Reincarnation

Exploring Theravāda's connections to other paths. What can we learn from other traditions, religions and philosophies?
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retrofuturist
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Re: Reincarnation

Post by retrofuturist » Tue Aug 30, 2011 12:03 pm

Greetings Mike,
Mike wrote:It's relevant because his "sophisticated exposition of "bhava"" is not used to construct an argument that such an interpretation of rebirth is mistaken
Sure - no one is saying rebirth is wrong... only that reincarnation is.

It's my view that if we get a better understanding of what "bhava" is, we're less likely to jump headlong into assuming that punabbhava (becoming again) must necessarily be synonymous with the old "literal post-mortem rebirth".

Which of course isn't to deny "literal post-mortem rebirth" - just to say that it's not a necessary corollary of punabbhava, just like it's not a necessary corollary of paticcasamuppada.

Rather, it would seem (to me at least) that punabbhava is the antonym of bhavanirodha.
Mike wrote:whereas he does argue that the standard interpretation of dependent origination is mistaken.
Indeed he does.

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: Reincarnation

Post by chownah » Tue Aug 30, 2011 1:39 pm

Mawkish1983 wrote:
retrofuturist wrote:we can come to inadvertently misinterpret them into views the Buddha regarded as harmful.
Very useful thing to consider, I think. I think Chownah is probably right that lots of people will openly say phrases like, "I don't believe in reincarnation, I believe in rebirth as taught by the Buddha" but at the same time completely misunderstand what the Buddha taught. Often I suppose people might very well be believing in some sort of version of reincarnation that is not compatible with the Buddha's teaching about anatta. Yes, it would be a wrong view, but I am wondering how damaging it might be really to one's practice. If I believed in the flying spaghetti monster but still practiced mindfulness and try to develop the brahmaviharas, would that belief hold back my practice? I imagine eventually the belief would fall away as insight arose, so as long as the belief isn't clung to, would it be that much of a hinderance?

Anyway, that might be off topic, I don't know, it's just something Chownah's topic made me think of.
Note: I use the term "rebirth/reincarnation" to mean the belief that each of us has and which we usually refer to as "rebirth" and this applies to the "literal rebirth" and "moment to moment rebirth" beliefs. Since I think that none of us here has competely penetrated the "self" my view is that we all have some degree of reincarnation mixed in with our rebirth beliefs.
I think that considering how damaging it might be to ones practice is a very important thing to consider. My view is that it depends on how tightly we cling to the view. I think it is important to grasp any view lightly but it is especially important when considering rebirth/reincarnation in that grasping it will not only reinforce the delusion of self in the usual way just like clinging to any view reinforces this but in addition to this clinging to rebirth/reincarnation is a view which deals with our concepts of delusional self directly....the view is in and of itself dealing with "self".....in other words I think that clinging too tightly to views of rebirth/reincarnation hinders our efforts to penetrate the teachings on not-self and the teachings on having no doctrine of self whatever.....and for me having no doctrine of self is an important idea to pursue so I'm alway watchful for anything that might inhibit it.
chownah
P.S. I think everyones posting has been great......
chownah

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Re: Reincarnation

Post by acinteyyo » Tue Aug 30, 2011 3:49 pm

chownah wrote:
mikenz66 wrote:Hi chownah,

3. something else?

Mike
Yeah...it's something else. I think an important point I forget to include is that what I am saying applies both to those who hold to the view of "literal rebirth" (for example at the break up of the body there is rebirth in the womb) and to those who hold to the view of "moment to moment rebirth" (for example our delusion of self is not a long lasting and durable one which recurs contiuously but rather it is a series of delusions that arise and then pass away to be replaced by a new and different delusion of self every moment and each of the arisings of a delusion of self is a rebirth)....what I am saying applies to both of these.

For those who hold the view of "moment to moment rebirth" if they have not penetrated the self then their concept of self guides their thinking to the concept of "moment to moment reincarnation" instead of "moment to moment rebirth". When they try to think of "moment to moment rebirth" the mind distorts to make the concept of rebirth into a similar concept which encompasses the self, that concept being reincarnation so they really end up thinking about "moment to moment reincarnation"....this is in my view how the delusional self arises...it arises through a distortion of mental objects which are distorted in such a way as to encompass or accomodate the delusion of the existence of self.....and if this process applies when one is considering "rebirth" the mind is actually considering "reincarnation" even though the name "rebirth" might still be attached to the thinking......one thinks that one is thinking about rebirth but the delusional self gets inserted into the mix and you end up with thoughts about what is actually reincarnation.

