their intestine ripped out and blood fried longer than they have lived as a human.

Oh i feel so much passion, I must let go of it and not indulge it. I am spouting drivel for provoking other peoples replies to my views to better understand what is right and wrong. This must be the last time.

I do not see how even killing a single parent is equal to being in avici for 10^18 years having your skin burned and torn apart for a trillion trillion trillion years, I know my father or mother would forgive me but karma is blind and unfair, it is the way it is.

ever heard of dizang (ksitigarbha)? sounds like something you would like :smile:
I did some reading, perhaps i should drop by dharmawheel.com sometime.

The compassion of mahayana vs the cold bitter realism of theravada... to take attributes from both and combine them in my beliefs would be spineless unlike choosing a path, oh what do to.

I would still feel pity for all suffering beings especially since trillions of years of torture is still to much even for Stalin or Hitler by my westernized humanistic mindset, its an unfair law that i cant believe some see with satisfaction.

(ex."oh she killed her sexually abusive father, off to avici for 1 billion kalpas her lolololo!!!!" :strawman: :strawman: :strawman: but the rapist father who killed 1000000000 kittens only gets 1/100000000 of the time in hell in another place for perversion or he is born as a cow. :strawman: :strawman: :strawman: :strawman: )

Stupid sarcastic example yes, but I can't think of another way to get across my thoughts, may I know the truth someday!

spineless? far from it. what i do is work from the pali canon as my base and use whatever else i choose as long as it does not conflict with the buddhas teachings as recorded in the canon. or you can spin it however you want! i feel it's more reasonable to pick a base to work from, otherwise things can get very confusing and conflicting.

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

Post by Dinsdale » Sat Dec 15, 2012 2:25 pm

BlueLotus wrote: Personally for me, coming from a Mahayana background to Thai forest teachings which focus on the moment is a breath of fresh air.
I can remember feeling something similar when I began practising Zen Buddhism after a long period as a Tibetan Buddhist.
Buddha save me from new-agers!

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

Post by Dinsdale » Sat Dec 15, 2012 2:28 pm

daverupa wrote:"Creeping Brahmanism", composite suttas, and other hypotheses of deviation from earlier canonical collections have roughly a century to act, but it's fairly speculative stuff at that point... useful to bear in mind, useless to make hard and fast conclusions. I'm a fan of some hypotheses with respect to all this, but to say only they are true... well, it's no good.
Yes, these uncertainties exist, at least in the minds of some scholars. But on balance of probabalities, do you think the suttas are a reasonable approximation of what the Buddha taught?
Buddha save me from new-agers!

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

Post by daverupa » Sat Dec 15, 2012 2:44 pm

porpoise wrote:But on balance of probabalities, do you think the suttas are a reasonable approximation of what the Buddha taught?
Well, I can't answer this question in a simple way because "the suttas" is fairly broad. I would want to examine the question in terms of each Nikaya, as well as in terms of certain topics which seem to be late additions (formless attainments, cessation of perception and feeling, and pertinent here, the chronological development of "this world & the next" --> various realms (not always six) --> the many deva realms and the developed cosmology, and so on - none of this springs full-formed from the texts, but instead a development can be discerned).

In general, two things: it doesn't seem to be the case that what the Buddha taught was changed; it does seem to be the case that the Buddha is said to have said more than he probably actually said. It might be worth a new thread.
  • "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]

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

Post by BlueLotus » Sat Dec 15, 2012 5:59 pm

tiltbillings wrote:You read Pali? If you do, you will know that it is a highly idiomatic language. What do think "paraloka"is an idiom for?
Nope. I have a friend here who reads pali and quite familiar with suttas. What is "paraloka" an idiom for by the way?
tiltbillings wrote:If it is right view, it leadsto nibbana, and and as an unawaened individual "right view is with effluents" is exactly where you start from.
This is one way of looking at it. Anyone can read the sutta and say "No that is right view with effluents. A view which encourage effluents does not lead to dispassion. Therefore the noble right view does not include any such views on other worlds".

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

Post by BlueLotus » Sat Dec 15, 2012 6:12 pm

tiltbillings wrote: This debate is a modern thing, not a traditional thing.
Doesn't make it right just because it is the established view. As I said, once upon a time people thought the world was flat. I am not denying it but pointing out why your argument is not solid.
tiltbillings wrote: You do not have to believe that rebirth is true. That is your choice, but literal rebirth is an integral part of the Buddha's teachings, as the suttas show.
Yea I think it is an integral part. Rebirth sure appears a lot in suttas. Still belief in it is not a necessity to one's practice.
tiltbillings wrote: And being very much within the framework of traditional Buddha-Dhamma, all that stuff is there in the Thai forest tradition. You might want to read the biography of Ajahn Mun sometime. You do not have to believe in those things to practice, but you cannot meaningfully re-frame the teachings to say that those things are not part of the teachings.
I have been following forest tradition teachers for almost a year before moving to Thailand and then to Sri Lanka. Most of these teachers emphasis on the present moment and the current life. Most of them do not give over-emphasis to the rest. Overall message is it is fine to set them aside.

