Rebirth mechanics

A discussion on all aspects of Theravāda Buddhism

Re: Rebirth mechanics

Postby Rhino » Sun Jul 19, 2009 10:05 am

mikenz66 wrote:
Rhino wrote:I Agree. As I know the Buddha never taught the mechanics of rebirth. He said as long as there are ignorance and craving there is rebirth. ...

There is plenty of detail in the Abhidhamma.

I know that many Theravadins belief that the Abhidhamma was taught by the Buddha. I do not.
Please don't take it as offense. It's just my personal opinion. :|

nathan wrote:
Rhino wrote:[...]
"The [precise working out of the] results of kamma...
[...]

AN 4.77

A small point of order. The question is to the 'causes of' not the 'results of'.

Isn't there a depending relationship between seeing the 'causes of' and 'results of' kamma? Can someone see the causes of rebirth without seeing the results of it? Can someone see the results of rebirth without seeing the causes of it?
With best wishes

Only in a vertical view, straight down into the abyss of his own personal existence, is a man capable of apprehending the perilous insecurity of his situation; and only a man who does apprehend this is prepared to listen to the Buddha's Teaching.
Nanavira Thera - Notes on Dhamma
User avatar
Rhino
 
Posts: 143
Joined: Mon Jun 01, 2009 3:09 pm
Location: Germany

Re: Rebirth mechanics

Postby nathan » Sun Jul 19, 2009 5:24 pm

Rhino wrote:
mikenz66 wrote:
Rhino wrote:I Agree. As I know the Buddha never taught the mechanics of rebirth. He said as long as there are ignorance and craving there is rebirth. ...

There is plenty of detail in the Abhidhamma.

I know that many Theravadins belief that the Abhidhamma was taught by the Buddha. I do not.
Please don't take it as offense. It's just my personal opinion. :|

nathan wrote:
Rhino wrote:[...]
"The [precise working out of the] results of kamma...
[...]

AN 4.77

A small point of order. The question is to the 'causes of' not the 'results of'.

Isn't there a depending relationship between seeing the 'causes of' and 'results of' kamma? Can someone see the causes of rebirth without seeing the results of it? Can someone see the results of rebirth without seeing the causes of it?
Well if the Buddha didn't provide the Abhidhamma, I'd like to thank whoever did. Thanks, to whoever. I don't, btw, have any use for 'beliefs' whatsoever but the Abhidhamma has endless utility for my purposes.

Ok, causality.
We are, each of us, results, whether we see that or not. So, there you go. We are also causes whether we see that or not, so there you go again. How much anyone actually sees, is a question of actually looking into it instead of just believing stuff, thinking about stuff, arguing stuff or what have you.
:anjali:
upekkha
But whoever walking, standing, sitting, or lying down overcomes thought, delighting in the stilling of thought: he's capable, a monk like this, of touching superlative self-awakening. § 110. {Iti 4.11; Iti 115}
nathan
 
Posts: 692
Joined: Sat Feb 07, 2009 3:11 am

Re: Rebirth mechanics

Postby kc2dpt » Sun Jul 19, 2009 7:35 pm

nathan wrote:
Rhino wrote:"The [precise working out of the] results of kamma...
A small point of order. The question is to the 'causes of' not the 'results of'.

A smaller point of order. The question is to the causes of rebirth. Rebirth is taught to be the result of karma. ;)
- Peter

Be heedful and you will accomplish your goal.
User avatar
kc2dpt
 
Posts: 956
Joined: Thu Jan 01, 2009 3:48 pm

Re: Rebirth mechanics

Postby nathan » Mon Jul 20, 2009 7:40 pm

Peter wrote:
nathan wrote:
Rhino wrote:"The [precise working out of the] results of kamma...
A small point of order. The question is to the 'causes of' not the 'results of'.

A smaller point of order. The question is to the causes of rebirth. Rebirth is taught to be the result of karma. ;)
Kamma is of two kinds, causal and resultant.
:anjali:
But whoever walking, standing, sitting, or lying down overcomes thought, delighting in the stilling of thought: he's capable, a monk like this, of touching superlative self-awakening. § 110. {Iti 4.11; Iti 115}
nathan
 
Posts: 692
Joined: Sat Feb 07, 2009 3:11 am

Re: Rebirth mechanics

Postby Jason » Wed Jul 22, 2009 4:49 am

Stefan,

Stefan wrote:How does consciousness pass from one body to the next at the moment of rebirth? Is it similar to how radio waves travel through air from one emitter to the receiver?


In Theravada (as far as I understand it at least), the literal interpretation of rebirth is viewed as an instantaneous process whereby the last consciousness of a being at the time of death immediately conditions the arising of a new consciousness (kind of like "spooky action at a distance" where two entangled particles communicate with each other instantaneously, even over great distances).

According to the teachings on dependent origination — a process of conditionality that's understood to occur moment to moment and over multiple lifetimes (non-literalists simply disregard the "three-life" model, e.g., see Paticcasamuppada: Practical Dependent Origination) — if there are sufficient conditions present, those conditions with inevitably result in future births (SN 12.35). Along with consciousness, craving (tahna) plays a vital role in the renewal of beings and the production of future births.

