the great rebirth debate

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

Post by reflection » Fri Jul 05, 2013 1:19 pm

Spiny Norman wrote:
reflection wrote:Beliefs are not choices.
I disagree, I think we do have some choice, at least to the extent of recognising that our beliefs and disbeliefs are transient and insubstantial. I think the important thing is to be aware of these biases and assumptions, and to be willing to challenge them.
That I can agree with, but of course it's not like you walk up to a skeptic and say: "change your belief", and it will happen.

If I say to you, start believing in Wodan the Viking god, would you be able to make this choice? Would you really belief it? Probably not. Of course, the example may seem ridiculous but to people who sincerely can't take on rebirth it may feel comparable. I know I was in this situation once. And in that place, even if you want to change your beliefs, you just can't. It requires something else than a choice, which is indeed partly this willingness to challenge your beliefs.

:anjali:
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Re: the great rebirth debate

Post by BlackBird » Fri Jul 05, 2013 1:29 pm

*sigh* you've extrapolated a bit too far if you're trying to include the 'realization' of rebirth within that which is knowable through insight or path/fruit. It is widely described within the suttas as a supernormal power attained through concentration practice. You have made an odd interpretation of the sutta you have quoted above, one that is in my opinion wholly inadmissible.

In my corner I have Ven. Nyanavira, whom I have already stated that I believe to be correct in his assertion of stream entry, and he stated quite categorically that rebirth is something to be taken upon trust, that even with the arising of the Dhamma-eye in him, he had to take rebirth on trust. Of course that would not be admissible evidence, but I have not seen one instance of Ven. Nyanavira making a statement that contradicts the suttas. So I have placed my trust in him.

You seem to be looking to make the suttas fit your preference here, so I don't think there's much chance at an honest discussion. Regarding mundane/supermundane duality, I very much respect Ven. Analayo's view on the matter, and it is quite true that the duality is not commonly found, when right view is spoken of it is almost always the 'supermundane' but that doesn't mean that mundane right view doesn't exist. There are some very important doctrinal points within the suttas that are only mentioned sparingly. Not that I think mundane right view is altogether that important of a distinction, the point is something doesn't have to crop up in virtually every sutta (ironically as rebirth does) to be true in nature.

I don't think your view that mundane right view is not a real dhamma is pernicious - because frankly in the end you can think that way and it doesn't make on iota of a difference, one is still set on realizing the MAIN right view, that of paticcasamupada and the four noble truths. But I do think your novel interpretation of how to realize rebirth is pernicious - Your idea that belief in rebirth is a wrong view aswell - and I would advise you turn back these two views, because it's not what the Buddha taught.

with metta
Jack
Last edited by BlackBird on Fri Jul 05, 2013 1:58 pm, edited 4 times in total.
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'The Blessed One is the Teacher, I am a disciple. He is the one who knows, not I." - MN. 70 Kitagiri Sutta

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Re: the great rebirth debate

Post by Dinsdale » Fri Jul 05, 2013 1:31 pm

reflection wrote: That I can agree with, but of course it's not like you walk up to a skeptic and say: "change your belief", and it will happen.
I'm not suggesting that. What I'm suggesting is that it's possible to put beliefs and disbeliefs to one side, at least temporarily. I'm suggesting that without that ability it's very difficult to see things clearly, because these beliefs and disbeliefs colour our perception.
And without that ability it's very difficult to read the suttas in an objective way.
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Re: the great rebirth debate

Post by reflection » Fri Jul 05, 2013 1:58 pm

BlackBird wrote:*sigh* you've extrapolated a bit too far if you're trying to include the 'realization' of rebirth within that which is knowable through insight or path/fruit. It is widely described within the suttas as a supernormal power attained through concentration practice. You have made an odd interpretation of the sutta you have quoted above, one that is in my opinion wholly inadmissible.

In my corner I have Ven. Nyanavira, whom I have already stated that I believe to be correct in his assertion of stream entry, and he stated quite categorically that rebirth is something to be taken upon trust, that even with the arising of the Dhamma-eye in him, he had to take rebirth on trust. Of course that would not be admissible evidence, but I have not seen one instance of Ven. Nyanavira making a statement that contradicts the suttas. So I have placed my trust in him.

