Is rebirth a Buddhist teaching?

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Is rebirth a Buddhist teaching?

Postby SarathW » Thu May 29, 2014 10:56 am

Is rebirth a Buddhist teaching?
Did Buddha teach about rebirth?
If not why do we waste so much time on rebirth debate?

This question is based on:
===================

The Buddha refused to have any dealings with those things which don't lead to the extinction of Dukkha. Take the question of whether or not there is rebirth. What is reborn? How is it reborn? What is its kammic inheritance? (kamma-is volitional action by means of body, speech or mind.) These questions are not aimed at the extinction of Dukkha. That being so, they are not Buddhist teaching and they are not connected with it. They do not lie in the sphere of Buddhism.
...................

Therefore, there being no one born here, there is no one who dies and is reborn. So, the whole question of rebirth is utterly foolish and nothing to do with Buddhism at all.


http://www.budsas.org/ebud/ebdha193.htm
:reading:
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Re: Is rebirth a Buddhist teaching?

Postby culaavuso » Thu May 29, 2014 4:22 pm

MN 2: Sabbasava Sutta wrote:This is how he attends inappropriately: 'Was I in the past? Was I not in the past? What was I in the past? How was I in the past? Having been what, what was I in the past? Shall I be in the future? Shall I not be in the future? What shall I be in the future? How shall I be in the future? Having been what, what shall I be in the future?' Or else he is inwardly perplexed about the immediate present: 'Am I? Am I not? What am I? How am I? Where has this being come from? Where is it bound?'


MN 117: Maha-cattarisaka Sutta wrote:And what is right view? Right view, I tell you, is of two sorts: There is right view with effluents, siding with merit, resulting in acquisitions [of becoming]; there is right view that is noble, without effluents, transcendent, a factor of the path.

And what is the right view with effluents, siding with merit, resulting in acquisitions? 'There is what is given, what is offered, what is sacrificed. There are fruits & results of good & bad actions. There is this world & the next world. There is mother & father. There are spontaneously reborn beings; there are contemplatives & brahmans who, faring rightly & practicing rightly, proclaim this world & the next after having directly known & realized it for themselves.' This is the right view with effluents, siding with merit, resulting in acquisitions.

And what is the right view that is noble, without effluents, transcendent, a factor of the path? The discernment, the faculty of discernment, the strength of discernment, analysis of qualities as a factor for awakening, the path factor of right view in one developing the noble path whose mind is noble, whose mind is without effluents, who is fully possessed of the noble path. This is the right view that is noble, without effluents, transcendent, a factor of the path.


MN 9: Sammaditthi Sutta wrote:And what is birth? What is the origination of birth? What is the cessation of birth? What is the way of practice leading to the cessation of birth?

Whatever birth, taking birth, descent, coming-to-be, coming-forth, appearance of aggregates, & acquisition of [sense] spheres of the various beings in this or that group of beings, that is called birth.

From the origination of becoming comes the origination of birth. From the cessation of becoming comes the cessation of birth. And the way of practice leading to the cessation of birth is just this very noble eightfold path: right view, right resolve, right speech, right action, right livelihood, right effort, right mindfulness, right concentration.


MN 4: Bhaya-bherava Sutta wrote:When the mind was thus concentrated, purified, bright, unblemished, rid of defilement, pliant, malleable, steady, & attained to imperturbability, I directed it to the knowledge of recollecting my past lives. I recollected my manifold past lives, i.e., one birth, two... five, ten... fifty, a hundred, a thousand, a hundred thousand, many eons of cosmic contraction, many eons of cosmic expansion, many eons of cosmic contraction & expansion: 'There I had such a name, belonged to such a clan, had such an appearance. Such was my food, such my experience of pleasure & pain, such the end of my life. Passing away from that state, I re-arose there. There too I had such a name, belonged to such a clan, had such an appearance. Such was my food, such my experience of pleasure & pain, such the end of my life. Passing away from that state, I re-arose here.' Thus I remembered my manifold past lives in their modes & details.
...
When the mind was thus concentrated, purified, bright, unblemished, rid of defilement, pliant, malleable, steady, & attained to imperturbability, I directed it to the knowledge of the passing away & reappearance of beings. I saw — by means of the divine eye, purified & surpassing the human — beings passing away & re-appearing, and I discerned how they are inferior & superior, beautiful & ugly, fortunate & unfortunate in accordance with their kamma: 'These beings — who were endowed with bad conduct of body, speech & mind, who reviled noble ones, held wrong views and undertook actions under the influence of wrong views — with the break-up of the body, after death, have re-appeared in the plane of deprivation, the bad destination, the lower realms, in hell. But these beings — who were endowed with good conduct of body, speech, & mind, who did not revile noble ones, who held right views and undertook actions under the influence of right views — with the break-up of the body, after death, have re-appeared in the good destinations, in the heavenly world.' Thus — by means of the divine eye, purified & surpassing the human — I saw beings passing away & re-appearing, and I discerned how they are inferior & superior, beautiful & ugly, fortunate & unfortunate in accordance with their kamma.