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

Post by BlueLotus » Sat Dec 15, 2012 6:35 pm

Ñāṇa wrote: There is no possibility of attaining stream entry while holding a wrong view. And denying the existence of the next world is a wrong view.
So what you saying is anyone who doesn't believe in rebirth is unable to attain even stream entry leave aside nibbana. Is that right? Basically, any Buddhist who doesn't believe in rebirth is practicing in vain? So your suggestion is "either believe in it or no nibbana for you". Sounds pretty "Islamic fundie" to me. If Buddha really taught dhamma this way then he would have been not much better than the bible or the Quran. :tongue:
Ñāṇa wrote: the whims of your own head-trip
For someone who is a step ahead in the right view to nibbana, you do throw out an awful lot of personally insulting remarks and ridicule to others opinions don't you think. lolz.

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

Post by Nyana » Sat Dec 15, 2012 6:45 pm

BlueLotus wrote:
Ñāṇa wrote: There is no possibility of attaining stream entry while holding a wrong view. And denying the existence of the next world is a wrong view.
So what you saying is anyone who doesn't believe in rebirth is unable to attain even stream entry leave aside nibbana. Is that right?
It's what the suttas and every Buddhist tradition says.

There are a couple of ways of working with skepticism about rebirth:

(1) acknowledge that rebirth is an integral part of the teachings while recognizing that the teachings on rebirth don't resonate with oneself at this time and setting them aside so as to practice other aspects of the Buddha's teaching to the best of one's abilities, or

(2) dismiss the teachings on rebirth and attempt to reinterpret the entire Buddhist tradition without reference to it, asserting that the teachings on rebirth are not important.

The first approach is actually recommended to skeptics in the suttas. The second approach is never recommended in the suttas and amounts to trying to remake the Budhadhamma in one's own image.

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

Post by daverupa » Sat Dec 15, 2012 6:49 pm

There are more than those two ways, Nana. It's disingenuous to call it an either-or dichotomy, attempting to control the course of a discussion with such straw men. Pāṭaliya had a fine time setting it all aside, at the Buddha's recommendation.
  • "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]

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

Post by Nyana » Sat Dec 15, 2012 7:02 pm

daverupa wrote:There are more than those two ways, Nana. It's disingenuous to call it an either-or dichotomy, attempting to control the course of a discussion with such straw men. Pāṭaliya had a fine time setting it all aside, at the Buddha's recommendation.
Setting it aside and engaging in other practices is mentioned in #1 above.

vinasp
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Re: the great rebirth debate

Post by vinasp » Sat Dec 15, 2012 7:06 pm

Hi everyone,

Some argue that we should believe in rebirth because MN 117 explains that right view
includes: 'there is this world and the next world.'

But it is also a part of right view that 'there are spontaneously reborn beings.'

Those who ask us to believe these things have an obligation to explain what they mean by
them.

Regards, Vincent.

suttametta
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Re: the great rebirth debate

Post by suttametta » Sat Dec 15, 2012 7:53 pm

No one is asking anyone to believe anything. You don't need to believe in rebirth to one day come to the direct experience of it in the practice of the path. An essential element of the path in fact is to leave opinions aside and neither to accept or reject any opinion. As the mind goes deeper into meditation, naturally one can see past lives and future lives of oneself and others, along with other psychic powers. I'm saying this is a factual event. It doesn't require your belief to be true or untrue. It can be tested for yourself. Or you might meet a teacher with amazing psychic power.

santa100
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Re: the great rebirth debate

Post by santa100 » Sat Dec 15, 2012 8:06 pm

From Ven. Thanissaro: ( http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/auth ... birth.html" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false; )
...nothing given, nothing offered, nothing sacrificed. There is no fruit or result of good or bad actions. There is no this world, no next world, no mother, no father, no spontaneously reborn beings [beings born without the need for parents in heaven or hell]; no contemplatives or brahmans who, faring rightly and practicing rightly, proclaim this world and the next after having directly known and realized it for themselves...

vinasp
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Re: the great rebirth debate

Post by vinasp » Sat Dec 15, 2012 9:31 pm

Hi everyone,

We also need to pay attention to the meaning of the term 'deva'. Some are making a sharp
distinction between human beings and deva's. But there was no such distinction at the time
that the Discourses were composed. The category of human beings blends into the category
of deva's.

There are three kinds of Deva:

1. Conventional, that is, kings and princes, who are addressed as 'Deva!'.
2. Purified, that is, Buddhas and arahants.
3. Spontaneously born (this includes some human beings).

See: Thus Have I Heard, by Maurice Walshe, introduction page 44.

Regards, Vincent.

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