martian wrote:If what we know as "I" is just a product of the continuous interaction of the 5 Aggregates and the "I" that is reborn is really a different "I" produced again, by the continuous interaction of the aggregates,
then why would the present "I" be concerned about the condition the new "I" will be born into? A typical explanation about rebirth is a flame being transferred from one lamp to another. Even in this example the flame from the first lamp have no connection with the flame that will be produced next. The brightness or dullness of the first flame with not affect the quality of the next flame. If this is the case, then is there any need to be concerned about kamma beyond the present life and furthermore, rebirth? Hoping for some clarity. Thanks.
Have heard many attempts to explicate this question, and argued certain stances myself (the Milinda Pañha's account is a pretty good one, and if I remember correctly it is supported by some passages in the suttas). However, a simpler explanation might be that rebirth and anatta represent different levels of understanding, with anatta being the more profound one.
Conventionally speaking, there is an "I". What you did yesterday impacts what will happen to you tomorrow. This also applies to any number of lives. If the illusion of self can be sustained over the course of one life, it can also operate over multiple lives. By the same token, if it were impossible to speak of a self in conventional terms, then how is it that the same avatars keep cropping up here on DW from day to day?
But deep investigation of this "self" shows that it cannot actually be identified with the aggregates, and so it turns out to be a mere construct.
I think it's noteworthy that the suttas present Buddha's awakening in stages
. Rebirth and kamma are described at earlier stages (first and second watch). And there is an interesting shift in the language used:
1. Thus I remembered my
manifold past lives in their modes & details.
2. Thus — by means of the divine eye, purified & surpassing the human — I saw beings
passing away & re-appearing.
3. I directed it to the knowledge of the ending of the mental fermentations...I discerned, as it had come to be, that 'This is stress... This is the origination of stress... This is the cessation of stress... This is the way leading to the cessation of stress... These are fermentations... This is the origination of fermentations... This is the cessation of fermentations... This is the way leading to the cessation of fermentations.'
In the first watch, we are still talking about an "I"; in the second we have "beings", and in the third there are only "fermentations" and the process of dependent origination.
In short, we may not need to square the circle by trying to reconcile rebirth/kamma with anatta. The two represent different types or stages of knowledge
Just my two cents' worth.