SN 22.86: Anuradha Sutta wrote:Both formerly & now, it is only stress that I describe, and the cessation of stress.


SN 56.31: Simsapa Sutta wrote:"The leaves in the hand of the Blessed One are few in number, lord. Those overhead in the simsapa forest are more numerous."

"In the same way, monks, those things that I have known with direct knowledge but have not taught are far more numerous [than what I have taught]. And why haven't I taught them? Because they are not connected with the goal, do not relate to the rudiments of the holy life, and do not lead to disenchantment, to dispassion, to cessation, to calm, to direct knowledge, to self-awakening, to Unbinding. That is why I have not taught them."


The Truth of Rebirth And Why it Matters for Buddhist Practice by Ven. Thanissaro Bhikkhu wrote:On the other hand, when you assume both the efficacy of action and its effect on rebirth, you are more likely to behave skillfully. To assume otherwise makes it easy to find excuses for lying, killing, or stealing when faced with poverty or death. And from there it's easy to extend the excuses to cover times when it's simply more convenient to lie, etc., than to not. But if you assume that your actions have results, and those results will reverberate through many lifetimes, it's easier to stick to your principles not to lie, kill, or steal even under severe duress. And even though you may not know whether these assumptions are true, you cannot plan an action without implicitly wagering on the issue.

This is why simply stating, "I don't know," is not an adequate response to the questions of rebirth and the efficacy of karma. The attitude behind it may be honest on one level, but it's dishonest in thinking that this is all that needs to be said, for it ignores the fact that you have to make assumptions about the possible results of your actions every time you act.
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Re: Is rebirth a Buddhist teaching?

Postby David N. Snyder » Thu May 29, 2014 4:57 pm

Digha Nikaya 1 wrote:"He recalls to mind his various temporary states in days gone by; one birth, or two or three or four or five births, 10 or 20, 30 or 50, a 100 or a 1,000 or a 100,000 births, through many cycles of cosmic contraction and cosmic expansion . . .

. . . he recollects his numerous past lives: that is, (he recollects) one birth, two, three, four, or five births; ten, twenty, thirty, forty, or fifty births; a hundred, a thousand, or a hundred thousand births; many hundreds of births, many thousands of births, many hundreds of thousands of births. (He recalls:) 'Then I had such a name, belonged to such a clan, had such an appearance; such was my food, such my experience of pleasure and pain, such my span of life. Passing away thence, I re-arose there. There too I had such a name, belonged to such a clan, had such an appearance; such was my food, such my experience of pleasure and pain, such my span of life. Passing away thence, I re-arose here.' Thus he recollects his numerous past lives in their modes and their details.
"
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Re: Is rebirth a Buddhist teaching?

Postby Mkoll » Thu May 29, 2014 7:55 pm

SarathW wrote:Is rebirth a Buddhist teaching?
Did Buddha teach about rebirth?
Yes. It's all over the suttas in both major traditions, Theravada and Mahayana.

SarathW wrote:If not why do we waste so much time on rebirth debate?
Because it's a contentious subject.
Peace,
James
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Re: Is rebirth a Buddhist teaching?

Postby SarathW » Fri May 30, 2014 12:17 am

Thanks all.
It seems Ven. Buddhadasa got some thing wrong!
But I see his point though.
:thinking:

Good article to read:

http://pathpress.files.wordpress.com/20 ... pplies.pdf
Last edited by SarathW on Fri May 30, 2014 12:36 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Is rebirth a Buddhist teaching?

Postby befriend » Fri May 30, 2014 12:34 am

Buddha taught wicked people about hell, so that is a teaching to eliminate dukkha.
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Re: Is rebirth a Buddhist teaching?