The same can be said for those who hold to views of "literal rebirth"...their thoughts would be distorted by the insertion of self so that what they would have would really be "literal reincarnation.

One more try: It's like if somone was totally obsessed with bananas and you held up an apple and told them to think about apple pie.....what they would think of would be banana cream pie even if they kept saying "apple pie" what they would be thinking of would be banana cream pie....the banana keeps getting inserted into all their thinking.....
chownah wrote:
Mawkish1983 wrote:
retrofuturist wrote:we can come to inadvertently misinterpret them into views the Buddha regarded as harmful.
Very useful thing to consider, I think. I think Chownah is probably right that lots of people will openly say phrases like, "I don't believe in reincarnation, I believe in rebirth as taught by the Buddha" but at the same time completely misunderstand what the Buddha taught. Often I suppose people might very well be believing in some sort of version of reincarnation that is not compatible with the Buddha's teaching about anatta. Yes, it would be a wrong view, but I am wondering how damaging it might be really to one's practice. If I believed in the flying spaghetti monster but still practiced mindfulness and try to develop the brahmaviharas, would that belief hold back my practice? I imagine eventually the belief would fall away as insight arose, so as long as the belief isn't clung to, would it be that much of a hinderance?

Anyway, that might be off topic, I don't know, it's just something Chownah's topic made me think of.
Note: I use the term "rebirth/reincarnation" to mean the belief that each of us has and which we usually refer to as "rebirth" and this applies to the "literal rebirth" and "moment to moment rebirth" beliefs. Since I think that none of us here has competely penetrated the "self" my view is that we all have some degree of reincarnation mixed in with our rebirth beliefs.
I think that considering how damaging it might be to ones practice is a very important thing to consider. My view is that it depends on how tightly we cling to the view. I think it is important to grasp any view lightly but it is especially important when considering rebirth/reincarnation in that grasping it will not only reinforce the delusion of self in the usual way just like clinging to any view reinforces this but in addition to this clinging to rebirth/reincarnation is a view which deals with our concepts of delusional self directly....the view is in and of itself dealing with "self".....in other words I think that clinging too tightly to views of rebirth/reincarnation hinders our efforts to penetrate the teachings on not-self and the teachings on having no doctrine of self whatever.....and for me having no doctrine of self is an important idea to pursue so I'm alway watchful for anything that might inhibit it.
chownah
P.S. I think everyones posting has been great......
chownah
:goodpost:
Hi all,

I have this in mind for long time but couldn't put it into words. I still don't know how to make my point clear. Maybe rebirth as taught by the Buddha cannot be understood, cannot be comprehended or properly imagined until one is at least free from personality-view. It will always lead to some kind of "reincarnation-imagination/association" involved with some kind of underlying, more or less subtle self-view, which remains unnoticed. When it comes to the word "rebirth" the meaning, which will be given to it will always emerge from that contaminated viewpoint. That would necessarily lead to some kind of reincarnation-view although one is calling it rebirth it still circles around self-view without being noticed.
The fact that what "rebirth" as taught by the Buddha actually means remains unclear, makes it easy for a worldling to put a modified reincarnation-model into it, now beliefing that to be rebirth in line with the teachings while still missing (or better "ignoring") the underlying belief in a self. The typical trap of avijja, which just hides itself under a different name in a different form as soon as one tries to uncover it. That's why steady mindfulness is so important to not loose sight...

best wishes, acinteyyo
Thag 1.20. Ajita - I do not fear death; nor do I long for life. I’ll lay down this body, aware and mindful.

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Re: Reincarnation

Post by danieLion » Fri Mar 08, 2013 6:14 pm

I used the "search this topic" function for Buddhadasa but it gave me GENERAL results so forgive me if this is redundant. But are not Buddhadasa's crticisms of the the three life model of dependent origination pertinent here? You may find it articulated in his Paticcasamuppada: Practical Dependent Origination and his talk, No Religion.