You seem to be looking to make the suttas fit your preference here, so I don't think there's much chance at an honest discussion. Regarding mundane/supermundane duality, I very much respect Ven. Analayo's view on the matter, and it is quite true that the duality is not commonly found, when right view is spoken of it is almost always the 'supermundane' but that doesn't mean that mundane right view doesn't exist. There are some very important doctrinal points within the suttas that are only mentioned sparingly. Not that I think mundane right view is altogether that important of a distinction, the point is something doesn't have to crop up in virtually every sutta (ironically as rebirth does) to be true in nature.

I don't think your view that mundane right view is not a real dhamma is pernicious - because frankly in the end you can think that way and it doesn't make on iota of a difference, one is still set on realizing the MAIN right view, that of paticcasamupada and the four noble truths. But I do think your novel interpretation of how to realize rebirth is pernicious, and I would advise you turn back from it, because it's not what the Buddha taught.

with metta
Jack
Hi,

with all respect, I refrain from responding in detail, because I think your post indeed reflects there is no chance for a honest discussion. So let's just go our ways.

II'm happy to continue the conversation with anybody who thinks we can continue.

Perhaps I should just say -for clarification of what I said earlier and not as a new argument- that the power discussed in the suttas is the recollection of past lives, the real memory. One can understand and know the process of rebirth without having a memory like this.

With metta,
:anjali:
Last edited by reflection on Fri Jul 05, 2013 2:08 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: the great rebirth debate

Post by reflection » Fri Jul 05, 2013 2:03 pm

Spiny Norman wrote:
reflection wrote: That I can agree with, but of course it's not like you walk up to a skeptic and say: "change your belief", and it will happen.
I'm not suggesting that. What I'm suggesting is that it's possible to put beliefs and disbeliefs to one side, at least temporarily. I'm suggesting that without that ability it's very difficult to see things clearly, because these beliefs and disbeliefs colour our perception.
And without that ability it's very difficult to read the suttas in an objective way.
I know you weren't and probably nobody was, and I agree with what you are saying here. Being able to put our beliefs aside is a wonderful thing to be able to do. But I was responding to multiple reactions at once. The part about not being able to make a choice was mostly referring to Blackbird when he said "make their predilections fit with the Buddha Dhamma."

:anjali:

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Re: the great rebirth debate

Post by BlackBird » Fri Jul 05, 2013 2:12 pm

reflection wrote:[
Hi,

with all respect, I refrain from responding in detail, because I think your post indeed reflects there is no chance for a honest discussion. So let's just go our ways.

II'm happy to continue the conversation with anybody who thinks we can continue.

With metta,
:anjali:
Happily. But please do realize that belief in rebirth is not a 'wrong view' and that rebirth is not something you can realize through insight practice and or attainment of path/fruit. This is clearly stated in the suttas: recollection of past lives, and of the passing away and reappearance of beings in realms are supernormal powers, they are attained to through concentration bhavana. I've got my mudita at the ready if and when you're prepared to relinquish those views. :toast:

Until next time

with metta
Jack
"For a disciple who has conviction in the Teacher's message & lives to penetrate it, what accords with the Dhamma is this:
'The Blessed One is the Teacher, I am a disciple. He is the one who knows, not I." - MN. 70 Kitagiri Sutta

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Re: the great rebirth debate

Post by reflection » Fri Jul 05, 2013 2:21 pm

Thanks for preparing some mudita. Likewise, I of course hope you will one day realize the process of rebirth. ;)

:focus:

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Re: the great rebirth debate

Post by clw_uk » Fri Jul 05, 2013 8:35 pm

To blackbird
As for the validity of rebirth being an important part of my Saddha it is rather simple. If rebirth does not exist, I would only need to cut off my life stream in order to experience nibbana, but the Buddha has said that annihilationism is a wrong view,
Why do you jump from rebirth view to annihilationism?

I dont have a view of rebirth nor a view of "annihilationism" since both are speculative, metaphysical "thicket of views"

That seems to be a problem in a lot of your past posts I've read on this thread, that someone who doesnt hold to rebirth must = annihilationism, which is wrong view


he has quite clearly stated that, therefore I take rebirth on faith, as the Buddha has stated that he has seen the nature of it with his own eyes.
the birth of "I am" due to clinging, yes

As for the view of "after death I will be a deva" etc he said its a tainted right view
Well - Then my faith is shot too, because how much do you know is real Dhamma the Buddha spoke and how much is invention? How do you seperate the wheat from the chaff?
Practice and study?
There is no way in my mind the Buddha teachings works as being quote "free of patchwork" as he describes it, unless rebirth is factual. Therefore I take it on faith, and it strengthens my practice, for without rebirth Kamma is also more or less dead in the water, and the Buddha has stated that this being is bound to Samsara, and kamma is his means of going beyond.
Samsara as the spinning of "I am"
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Re: the great rebirth debate

Post by clw_uk » Fri Jul 05, 2013 8:36 pm

Happily. But please do realize that belief in rebirth is not a 'wrong view' and that rebirth is not something you can realize through insight practice and or attainment of path/fruit. This is clearly stated in the suttas: recollection of past lives, and of the passing away and reappearance of beings in realms are supernormal powers, they are attained to through concentration bhavana. I've got my mudita at the ready if and when you're prepared to relinquish those views.