To illustrate how craving could result in future births, the Buddha used a simile in which he compared the sustenance of a flame to that of a being at the time of death. Essentially, a flame burns in dependence on its fuel, and that fuel sustains it. When a flame burns in dependence on wood, for example, the wood sustains that flame. However, when a flame is swept up and carried away by the wind, the fuel of wind sustains that flame until it lands upon a new source of fuel. In the same way, a being at the time of death has the fuel of craving as its sustenance (SN 44.9).

The last consciousness of a being at the time of death, with the presence of craving, is the cause for the arising of a new consciousness. In the human realm, this would be in combination with the union of a healthy sperm and egg (MN 38), although the Buddha often mentioned various other forms of birth in other realms of existence. Hence, the Buddha states: "Wherever there is a basis for consciousness, there is support for the establishing of consciousness. When consciousness is established and has come to growth, there is the production of renewed existence" (SN 12.38). The Buddha never really got more specific than that, though.

Also, if I die in Europe, is it possible to be reborn in, say, Japan?


Yes.

Jason
"Sabbe dhamma nalam abhinivesaya" (AN 7.58).

leaves in the hand (Buddhist-related blog)
leaves in the forest (non-Buddhist related blog)
User avatar
Jason
 
Posts: 469
Joined: Sun Jan 04, 2009 1:09 am
Location: Earth

Re: Rebirth mechanics

Postby Ben » Wed Jul 22, 2009 9:38 am

Hi Jason
Would you be so kind as to provide evidence from the Nikayas that rebirth is instantaneous?
Thanks

Ben
"One cannot step twice into the same river, nor can one grasp any mortal substance in a stable condition, but it scatters and again gathers; it forms and dissolves, and approaches and departs."

- Heraclitus


Compassionate Hands Foundation (Buddhist aid in Myanmar) • Buddhist Global ReliefUNHCR
Buddhist Life Stories of Australia

e: ben.dhammawheel@gmail.com
User avatar
Ben
Site Admin
 
Posts: 16139
Joined: Wed Dec 31, 2008 12:49 am
Location: Land of the sleeping gods

Re: Rebirth mechanics

Postby Macavity » Wed Jul 22, 2009 12:01 pm

Ben wrote:Hi Jason
Would you be so kind as to provide evidence from the Nikayas that rebirth is instantaneous?
Thanks

Ben


    Then the first yakkha, ignoring the second yakkha, gave Ven. Sariputta a blow on the head. And with that blow he might have knocked over an elephant seven or eight cubits tall, or split a rocky crag. But right there the yakkha — yelling, "I'm burning!" — fell into the Great Hell.

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/kn/ud/ud.4.04.than.html

As far as I know, in the Suttas all the rebirth stories are like this. I have never read any Sutta where beings die and then turn into mysterious and inscrutable spooks who have to hang around in a Bardo waiting room, or go searching for a couple making love, before they can be reborn.

Kind regards,
Ciarán
User avatar
Macavity
 
Posts: 110
Joined: Thu Jul 09, 2009 11:36 am
Location: Thailand

Re: Rebirth mechanics

Postby Stephen K » Wed Jul 22, 2009 1:10 pm

Thanks all!
With metta,
Upāsaka Sumana
User avatar
Stephen K
 
Posts: 785
Joined: Sat Jan 10, 2009 2:53 pm

Re: Rebirth mechanics

Postby Jason » Wed Jul 22, 2009 1:51 pm

Ben wrote:Hi Jason
Would you be so kind as to provide evidence from the Nikayas that rebirth is instantaneous?
Thanks

Ben


Ben,

As far as I know, there's nothing in the Nikayas that explicitly mentions this, but it's the official Theravada position as the idea of an intermediate state was rejected at the Council of Patali. I'm sure it's in the Kathavatthu, and possibly in the commentaries somewhere, but beyond that I can't give you an exact reference.

Jason
Last edited by Jason on Wed Jul 22, 2009 2:10 pm, edited 1 time in total.
"Sabbe dhamma nalam abhinivesaya" (AN 7.58).

leaves in the hand (Buddhist-related blog)
leaves in the forest (non-Buddhist related blog)
User avatar
Jason
 
Posts: 469
Joined: Sun Jan 04, 2009 1:09 am
Location: Earth

Re: Rebirth mechanics

Postby kc2dpt » Wed Jul 22, 2009 2:10 pm

Ben wrote:Hi Jason
Would you be so kind as to provide evidence from the Nikayas that rebirth is instantaneous?
Thanks

Ben

Ben,
I'm sure you are fully aware of the evidence that rebirth is instantaneous.
I'm sure you are also aware of the evidence that rebirth is not instantaneous.
I don't see any benefit in re-introducing that debate here.
As Jason said, instantaneous rebirth is the traditionally taught Theravada position, something I'm sure you are also already aware of.

If for some strange reason you are in fact unfamiliar with this debate, I'm sure there are other threads covering it in detail.
- Peter

Be heedful and you will accomplish your goal.
User avatar
kc2dpt
 
Posts: 956
Joined: Thu Jan 01, 2009 3:48 pm

Previous

Return to General Theravāda discussion

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: SarathW and 14 guests