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daverupa
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Re: Reincarnation

Post by daverupa » Fri Mar 08, 2013 6:30 pm

Paticcasamuppada is a fluid dependency teaching, with many possible formulations. Sticking to paticcasamuppada-12 can generate artificial difficulties.
  • "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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Re: Reincarnation

Post by rohana » Sat Mar 09, 2013 12:14 am

mikenz66 wrote:Perhaps someone could explain what they see as the key difference between "reincarnation" and "rebirth"? I've never been able to figure out what the difference is supposed to be since they are synonyms in normal English usage.
I think it's simply a matter of how one answers the question "what the relationship between 'you' that exist now and the 'you' that existed a few moments ago?". The eternalist(say, one following Vēdānta) would say it's the same "you". Sure, your body may have aged between that moment and the present moment, and your mind may have changed, but the "real" you - the eternal ātma, remains the same, therefore the relationship between the now-you and the past-you is one of equality. Since it is the ātma that transmigrates from life to life, if you consider the last moment of this life and the first moment of the next life, it's the same "real you" between the two lives.

But from the Buddhist point of view, the relationship can't be clearly defined: is it the same "you"? No. Is it a different "you"? Not quite, since the present-you is a result of the past-you. So the relationship is, as Venerable Nāgasēna says, "Neither the same, nor another". The same relationship exists between the last-you of this life and first-you of the next life.

(It doesn't necessarily mean that the "you" of one moment is just conditioned by the "you" of the previous moment. In fact there doesn't need to be any talk of 'moments' at all. What one becomes at the present is born out of a complex web of kammic interactions of both past and present - whether "within the same life" or whether "becoming a new life".)

Bhava, or Becoming, is constantly taking place, and it simply doesn't end when at what we call "death" - so, may be, the reason to use the term "punabbhava" is necessary because it is us puthajjanas that fabricate the world in terms of 'this life', and 'the next life'. If one is an āriya, then one understands(similar to mathematical induction), that as long as the process explained by paticcasampuppāda carries on, 'becoming' can't simply end with the break-up of the physical body, so I think that for an āriya, a special designation by the term 'punabbhava' is unnecessary, since they realize it is the same process of 'bhava paccayā jāti' regardless of whether 'within this life' or 'from one life to the next'. Or as Ven. Ñāṇānanda would say, a designation as a "here" and a "there".
retrofuturist wrote:To me, as I understand it, punabbhava has nothing to do with transmigration, whereas patisandhi unambiguously does.
Huh?? May be I've misunderstood, but how does patisandhi-citta suggest a transmigration?

As already quoted from the Ñātilōka dictionary:
  • Neither has this rebirth-consciousness transmigrated from the previous existence to this present existence, nor did it arise without such conditions, as kamma, kammic-constructions, propensity, object, etc. That this consciousness has not come from the previous existence to this present existence, yet that it has come into existence by means of conditions included in the previous existence, such as kamma, etc.
retrofuturist wrote:So, returning to MN 48 for a moment, which refers to speculation... "If a monk is absorbed in speculation about the other world, then his mind is enthralled". If one knows from experience things "about the other world" then good for them. But if they don't know it, it is speculation, and if it is speculation, the mind is enthralled.
Well if one is pondering about the future(lives) at the detriment of cultivating the mind, yes. But there are some teachings by the Buddha that would count as 'skillfull speculation about the future' - e.g. contemplating the dangers of saṃsāra. Kamma is speculation too, but certainly the Buddha highly encouraged one to distinguish skillful actions from unskillful actions.
retrofuturist wrote:Which of course isn't to deny "literal post-mortem rebirth" - just to say that it's not a necessary corollary of punabbhava, just like it's not a necessary corollary of paticcasamuppada.
I'm not sure if there's a big difference between "literal post-mortem rebirth" and punabbhava.
"Delighting in existence, O monks, are gods and men; they are attached to existence, they revel in existence. When the Dhamma for the cessation of existence is being preached to them, their minds do not leap towards it, do not get pleased with it, do not get settled in it, do not find confidence in it. That is how, monks, some lag behind."
- It. p 43

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Re: Reincarnation

Post by LonesomeYogurt » Sat Mar 09, 2013 8:40 am

daverupa wrote:Paticcasamuppada is a fluid dependency teaching, with many possible formulations. Sticking to paticcasamuppada-12 can generate artificial difficulties.
Paññobhāsa Bhikkhu, in this article talks about just this - it seems that the traditional stock set of twelve steps is not the only formulation of paticcasamuppada that the Buddha discussed.