Past abodes, i.e. past instances of "I am" due to clinging. Since "I am" comes to be millions of times today, there are countless "lives"
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Re: the great rebirth debate

Post by clw_uk » Fri Jul 05, 2013 8:38 pm

Spiny Norman wrote:
BlackBird wrote: If the Buddha just made it all up, lied about it to garner support from the populace at large that believed that stuff back in the day, it does not bode well for his character being perfect in every way. Or say the Scholar monks invented it all and the Buddha never taught it. Well - Then my faith is shot too, because how much do you know is real Dhamma the Buddha spoke and how much is invention? How do you seperate the wheat from the chaff?
Skeptics employ a variety of strategies in their attempts to marginalise the teachings on rebirth and kamma. Personally I don't find these strategies very convincing, because I think they often represent thinly-disguised aversion, rather than reflecting an objective and open-minded reading of the suttas.

And one could easily say those who hold rebirth view are close to eternalism and clinging as well

However I dont see how that gets us far
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Re: the great rebirth debate

Post by tiltbillings » Fri Jul 05, 2013 8:39 pm

clw_uk wrote:
Happily. But please do realize that belief in rebirth is not a 'wrong view' and that rebirth is not something you can realize through insight practice and or attainment of path/fruit. This is clearly stated in the suttas: recollection of past lives, and of the passing away and reappearance of beings in realms are supernormal powers, they are attained to through concentration bhavana. I've got my mudita at the ready if and when you're prepared to relinquish those views.

Past abodes, i.e. past instances of "I am" due to clinging. Since "I am" comes to be millions of times today, there are countless "lives"
Still fighting this fight, still attempting to re-interpret the Buddha's teachings to fit your point of view. Oh, well.
>> Do you see a man wise [enlightened/ariya] in his own eyes? There is more hope for a fool than for him.<< -- Proverbs 26:12

This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond. -- SN I, 38.

“Of course it is happening inside your head, Harry, but why on earth should that mean that it is not real?” HPatDH p.723

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Re: the great rebirth debate

Post by clw_uk » Fri Jul 05, 2013 8:48 pm

I agree that they're not convincing. I think those who are not prepared to accept Rebirth and Kamma often still put themselves and their own intellect above that of the Buddha, or at the very least on the same level. It is a subtle conceit, but logically it denies the fact that the Buddha was enlightened and the person is deluded by avijja. We're wandering around in the dark here and I do find it laughable that some have the conceit to think they know better than the Buddha, or at the very least that their views are just as valuable as the Tathagata's
.

Or maybe they understand it in a different way than you do, oh and do so without being conceited know it alls who think they are more intelligent than everyone else (ever thought they are just trying to understand Dhamma as well?)

