However, it is just one piece of the puzzle.
No doubt you can remember that you once were a little boy. You are not anylonger, and yet your past meets your presense in one point, just like all spokes meet in a hub.[/quote]
Actually, I wasn't agnostic about rebirth in the beginning. I was skeptical when I first became interested in Buddhism, and then later took it on faith that it was true based upon a literal interpretation of everything I read in the Suttas and the influence of traditionalists. My faith, however, didn't prevent me from also having an open mind and exploring the subject in more detail. My agnosticism actually arose from years of study and contemplation of both the suttas and what modern science has to say about the way the brain appears to work. As I now see no reason to force myself to have faith in the reality of things that I can't possibly know to be true, I find it to be an appropriate position to take.
And yes, I can remember things from when I was around 6 or 7, but I certainly can't remember anything from a 'previous life,' and memories of past events in this life does little prove or even suggest that this is just one of many successive lives. Of course, it's quite possible that I do have such memories and I simply can't access them, but then, that's why I'm agnostic on the subject.
But Jason, then you are not naming the kid by it's real name.
Why should I call Micky mouse Donald Duck?
Buddha spoke of post-mortem rebirth:http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .nymo.html
4. "I do not understand the detailed meaning of Master Gotama's utterance spoken in brief without expounding the detailed meaning. It would be good if Master Gotama taught me the Dhamma so that I might understand the detailed meaning of Master Gotama's utterance spoken in brief without expounding the detailed meaning."
"Then listen, student, and heed well what I shall say."
"Even so, Master Gotama," Subha the student replied. The Blessed One said this:
5. "Here, student, some woman or man is a killer of living beings, murderous, bloody-handed, given to blows and violence, merciless to living beings. Due to having performed and completed such kammas, on the dissolution of the body, after death, he reappears in a state of deprivation, in an unhappy destination, in perdition, in hell. If, on the dissolution of the body, after death, instead of his reappearing in a state of deprivation, in an unhappy destination, in perdition, in hell, he comes to the human state, he is short-lived wherever he is reborn. This is the way that leads to short life, that is to say, to be a killer of living beings, murderous, bloody-handed, given to blows and violence, merciless to living beings.
After death, after the dissolution of the body, he reappears.
Any more clear, simple and direct it can't be said.
IF there is a difficulty to understand or accept is, faith could come into the picture.
The Buddha said himself, that some people will understand the Dhamma at once, if it is explained to them, some will grasp a lot but not all, and some will not get it, butwill have faith and live according to the teachings.
This, Master Gotama explained, would bring them into a good next rebirth where they will grasp it.
He spoke about punabhava, literally 'again becoming.' The way I understand it, Becoming (bhava
) is a mental process, which arises due to the presence of clinging (upadana
) in the mind with regard to the five-clinging aggregates, and acts as a condition for the birth (jati
) of the conceit 'I am,' the self-identification that designates a being (satta
There's rarely a moment when the mind isn't clinging to this or that in one or more of the four ways (MN 11
). Our identity jumps from one thing to another, wherever the clinging is strongest. Our sense of self is something which is always in flux, ever-changing from moment to moment in response to various internal and external stimuli, and yet at the same time, we tend to see it as a static thing. It's as if our sense of self desires permanence, but its very nature causes it to change every second. As the Buddha warns in SN 12.61
"It would be better for the uninstructed run-of-the-mill person to hold to the body composed of the four great elements, rather than the mind, as the self. Why is that? Because this body composed of the four great elements is seen standing for a year, two years, three, four, five, ten, twenty, thirty, forty, fifty, a hundred years or more. But what's called 'mind,' 'intellect,' or 'consciousness' by day and by night arises as one thing and ceases as another. Just as a monkey, swinging through a forest wilderness, grabs a branch. Letting go of it, it grabs another branch. Letting go of that, it grabs another one. Letting go of that, it grabs another one. In the same way, what's called 'mind,' 'intellect,' or 'consciousness' by day and by night arises as one thing and ceases as another.
Change is, of course, a fact of nature. All things are in a perpetual state of change, but the problem is that our sense of self ignores this reality on a certain level. From birth to death, we have the tendency to think that this 'I' remains the same. Now, we might know that some things have changed (e.g., our likes and dislikes, our age, the amount of wrinkles we have, etc.), but we still feel as if we're still 'us.' We have the illusion (for lack of a better word) that our identity is who we are, a static entity named [fill in the blank], and we tend to perceive this as being the same throughout our lives.
That said, the conventional use of personality is a function of survival, as well as convenience. However, clinging to our personalities as 'me' or 'mine' is seen as giving continued fuel for becoming, i.e., a mental process of taking on a particular kind of identity that arises out of clinging. Our sense of self, the ephemeral 'I,' is merely a mental imputation — the product of what the Buddha called a process of 'I-making' and 'my-making' — and when we cling to our sense of self as being 'me' or 'mine' in some way, we're clinging to an impermanent representation of something that we've deluded ourselves into thinking is fixed and stable. It becomes a sort of false refuge that's none of these things.
So regardless if postmortem rebirth is true, this process of 'I-making' and 'my-making' can be seen here and now, and it's the stilling of this mental process that leads to freedom, liberation, awakening.[/quote]
What I remember most from your post is, that you were sceptical aboutr rebirth from the start and it doesn't seem to have changed much. You still have the same issues. Correct?
I didn't. It convinced me, it made sense, it was the most logical thing I had ever heard, it explained the whole Dhamma to me, and only with rebirth kamma made sense.
Think about it.
Do you think that Hitler's kamma for killing millions of people is leveled by taking a f### cyankali pill?
So, where will all this kamma go?
Where is Hitler's kamma going to get 'burned up' if not in future lives? Obviously, this life is over....! So it can't be done here!!
So where is the rest supposed to take place?
As Buddha described in one of the 6 realms? Or where...?
So, if you don't accept literal rebirth, are you also...sorry.... denying the 6 realms? Since rebirth is so crucial for the rest of the Dhamma, can you leave it out?
Is it not wing-clipping the Dhamma....? I don't mind if people follow the rest of the Dhamma, then it is fine with me. If they argue that they get tangible results this way, fine, I do too.
But: The senses are not all. Or are they?
I'm ok with it when people say: I don't know. There are a lot of things i don't know, but I love it when people make an effort to help me understand it!
We all need first hand experience to know, sure. And we can't always have it....
Denying things only for the reason that we haven't seen or felt them yet would be a fatal mistake though.
I would like to use an example here:
Despite a very high IQ (sorry, no attempt to brag) I am not able to understand calculus. Perhaps it wasn't explained to me properly, but the girl sitting next to me in school grasped it, so I think I am the problem.
However, she didn't understand things that I understood at first sight.
I think it is the same with Buddhism.
You either get something, or you don't.
You can work on it, but if you will ever truly understand it and if you are ever truly able to practice some virtues depends on how hard you work and
what you brought into this life .
And from where?
It's your kamma that brought you where you are, or not?
Always keep in mind, no personal attack intended, althouhgh I may debate hard.
PS: I would like to get a reply from Jason.[/quote]
Here is the post reproduced in full to prevent editing.