I think we often assume the debate about a one-life or three-life model of paticcasamuppada is an either/or proposition, when it could very well be a formula that applies at both a micro and macro level depending on the situation. Thanissaro compares it to an erosion photograph, where the data is all there but the scale is not immediately knowable.
Gain and loss, status and disgrace,
censure and praise, pleasure and pain:
these conditions among human beings are inconstant,
impermanent, subject to change.

Knowing this, the wise person, mindful,
ponders these changing conditions.
Desirable things don’t charm the mind,
undesirable ones bring no resistance.

His welcoming and rebelling are scattered,
gone to their end,
do not exist.
- Lokavipatti Sutta

Stuff I write about things.

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Re: Reincarnation

Post by danieLion » Sat Mar 09, 2013 5:57 pm

daverupa wrote:Paticcasamuppada is a fluid dependency teaching, with many possible formulations. Sticking to paticcasamuppada-12 can generate artificial difficulties.
As opposed to paticcasamuppada-6, paticcasamuppada-8, paticcasamuppada-10, etc...?

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Re: Reincarnation

Post by daverupa » Sat Mar 09, 2013 6:26 pm

danieLion wrote:
daverupa wrote:Paticcasamuppada is a fluid dependency teaching, with many possible formulations. Sticking to paticcasamuppada-12 can generate artificial difficulties.
As opposed to paticcasamuppada-6, paticcasamuppada-8, paticcasamuppada-10, etc...?
Exactly. The Nidanasamyutta (SN 12.*) has quite a few versions; for example, SN 12.65 (p-10), SN 12.52 (p-6), etc.
  • "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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Re: Reincarnation

Post by LonesomeYogurt » Sat Mar 09, 2013 6:50 pm

danieLion wrote:As opposed to paticcasamuppada-6, paticcasamuppada-8, paticcasamuppada-10, etc...?
I preferred Paticcasamuppada 3: Judgement Day.

Sorry, sorry, back on topic :jumping:

I think what the many different forms of dependent origination point to is a shifting, dynamic understanding of paticcasamuppada that is not nearly as rigid as we sometimes assume. It could very well be, as Paññobhāsa Bhikkhu argues, that all models of paticcasamuppada were only formulated into their twelve-, six-, four-, or eight-link versions after the Buddha's death.
Gain and loss, status and disgrace,
censure and praise, pleasure and pain:
these conditions among human beings are inconstant,
impermanent, subject to change.

Knowing this, the wise person, mindful,
ponders these changing conditions.
Desirable things don’t charm the mind,
undesirable ones bring no resistance.

His welcoming and rebelling are scattered,
gone to their end,
do not exist.
- Lokavipatti Sutta

Stuff I write about things.

danieLion
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Re: Reincarnation

Post by danieLion » Sun Mar 10, 2013 4:21 am

daverupa wrote:
danieLion wrote:
daverupa wrote:Paticcasamuppada is a fluid dependency teaching, with many possible formulations. Sticking to paticcasamuppada-12 can generate artificial difficulties.
As opposed to paticcasamuppada-6, paticcasamuppada-8, paticcasamuppada-10, etc...?
Exactly. The Nidanasamyutta (SN 12.*) has quite a few versions; for example, SN 12.65 (p-10), SN 12.52 (p-6), etc.
IMO, it boils down to cognitive distortion.

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Re: Reincarnation

Post by Dinsdale » Sun Mar 10, 2013 11:47 am

daverupa wrote:
danieLion wrote:
daverupa wrote:Paticcasamuppada is a fluid dependency teaching, with many possible formulations. Sticking to paticcasamuppada-12 can generate artificial difficulties.
As opposed to paticcasamuppada-6, paticcasamuppada-8, paticcasamuppada-10, etc...?
Exactly. The Nidanasamyutta (SN 12.*) has quite a few versions; for example, SN 12.65 (p-10), SN 12.52 (p-6), etc.
But aren't all these variations subject to the stock definitions of the nidanas given in MN9 and SN12.2?
Buddha save me from new-agers!

