The Danger of Rebirth

Exploring Theravāda's connections to other paths. What can we learn from other traditions, religions and philosophies?
meindzai
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Re: The Danger of Rebirth

Post by meindzai » Wed Feb 17, 2010 1:05 pm

nschauer wrote:Great discussion by all - learned lots from following this thread.
However, I'm still inclined to simply dismiss the idea of rebirth - much as I would the idea of Christ being resurrected.
The way I understand rebirth is how it happens in my own life. I was reborn from child to teenager, teenager to young man, young man to adult and now to old geezer. Furthermore, I am reborn each time I reawaken myself from delusion, aversion ect. I am reborn each time I awake to mindfulness. Thus the goal of not being reborn makes sense to me - because it will mean the end of delusion - becoming fully mindful.

Does this make sense?

Nate
That works for some people, but it's not what the Buddha taught. The phrase that shows up in the pali translates variously as "upon the dissolution of the body after death" or "upon the breakup of the body after death. Google search results here: http://www.google.com/search?source=ig& ... f&aqi=&oq=" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

-M

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Re: The Danger of Rebirth

Post by chownah » Wed Feb 17, 2010 1:41 pm

Annapurna wrote: 3. If you claim that :quote: laity is too silly to grasp the Dhamma, then you would also be too :quote: silly, since you're laity, or not?
I think that many members of the laity today are much more sophisticated in regards to world view than were the run of the mill laity in the Buddha's time.....the laity of today can mostly read and write and have access to a world of knowledge that even the most highly educated person of the Buddha's time could not even imagine......
chownah

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Re: The Danger of Rebirth

Post by meindzai » Wed Feb 17, 2010 3:08 pm

chownah wrote:
Annapurna wrote: 3. If you claim that :quote: laity is too silly to grasp the Dhamma, then you would also be too :quote: silly, since you're laity, or not?
I think that many members of the laity today are much more sophisticated in regards to world view than were the run of the mill laity in the Buddha's time.....the laity of today can mostly read and write and have access to a world of knowledge that even the most highly educated person of the Buddha's time could not even imagine......
chownah
Knowledge which has only hindered us when it comes to awakening.

-M

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Re: The Danger of Rebirth

Post by Bhikkhu Pesala » Wed Feb 17, 2010 4:34 pm

chownah wrote:the laity of today can mostly read and write and have access to a world of knowledge that even the most highly educated person of the Buddha's time could not even imagine......
Lots more views and opinions to get rid of, hence far fewer people are getting enlightened today than did in the Buddha's time.
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Re: The Danger of Rebirth

Post by Aloka » Wed Feb 17, 2010 9:38 pm

.

Regarding the topic title, please someone correct me if I'm wrong, but I was under the impression that the suttas say 'reappearance'' and 'birth' and not re -birth.



:anjali: Aloka

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Re: The Danger of Rebirth

Post by Virgo » Wed Feb 17, 2010 9:38 pm

Bhikkhu Pesala wrote:
chownah wrote:the laity of today can mostly read and write and have access to a world of knowledge that even the most highly educated person of the Buddha's time could not even imagine......
Lots more views and opinions to get rid of, hence far fewer people are getting enlightened today than did in the Buddha's time.
Well said Bhante!

I hope you are well.

Kevin

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Re: The Danger of Rebirth

Post by Bhikkhu Pesala » Thu Feb 18, 2010 7:14 am

Aloka wrote:Regarding the topic title, please someone correct me if I'm wrong, but I was under the impression that the suttas say 'reappearance'' and 'birth' and not re -birth.
The Pali texts use the word "punabhavo" — becoming again, rebecoming, or rebirth. Why quibble over the term "rebirth"?

In the Dhammapada verse it says that on the dawn of his Enlightenment the Buddha decared:
Anekajātisaṃsāraṃ, sandhāvissaṃ anibbisaṃ.
Gahakāraṃ gavesanto, dukkhā jāti punappunaṃ.
Dukkhā jāti punappunaṃ = painful is birth again and again.

No matter which way you twist it, being born again and again means rebirth. If one is reborn in celestial realms, as a hungry ghost, or in hell, there is no birth from a womb. "Reappearance" might be more accurate, as birth in those realms is by way of spontaneous arising (opapātika). Rebirth would be more accurate for repeated birth in the animal or human realms.
Opapātika (p. 168) (adj.) [fr. upapatti; the BSk. form is a curious distortion of the P. form, viz. aupapāduka Av. Ś II.89; Divy 300, 627, 649] arisen or reborn without visible cause (i. e. without parents), spontaneous rebirth (Kvu trsl. 2832), apparitional rebirth
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Re: The Danger of Rebirth

