I Believe in Literal Rebirth - Poll

A discussion on all aspects of Theravāda Buddhism

I Believe in Literal Rebirth

Yes
43
57%
No
7
9%
Indifferent
8
11%
Undecided
10
13%
Meaning of Topic Unclear
7
9%
 
Total votes : 75

Re: I Believe in Literal Rebirth - Poll

Postby EricJ » Tue Aug 17, 2010 6:40 pm

First of all, I apologize for giving you the moniker "Sunshine" instead of "Sunrise" when quoting you in my previous post. I have had some tendency to conflate the two words when quoting you for some reason unbeknownst to me. This is truly my last post on this topic.

Sunrise wrote:
Birth has several different meanings as I see it. So yes, suttas can be interpreted accordingly. I don't have time to go into details about this right now but even if I had, there would be little point in it :smile:
I don't disagree with this statement, but you clearly misread the meaning of that sutta merely because it used that translation used the word 'birth.' You offered that to me as an example of why the Buddha would lie to his disciples about rebirth, when, in fact, he was talking about a completely different topic.

Sunrise wrote:Once again, as I see it, belief in rebirth is termed in the sutta as a "right view with effluents" and certainly is not an essential faith for Nibbana. I don''t understand how you came to the conclusion that noble right view only occures to enlightened beings and everyone else has right view with asava. :rolleye: But yeah, for an argument, you can interpret it that way too.
By definition, the "nibbanized" are without effluents. They are the only 'beings' who are completely devoid of effluents. Otherwise, they would be bound to samsara. This right view without effluents is precisely what has allowed the enlightened to escape the flood. Therefore, they are the only people who are capable of having right view without effluents (unless other ariyans are experience this type of "right view" which is something I'm not completely sure of). Right view without effluents is described as "transcendent," which suggests that those of us who are still bound to samsara by effluents ["These mental effluents are: the outflows of sensuality, views, becoming, and ignorance itself. They are termed 'effluents' because they 'flow' out of the habitual, deluded mind, creating the metaphoric 'flood' of samsaric birth and death.] "Right view without effluents"

Mahacatarisaka Sutta wrote:And what is the right view that is without effluents, transcendent, a factor of the path? The discernment, the faculty of discernment, the strength of discernment, analysis of qualities as a factor of Awakening, the path factor of right view in one developing the noble path whose mind is noble [e.g. an ariyan, a 'noble one'], whose mind is free from effluents ["the outflows of sensuality, views, becoming, and ignorance itself."], who is fully pos­sessed of the noble path. This is the right view that is without effluents, transcendent, a factor of the path.

Dhammapada, verse 93 wrote:Effluents ended, independent of nutriment, their pasture — emptiness & freedom without sign: their trail, like that of birds through space, can't be traced.

Sunrise wrote:As I see it, belief in rebirth is "not a factor of the path to cessation" but it is right view for morality.
The suttas suggest otherwise. The Eightfold Path is the path to awakening and it includes Right View. As I have demonstrated through excerpts from numerous suttas, the Buddha includes "this world and the other world" and "mother, father, and spontaneously reborn beings" within the scope of Right View.

Furthermore, I would say that you are fundamentally incorrect that morality is not a factor of the path to cessation.

A.V.2 wrote:Ananda, skillful conduct gives freedom from remorse as its gain and advantage; freedom from remorse gives delight as its gain and advantage; delight gives joy; joy gives tranquillity; tranquillity gives well-being; well-being gives collectedness; collectedness gives knowledge and vision of things as they really are; knowledge and vision of things as they really are gives disenchantment and dispassion; disenchantment and dispassion gives knowledge and vision of freedom as its gain and advantage. So indeed, Ananda, skillful conduct gradually leads on to the highest


Sunrise wrote:The term void in Buddhism means void of self or things belonging to self. It makes no sense to me to just say "void is the world".
It certainly made sense to the Buddha whenever he exhorted Sariputta to "look upon the world and see its emptiness (voidness)." I suggest you pay a visit to this website for a lucid description of this concept and its application as presented in the suttas: http://emptyuniverse.110mb.com

Sunrise wrote:Sounds like an entangled ball of wool to me. First you asked how the "nibbanized" have "right view" of something 'they' aren't even 'viewing' and then you say "right view with effluents" leads up to the liberating "right view without effluents."
That is because I am making a distinction between experiential, transcendental right view which is conascent with attainment and right view occuring within the confines of samsara. We develop the former to experientially realize the latter.

Sunrise wrote:Why do you need right view with effluents for Nibbana? You can practice morality whether there is kamma or not, whether there is rebirth or not. I would be a good person (a person abiding by the five precepts) even if I am born again or not, even if there is good bad kamma or not. I am practicing to abandon the "self view" arising in my mind and rebirth fantasies have very little significance in my practice if at all.
Because the Eightfold Path is integrated with right view.

Sunrise wrote:No they are not. They are relevant for morality and the mundane cultivation. Dhana (charity) and sila (moral conduct) are just preparatory stages for Bhavana (meditation and Buddhist cultivation). They are meant to prepare the mind for "letting go". You can practice charity and moral conduct without any beliefs in life after death. As I said before, I will follow a moral conduct and practice giving even if there is rebirth or not; even if there is good and bad kamma or not. That's letting go.
Sila, samadhi and panna is are integrated and mutually supportive. Samadhi and panna cannot occur without sila, and therefore, sila is absolutely relevant to realization and Unbinding.