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Re: Reincarnation

Post by daverupa » Mon Mar 11, 2013 1:58 am

porpoise wrote:But aren't all these variations subject to the stock definitions of the nidanas given in MN9 and SN12.2?
I think this misses the forest for the trees; the different resolutions which can be brought to bear on paticcasamuppada indicate a fluidly superimposed process. The terms have meanings, certainly, but p-12 is simply comprehensive of parts, not the single way it can and must be seen in action. Awareness can encompass varying scales of resolution here.
  • "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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Re: Reincarnation

Post by danieLion » Tue Mar 12, 2013 5:49 am

daverupa wrote:Paticcasamuppada is a fluid dependency teaching, with many possible formulations. Sticking to paticcasamuppada-12 can generate artificial difficulties.
danieLion wrote:As opposed to paticcasamuppada-6, paticcasamuppada-8, paticcasamuppada-10, etc...?
daverupa wrote:Exactly. The Nidanasamyutta (SN 12.*) has quite a few versions; for example, SN 12.65 (p-10), SN 12.52 (p-6), etc.
porpoise wrote:But aren't all these variations subject to the stock definitions of the nidanas given in MN9 and SN12.2?
Quite the opposite, porpoise. Stock definitions imply systematic imposition whereas variations imply we are closer to Buddhavacana. The Buddha was clearly senstive to set (unique individuals and their perceptions) and settings (the unique environments those unique individuals lived in). For instance, if we assume the Buddha gave a stock definition of papanca, we run into more trouble than letting the differences speak to us for themselves. Look at the variations Thanissaro highlights among the ways the Buddha spoke of papanca in relation to conflict in his introduction to MN 18 (Madhupindika Sutta: The Ball of Honey).
Thanissaro wrote:This discourse plays a central role in the early Buddhist analysis of conflict. As might be expected, the blame for conflict lies within, in the unskillful habits of the mind, rather than without. The culprit in this case is a habit called papañca. Unfortunately, none of the early texts give a clear definition of what the word papañca means, so it's hard to find a precise English equivalent for the term. However, they do give a clear analysis of how papañca arises, how it leads to conflict, and how it can be ended. In the final analysis, these are the questions that matter — more than the precise definition of terms — so we will deal with them first before proposing a few possible translation equivalents for the word.

Three passages in the discourses — DN 21, MN 18, and Sn 4.11 — map the causal processes that give rise to papañca and lead from papañca to conflict. Because the Buddhist analysis of causality is generally non-linear, with plenty of room for feedback loops, the maps vary in some of their details. In DN 21, the map reads like this:

-the perceptions & categories of papañca > thinking > desire > dear-&-not-dear > envy & stinginess > rivalry & hostility

In Sn 4.11, the map is less linear and can be diagrammed like this:
-perception > the categories of papañca

-perception > name & form > contact > appealing & unappealing > desire > dear-&-not-dear > stinginess/divisiveness/quarrels/disputes

In MN 18, the map is this:
-contact > feeling > perception > thinking > the perceptions & categories of papañca

In this last case, however, the bare outline misses some of the important implications of the way this process is phrased. In the full passage, the analysis starts out in an impersonal tone:

-Dependent on eye & forms, eye-consciousness arises [similarly with the rest of the six senses]. The meeting of the three is contact. With contact as a requisite condition, there is feeling.

Starting with feeling, the notion of an "agent" — in this case, the feeler — acting on "objects," is introduced:

-What one feels, one perceives (labels in the mind). What one perceives, one thinks about. What one thinks about, one "papañcizes."

Through the process of papañca, the agent then becomes a victim of his/her own patterns of thinking:

-Based on what a person papañcizes, the perceptions & categories of papañca assail him/her with regard to past, present, & future forms cognizable via the eye [as with the remaining senses].

What are these perceptions & categories that assail the person who papañcizes? Sn 4.14 states that the root of the categories of papañca is the perception, "I am the thinker." From this self-reflexive thought — in which one conceives a "self," a thing corresponding to the concept of "I" — a number of categories can be derived: being/not-being, me/not-me, mine/not-mine, doer/done-to, signifier/signified. Once one's self becomes a thing under the rubric of these categories, it's impossible not to be assailed by the perceptions & categories derived from these basic distinctions. When there's the sense of identification with something that experiences, then based on the feelings arising from sensory contact, some feelings will seem appealing — worth getting for the self — and others will seem unappealing — worth pushing away. From this there grows desire, which comes into conflict with the desires of others who are also engaging in papañca. This is how inner objectifications breed external contention.