Postby Jetavan » Fri May 30, 2014 2:02 am

SarathW wrote: Therefore, there being no one born here, there is no one who dies and is reborn.

I'm curious. Is there a Pali canonical text that states "there is no one born; there is no one who dies"?
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Re: Is rebirth a Buddhist teaching?

Postby culaavuso » Fri May 30, 2014 2:26 am

Jetavan wrote:I'm curious. Is there a Pali canonical text that states "there is no one born; there is no one who dies"?


It is not quite a statement that "there is no one born; there is no one who dies", but there is the exchange in SN 12.35:

SN 12.35: Avijjapaccaya Sutta wrote:When this was said, a certain monk said to the Blessed One: "Which aging & death, lord? And whose is this aging & death?"

"Not a valid question," the Blessed One said. If one were to ask, 'Which aging & death? And whose is this aging & death?' and if one were to ask, 'Is aging & death one thing, and is this the aging & death of someone/something else?' both of them would have the same meaning, even though their words would differ. When there is the view that the soul is the same as the body, there isn't the leading of the holy life. And when there is the view that the soul is one thing and the body another, there isn't the leading of the holy life. Avoiding these two extremes, the Tathagata points out the Dhamma in between: From birth as a requisite condition comes aging & death."

"Which birth, lord? And whose is this birth?"

"Not a valid question," the Blessed One said... "From becoming as a requisite condition comes birth."


This is related to the discussion in SN 44.9

SN 44.9: Kutuhalasala Sutta wrote:"And at the moment when a being sets this body aside and is not yet reborn in another body, what do you designate as its sustenance then?"

"Vaccha, when a being sets this body aside and is not yet reborn in another body, I designate it as craving-sustained, for craving is its sustenance at that time."


There's a detailed discussion of the process of rebirth with various sutta references in Ven. Thanissaro Bhikkhu's introduction to MN 38: Mahatanhasankhaya Sutta.

One noteworthy quote from that introduction:

MN 38: Mahatanhasankhaya Sutta Introduction by Ven. Thanissaro Bhikkhu wrote:However, a being — in the Buddha's sense of the term — not only takes birth after the death of the body, it can also take birth, die, and be reborn many times in the course of a day — as attachment develops for one desire, ends, and then develops for another desire. This is why the processes leading to rebirth after death can be observed and redirected in the present moment during life. This is why the ability to understand and observe the processes of dependent co-arising is so important in putting an end to rebirth on all its many levels.
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Re: Is rebirth a Buddhist teaching?

Postby SarathW » Fri May 30, 2014 2:59 am

Thanks C

=======
What is reborn the caterpillar or the butterfly?
:thinking:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mQOFh1exp3A
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Re: Is rebirth a Buddhist teaching?

Postby someguysomeguy » Fri May 30, 2014 7:29 am

It is important that Past Births have already finished you cannot do much about it but Future births is what you can control (or stop the future births by becoming an Arhant).
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Re: Is rebirth a Buddhist teaching?

Postby Spiny Norman » Fri May 30, 2014 8:38 am

SarathW wrote: Therefore, there being no one born here, there is no one who dies and is reborn.


And yet babies are born and people die. It happens all the time. :rolleye:
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Re: Is rebirth a Buddhist teaching?

Postby vinasp » Fri May 30, 2014 8:39 am

Hi Jetavan,

Quote:"I'm curious. Is there a Pali canonical text that states "there is no one born; there is no one who dies"?"

There are some, such as this one from MN 140.31 - Dhatuvibhanga Sutta.

"Furthermore, a sage at peace is not born, does not age, does not die, is unagitated, and is free from longing. He has nothing whereby he would be born. Not being born, will he age? Not aging, will he die? Not dying, will he be agitated? Not being agitated, for what will he long? It was in reference to this that it was said, 'He has been stilled where the currents of construing do not flow. And when the currents of construing do not flow, he is said to be a sage at peace.' Now, monk, you should remember this, my brief analysis of the six properties."

Regards, Vincent.
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Re: Is rebirth a Buddhist teaching?

Postby manas » Fri May 30, 2014 10:47 am

SarathW wrote:
Therefore, there being no one born here, there is no one who dies and is reborn. So, the whole question of rebirth is utterly foolish and nothing to do with Buddhism at all.