All you have done here is try to invalidate my posts by trying to imply I just think of my self as superior to the Buddha, or on the same intellect as him. Play the ball not the man please.
Of course I do not mean to lump all those who do not accept rebirth in this category.
Could have fooled me
Personally I don't think everyone who is an annihilationist has aversion, but they most certainly have wrong view, and more wrong view than those who accept kamma and rebirth.
Now your trying to imply I'm an annihilationist, or people who post the same as me are. Why do you assume we are? I have never said I am one, or ever posted anything that is pro-annihilationist
I think there is a tendency to disregard this important statement the Buddha has made, i.e. That annihilationism is wrong view. Furthermore mundane right view is known as a belief in kamma and rebirth.
Tainted mundane view yes
So frankly I don't think it's correct for these people to call themselves a follower of the Buddha's teachings. Because following requires submission, which is something they refuse to do,
:jumping: this isnt Roman Catholicism
they would rather make the Buddha Dhamma fit with their predilections than make their predilections fit with the Buddha Dhamma. Perhaps they can say that they are a practitioner of meditation and they have an interest in Buddhism, but they have not taken refuge in my view - That requires submission of one's own views regarding that which cannot be directly seen for oneself - Rebirth and Kamma.
Very bold statements
Rebirth skeptics seem to feel as though they can surgically remove rebirth and kamma from the Buddha's teachings the way one might remove an appendix, but this is not the case. Removing rebirth and kamma from the Buddha's teachings is like removing the lungs.
We are not doing such a thing, when I have said Rebirth wasnt taught by Buddha? The meaning and purpose of it is where we disagree :roll:
I don't think you can be a real Buddhist and not believe in rebirth and kamma - You're cutting away vast swathes of the nikayas, entire suttas fall under the knife of rebirth skepticism. It is a slippery slope I'm afraid - Once you start butchering up something that the Buddha has already declared is free of patchwork, you've crossed the rubicon, and why stop at rebirth and kamma, why not reinterpret anything else that poses difficulties, that disagrees with your own predilections? It would certainly become easier to do after the initial rejection.
So you decide who is a Buddhist?
What's the point striving for nibbana when you can just wait for death to come along and you'll get the same thing.
Your just jumping from one net of views to another
For those of us who believe the Buddha's teaching on rebirth - We need to strive and put forth great effort, because death is coming and we could be reborn anywhere. But for those who don't? What's the rush? You can just meditate and you can live comfortably, and maybe it would be cool to reach sotapatti because hey - that's a novelty too, but really? What's the point, why bother - When death will be the release from experience anyway.
Because if rebirth is true or not dukkha is here now :roll:
I really wish you rebirth skeptics were right. Things would be a lot easier. But I think the Buddha knows best.
I dont think you even know what it is that "rebirth skeptics" argue

Your posts are muddled and just argue past what I have been posting
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Re: the great rebirth debate

Post by clw_uk » Fri Jul 05, 2013 8:51 pm

tiltbillings wrote:
clw_uk wrote:
Happily. But please do realize that belief in rebirth is not a 'wrong view' and that rebirth is not something you can realize through insight practice and or attainment of path/fruit. This is clearly stated in the suttas: recollection of past lives, and of the passing away and reappearance of beings in realms are supernormal powers, they are attained to through concentration bhavana. I've got my mudita at the ready if and when you're prepared to relinquish those views.

Past abodes, i.e. past instances of "I am" due to clinging. Since "I am" comes to be millions of times today, there are countless "lives"
Still fighting this fight, still attempting to re-interpret the Buddha's teachings to fit your point of view. Oh, well.

Well my understanding is that what I said in my above post is in line with those who teaching metaphysical rebirth as well

Didnt Buddha teach that "I am" comes to be due to clinging, so therefore there is "birth" millions of times a day?

He seeing a form with the eye becomes greedy for a pleasant form, or averse to a disagreeable form. Abides with mindfulness of the body not established and with a limited mind. Not knowing the release of mind nor the release through wisdom as it really is, where thoughts of demerit cease completely (*11). He falls to the path of agreeing and disagreeing and feels whatever feeling, pleasant, unpleasant, or neither unpleasant nor pleasant. Delighted and pleased with those feelings he appropriates them. To him delighted, pleased and appropriating those feelings arises interest. That interest for feelings is the holding (* 12) To him holding, there is being, from being arises birth, from birth decay and death, grief, lament, unpleasantness, displeasure and distress, thus arises the complete mass of unpleasantness. Hearing a sound with the ear, cognising a smell with the nose, cognising a taste with the tongue, cognising a touch with the body, cognising an idea with the mind, becomes greedy for a pleasant idea. Becomes averse to a disagreeable idea. Abides with mindfulness of the body not established and with a limited mind. Not knowing the release of mind nor the release through wisdom as it really is. Not knowing how thoughts of demerit cease completely. He falls to the path of agreeing and disagreeing and feels whatever feeling, pleasant, unpleasant, or neither unpleasant nor pleasant. Delighted and pleased with those feelings, appropriates them. To him delighted, pleased and appropriating those feelings arise interest. That interest for feelings is the holding (*12) To him holding, there is being, from being arises birth, from birth decay and death, grief, lament, unpleasantness, displeasure and distress, thus arises the complete mass of unpleasntness.
http://www.vipassana.info/037-culatanha ... tta-e1.htm


So every time there is aversion, there is holding and birth


seems so :reading:
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Re: the great rebirth debate

Post by reflection » Fri Jul 05, 2013 8:55 pm

clw_uk wrote: Didnt Buddha teach that "I am" comes to be due to clinging, so therefore there is "birth" millions of times a day?
Hi,

I am undoubtedly going in circles here, but it's together with you, so I don't mind. We keep each other company. ;) And as you can probably understand, I don't feel like reading the entire topic.