How can this process be ended? Through a shift in perception, caused by the way one attends to feelings, using the categories of appropriate attention [see MN 2]. As the Buddha states in DN 21, rather than viewing a feeling as an appealing or unappealing thing, one should look at it as part of a causal process: when a particular feeling is pursued, do skillful or unskillful qualities increase in the mind? If skillful qualities increase, the feeling may be pursued. If unskillful qualities increase, it shouldn't. When comparing feelings that lead to skillful qualities, notice which are more refined: those accompanied with thinking (directed thought) and evaluation, or those free of thinking and evaluation, as in the higher stages of mental absorption, or jhana. When seeing this, there is a tendency to opt for the more refined feelings, and this cuts through the act of thinking that, according to MN 18, provides the basis for papañca.

In following this program, the notion of agent and victim is avoided, as is self-reflexive thinking in general. There is simply the analysis of cause-effect processes. One is still making use of dualities — distinguishing between unskillful and skillful (and affliction/lack of affliction, the results of unskillful and skillful qualities) — but the distinction is between processes, not things (see Gombrich, above). Thus one's analysis avoids the type of thinking that, according to DN 21, depends on the perceptions and categories of papañca, and in this way the vicious cycle by which thinking and papañca keep feeding each other is cut.

Ultimately, by following this program to greater and greater levels of refinement through the higher levels of mental absorption, one finds less and less to relish and enjoy in the six senses and the mental processes based on them. With this sense of disenchantment, the processes of feeling and thought are stilled, and there is a breakthrough to the cessation of the six sense spheres. When these spheres cease, is there anything else left? Ven. Sariputta, in AN 4.174, warns us not to ask, for to ask if there is, isn't, both-is-and-isn't, neither-is-nor-isn't anything left in that dimension is to papañcize what is free from papañca. However, this dimension is not a total annihilation of experience. It's a type of experience that DN 11 calls consciousness without feature, luminous all around, where water, earth, fire, & wind have no footing, where long/short, coarse/fine, fair/foul, name/form are all brought to an end. This is the fruit of the path of arahantship — a path that makes use of dualities but leads to a fruit beyond them.

It may come as cold comfort to realize that conflict can be totally overcome only with the realization of arahantship, but it's important to note that by following the path recommended in DN 21 — learning to avoid references to any notion of "self" and learning to view feelings not as things but as parts of a causal process affecting the qualities in the mind — the basis for papañca is gradually undercut, and there are fewer and fewer occasions for conflict. In following this path, one reaps its increasing benefits all along the way.

Translating papañca: As one writer has noted, the word papañca has had a wide variety of meanings in Indian thought, with only one constant: in Buddhist philosophical discourse it carries negative connotations, usually of falsification and distortion. The word itself is derived from a root that means diffuseness, spreading, proliferating. The Pali Commentaries define papañca as covering three types of thought: craving, conceit, and views. They also note that it functions to slow the mind down in its escape from samsara. Because its categories begin with the objectifying thought, "I am the thinker," I have chosen to render the word as "objectification," although some of the following alternatives might be acceptable as well: self-reflexive thinking, reification, proliferation, complication, elaboration, distortion. The word offers some interesting parallels to the postmodern notion of logocentric thinking, but it's important to note that the Buddha's program of deconstructing this process differs sharply from that of postmodern thought.

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Re: Reincarnation

Post by Dinsdale » Thu Mar 14, 2013 4:09 pm

danieLion wrote:
daverupa wrote:Paticcasamuppada is a fluid dependency teaching, with many possible formulations. Sticking to paticcasamuppada-12 can generate artificial difficulties.
porpoise wrote:But aren't all these variations subject to the stock definitions of the nidanas given in MN9 and SN12.2?
Quite the opposite, porpoise. Stock definitions imply systematic imposition whereas variations imply we are closer to Buddhavacana.
But in the case of the nidanas the only definitions I'm aware of are the ones in MN9 and SN12.2 ( confirmed again in DN15 ).
So not using those definitions doesn't make sense to me. It seems analogous to changing the accepted definitions of individual words in a sentence so that the sentence takes on a whole new meaning.
Buddha save me from new-agers!

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