Hi Sarath,

please show me even one passage from the suttas in which the Buddha is quoted as saying that "there being no one born here, there is no one who dies and is reborn", if you are able. I've never read such a statement in the suttas.

The Buddha is quoted as saying, however, that "From becoming as a requisite condition comes birth". But that's a very different kind of statement to the one you make above.

Kindly recall that just as Buddhism isn't eternalism, neither is is nihilism. If you think you don't exist, you are still caught in a variety of self-view, still obsessed with self. The Buddha, aiui, is advising us to drop all such obsessions regarding 'who or what am I?" and focus instead on dukkha, how it arises, it's cessation, and the Path leading to it's cessation.

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Re: Is rebirth a Buddhist teaching?

Postby seeker242 » Fri May 30, 2014 12:11 pm

SarathW wrote: Therefore, there being no one born here, there is no one who dies and is reborn. So, the whole question of rebirth is utterly foolish and nothing to do with Buddhism at al


A flawed argument IMO. That same reasoning could easily be used to invalidate any notion of kamma. You could replace "born" with "commit evil action" and have the same conclusion: "because there is no one committing the evil action, the whole question of kamma is utterly foolish and nothing to do with Buddhism at all". That makes no sense!

:namaste:
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Re: Is rebirth a Buddhist teaching?

Postby SarathW » Sun Jun 01, 2014 11:42 pm

Hi Manas and Seeker
Yes I agree.
By the way the quote from Ven. Buddhadas's article.
It seems he is too inclined to the idea of non existent.
:)
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Re: Is rebirth a Buddhist teaching?

Postby Spiny Norman » Mon Jun 02, 2014 9:10 am

vinasp wrote:Hi Jetavan,

Quote:"I'm curious. Is there a Pali canonical text that states "there is no one born; there is no one who dies"?"

There are some, such as this one from MN 140.31 - Dhatuvibhanga Sutta.

"Furthermore, a sage at peace is not born, does not age, does not die, is unagitated, and is free from longing. He has nothing whereby he would be born. Not being born, will he age? Not aging, will he die? Not dying, will he be agitated? Not being agitated, for what will he long? It was in reference to this that it was said, 'He has been stilled where the currents of construing do not flow. And when the currents of construing do not flow, he is said to be a sage at peace.' Now, monk, you should remember this, my brief analysis of the six properties."

Regards, Vincent.


Though as previously observed, the language of this passage is ambiguous.
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Re: Is rebirth a Buddhist teaching?

Postby vinasp » Mon Jun 02, 2014 12:03 pm

Hi Spiny,

Spiny:-"Though as previously observed, the language of this passage is ambiguous."

The language is ALWAYS ambiguous, understood in one way by ordinary men, and in another way by noble disciples.

Regards, Vincent.
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Re: Is rebirth a Buddhist teaching?

Postby Spiny Norman » Tue Jun 03, 2014 10:19 am

vinasp wrote: The language is ALWAYS ambiguous, understood in one way by ordinary men, and in another way by noble disciples.


I don't agree, Vincent. The language in many suttas is quite straightforward, the language in a few is ambiguous.
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Re: Is rebirth a Buddhist teaching?

Postby TheNoBSBuddhist » Tue Jun 03, 2014 11:06 am

Spiny Norman wrote:
vinasp wrote: The language is ALWAYS ambiguous, understood in one way by ordinary men, and in another way by noble disciples.


I don't agree, Vincent. The language in many suttas is quite straightforward, the language in a few is ambiguous.


I agree. The language is straightforward, it's the ability of the 'pupil' to understand that is different.
That's where the ambiguity lies.
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Re: Is rebirth a Buddhist teaching?

Postby Spiny Norman » Wed Jun 04, 2014 8:26 am

TheNoBSBuddhist wrote:I agree. The language is straightforward, it's the ability of the 'pupil' to understand that is different.
That's where the ambiguity lies.


The assumption is sometimes made that "noble disciples" take the teachings on rebirth in a metaphorical rather than a literal way - though I'm not at all clear what that assumption is actually based on, beyond a kind of wishful thinking.

There are a couple of suttas which seem ambiguous on the meaning of birth, ageing and death, but the majority of suttas clearly describe these as physical events - including in pivotal texts which describe the nature of dukkha and the nidana "definitions" for DO.
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