BlackBird and I continued our little conversation via PM, and one thing that came up is that "birth" is not the birth of I am, as very clearly defined in the following sutta which is appropriately named "Analysis of Dependent Co-arising". For clarity I also included aging and death, which we can very clearly also interpret literally.
"Now what is aging and death? Whatever aging, decrepitude, brokenness, graying, wrinkling, decline of life-force, weakening of the faculties of the various beings in this or that group of beings, that is called aging. Whatever deceasing, passing away, breaking up, disappearance, dying, death, completion of time, break up of the aggregates, casting off of the body, interruption in the life faculty of the various beings in this or that group of beings, that is called death.

"And what is birth? Whatever birth, taking birth, descent (into the mother's womb), coming-to-be, coming-forth, appearance of aggregates, & acquisition of [sense] media of the various beings in this or that group of beings, that is called birth.
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html
Now, I don't really care if people take on a meaning of 'birth' to use it as a skillful teaching. And of course I also don't mind if people don't accept rebirth. But to imply that momentary 'birth' it is what the Buddha was on about, no, that doesn't hold. The above sutta should clear that up.

:anjali:
Reflection
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Re: the great rebirth debate

Post by clw_uk » Fri Jul 05, 2013 8:58 pm

reflection wrote:
clw_uk wrote: Didnt Buddha teach that "I am" comes to be due to clinging, so therefore there is "birth" millions of times a day?
Hi,

I am undoubtedly going in circles here, but it's together with you, so I don't mind. We keep each other company. ;)

BlackBird and I continued our little conversation via PM, and one thing that came up is that "birth" is not the birth of I am, as very clearly defined in the following sutta which is appropriately named "Analysis of Dependent Co-arising". For clarity I also included aging and death, which we can very clearly also interpret literally.
"Now what is aging and death? Whatever aging, decrepitude, brokenness, graying, wrinkling, decline of life-force, weakening of the faculties of the various beings in this or that group of beings, that is called aging. Whatever deceasing, passing away, breaking up, disappearance, dying, death, completion of time, break up of the aggregates, casting off of the body, interruption in the life faculty of the various beings in this or that group of beings, that is called death.

"And what is birth? Whatever birth, taking birth, descent (into the mother's womb), coming-to-be, coming-forth, appearance of aggregates, & acquisition of [sense] media of the various beings in this or that group of beings, that is called birth.
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html
Now, I don't really care if people take on a meaning of 'birth' to use it as a skillful teaching. And of course I also don't mind if people don't accept rebirth. But to imply that momentary 'birth' it is what the Buddha was on about, no, that doesn't hold.

:anjali:
Reflection

Yet here
He seeing a form with the eye becomes greedy for a pleasant form, or averse to a disagreeable form. Abides with mindfulness of the body not established and with a limited mind. Not knowing the release of mind nor the release through wisdom as it really is, where thoughts of demerit cease completely (*11). He falls to the path of agreeing and disagreeing and feels whatever feeling, pleasant, unpleasant, or neither unpleasant nor pleasant. Delighted and pleased with those feelings he appropriates them. To him delighted, pleased and appropriating those feelings arises interest. That interest for feelings is the holding (* 12) To him holding, there is being, from being arises birth, from birth decay and death, grief, lament, unpleasantness, displeasure and distress, thus arises the complete mass of unpleasantness. Hearing a sound with the ear, cognising a smell with the nose, cognising a taste with the tongue, cognising a touch with the body, cognising an idea with the mind, becomes greedy for a pleasant idea. Becomes averse to a disagreeable idea. Abides with mindfulness of the body not established and with a limited mind. Not knowing the release of mind nor the release through wisdom as it really is. Not knowing how thoughts of demerit cease completely. He falls to the path of agreeing and disagreeing and feels whatever feeling, pleasant, unpleasant, or neither unpleasant nor pleasant. Delighted and pleased with those feelings, appropriates them. To him delighted, pleased and appropriating those feelings arise interest. That interest for feelings is the holding (*12) To him holding, there is being, from being arises birth, from birth decay and death, grief, lament, unpleasantness, displeasure and distress, thus arises the complete mass of unpleasntness.
http://www.vipassana.info/037-culatanha ... tta-e1.htm

Dependent Origination is clearly stated as occurring in moment, every time there is holding to feelings
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