Post by Sanghamitta » Thu Feb 18, 2010 9:20 am

I have this conviction that there are Buddhist terms that we should not attempt to translate from the Pali because translating them causes more problems than it solves.
Dhamma, Kamma, Buddha ( which we dont usually translate ) Dukkha etc. High on the list would be Punabhavo. So many of the sometimes emotional discussions about "rebirth " which happen on Buddhist websites are actually to do with poor or uninternalised understanding of the concepts around Punabhavo.
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Re: The Danger of Rebirth

Post by Paññāsikhara » Thu Feb 18, 2010 10:48 am

I think that the problem is not so much a matter to be solved by "don't translate", but by simply having a deeper and correct understanding of these terms. Any fool can start a website, or even write a book. Many people who have no discernment in their choice of study material will be deceived, almost willingly. We should support those with clear understanding, promote their writings and material. In this way, correct understanding will prevail.
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Re: The Danger of Rebirth

Post by retrofuturist » Thu Feb 18, 2010 10:59 am

Greetings venerable Paññāsikhara,

Do you have any examples in either category (i.e. those to be promoted vs those not) to recommend?

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: The Danger of Rebirth

Post by Sanghamitta » Thu Feb 18, 2010 11:39 am

Paññāsikhara wrote:I think that the problem is not so much a matter to be solved by "don't translate", but by simply having a deeper and correct understanding of these terms. Any fool can start a website, or even write a book. Many people who have no discernment in their choice of study material will be deceived, almost willingly. We should support those with clear understanding, promote their writings and material. In this way, correct understanding will prevail.
Take the example of "Dukkha" there simply is no English equivilant is there ? Far better in my book for us to learn key terms by seeing and using them in context, than drift away from the meaning in a never ending game of Chinese whispers. I am not saying that suttas and commentaries should remain untranslated, but that we should be cautious about being too swift to translate key terms. Some of the unpacking work should be ours, because that is the only way to internalise those concepts.
The going for refuge is the door of entrance to the teachings of the Buddha.

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Re: The Danger of Rebirth

Post by Bhikkhu Pesala » Thu Feb 18, 2010 12:13 pm

I think we need to translate every Pali word, but the readers need to be reminded that it is a translation. My policy is to give the Pali term in parentheses the first time it is used, but not thereafter. I sometimes add a glossary or index with Pali terms.

I have spent a great deal of my time editing works that had supposedly been translated from Burmese discourses to English, but which were so full of Pali terms as to be unreadable for anyone who was not already well-versed in Buddhism.

When purchasing antiques or precious gems the onus is on the buyer to ensure that what is on offer is genuine.
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Re: The Danger of Rebirth

Post by Sanghamitta » Thu Feb 18, 2010 3:50 pm

So Bhante how do you generally translate Dukkha ?
The going for refuge is the door of entrance to the teachings of the Buddha.

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Re: The Danger of Rebirth

Post by Bhikkhu Pesala » Thu Feb 18, 2010 9:44 pm

The translation “suffering” is a very unsatisfactory translation for the Pali term “dukkha.” Although the term does embrace all kinds of obvious suffering like physical pain, mental sorrow, and grief, it means much more. Even pleasure and joy are dukkha, because they are subject to instability, must be striven for, and are the cause of grief when they change. I trasnslate the term “dukkha” as “unsatisfactoriness” in most places, but as suffering when the context demands it.
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meindzai
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Re: The Danger of Rebirth

Post by meindzai » Thu Feb 18, 2010 10:10 pm

People don't seem to like Thanissaro Bhikkhu's translation to "stress," but he gives a few reasons why he uses it instead of suffering. First, as Bhikkhu Pesala pointed out, dukkha is too specific. Stress can be in any kind of activity, including the most sublime and blissful states of meditation - something which people would hardly describe as "suffering." The other main reason was that "stress" is harder to romanticize than suffering. People claim to suffer for this or that reason (love, art, whatever), or attribute some sort of nobility to their suffering, but you never hear anybody talk about "my noble stress."

In the "Pali Word a Day" from Buddhanet.net (http://www.buddhanet.net/pdf_file/paliwordday.pdf" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;) they break down dukkha as du = difficult / +kha (to endure)

But "du" and "kha" don't seem to translate quite that way when I try it in the online PTS pali dictionary.

Du

Du3 ( -- ˚) (adj. -- suff.) [Sk. druha, druh, see duhana & duhitika] hurting, injuring, acting perfidiously, betraying, only in mitta˚ deceiving one's friends S i.225; Sn 244 expl. as mitta -- dūbhaka SnA 287, v. l. B mittadussaka; cp. mitta -- dubbhika & mitta -- dubbhin.


Kha

Kha syllable & ending, functioning also as root, meaning "void, empty" or as n. meaning "space"; expld. by Bdhgh with ref. to dukkha as "khaŋ saddo pana tucche; tucchaŋ hi ākāsaŋ khan ti vuccati" Vism 494. -- In meaning "space, sky" in cpd. khaga "sky -- goer" (cp. viha -- ga of same meaning), i. e. bird Abhp 624; Bdhd 56

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