Sunrise wrote:But as per Susima sutta, not all enlightened beings have these insights into past lives.
I would say that is because they did not develop this ability in meditation.

Sunrise wrote:This statement is easy to make but harder to explain. As you can see, you have not even attempted to describe in understandable form how it happens. Basically you are claiming that "rebirth is just another link in the samsaric matrix" but no explanation what happens when I die. A "being" dies. Then there is another body and mind process formed based on kamma? Is that what you are saying?
Essentially. An impersonal,fluxating process of causes and conditions based on ignorance which breeds kamma coalesces in the arising and passing away of beings.

Sunrise wrote:Ignorance is not realizing anicca, dukkha and anatta (not self). And you say kamma is everything we take to be "us". Taking the five aggregates as me and mine is ignorance. Are you implying kamma is ignorance? :)
That is precisely what I just said. From that essay of Ven. Bodhi's:

Sutta Nipata 11.37 wrote:"This body, O monks, is old kamma, to be seen as generated and fashioned by volition, as something to be felt..."

Bhikkhu Bodhi, Anguttara Nikaya 3.76 wrote:"'Existence, existence' is spoken of, venerable sir. In what way is there existence?" The Buddha replies: "If there were no kamma ripening in the sensory realm, no sense-sphere existence would be discerned. If there where no kamma ripening in the form realm, no form-sphere existence would be discerned. If there were no kamma ripening in the formless realm, no formless-sphere existence would be discerned. Therefore, Ananda, kamma is the field, consciousness the seed, and craving the moisture for beings obstructed by ignorance and fettered by craving to be established in a new realm of existence, either low (sense-sphere), middling (form-sphere), or high (formless-sphere)."
Everything that we ignorantly take to be us (the five aggregates) or the world in which "we" act (the eighteen dhatu) is our experience of kamma, which is fueled by ignorance.

Sunrise wrote:Kamma is input to samsara? Could you leave all this explanations and simply explain to me this. Mr. X dies today. His body remains and decays. Several years after there is a Mr. Y in so and so country and you think he is the rebirth of Mr. X. Please explain the link between X and Y. (without using candles please)
Well, no, because I would not try to figure out if "Y" is connected to "X" in the first place. Ignorance, craving, and kamma are the fuel, "the link" as you put it.

Sunrise wrote:First of all, I am not rejecting it. But I simply cannot explain it. Therefore I have decided to say "I don't know" rather than blindly believe it. It is not relevant to my practice after all.
Statements like "trust me, if you can explain to me how rebirth happens without indirectly implying the notion of a self in the process I would gladly accept it" certainly seem to imply rejection.

Sunrise wrote:All is fine, until you try to explain further how these "fluxating causes and conditions" flux after the death of Mr. X. When someone dies the rupa aggregate decays. The rest of the aggregates flux as per kamma?
If the rupa aggregate ceases, the other aggregates dependent on rupa will also cease at death. We should not take the five aggregates as fundamentally isolated phenomena (isolated as individual phenomena or isolated from samsaric environment), nor should we assume that the five aggregates are static. Rebirth is merely another change in an impersonal, interdependent process of arising and falling away, the same process which occurs here and now. Kamma, being the totality of experience (see those two suttas I quoted earlier), gives rise to selfless phenomena based in experiential ignorance. What we take to be isolated phenomena (selves, substances, etc.) are really just the coarisen totalities of causes and conditions, which are themselves the coarisen totalities of causes and conditions ad infinitum. Remove one, and this "isolated phenomena" ceases.

Whenever I say "fluxating causes and conditions" I am not merely referring to the causes and conditions within the five psychophysical aggregates. I am not proposing some sort of "person" or "psychophysical" being who exists within his environment (samsara) and acts independently of this environment. Rather, there is a fundamental interdependence between the two. The problem with materialistic views (like rebirth rejection) is that this idea is absent, in that mind and samsaric existence are taken as merely physical processes. This gives rise to other problematic views, such as a "beginning" to ignorance/samsara as well as the proposition of a Manyness (see Lokayatika Sutta), which are wrong views. It also involves a rejection of kamma, such as the idea I quoted in the Sutta Nipata that "this body is old kamma." It is also a thesis of permanence, in that death is taken as a permanent 'state.' What is permanent about death? The cessation of consciousness associated with a specific experience of the aggregates and eighteen dhatu? Does this mean that the cessation of consciousness of contact between a sense organ and sense object in daily life is death? The only 'thing' which I can think of that is described as "lasting" or "permanent" is Nibbana.

Sunrise wrote:I referred to the two links which you say explain "rebirth without notions of self" and they severely lack any considerable explanation apart from something to the effect that "it happens. The buddha said it happens but don't ask how it happens... it just happens".
I really think that this is you reading what you want to in to the articles, merely because you cannot accept that samsaric existence is dependent on factors outside of the material.



I've enjoyed our discussion. It's helped me to clarify some of my own views, so I thank you for being a part of that. That said, I feel that it would be unskillful for me to continue this discussion. I wish you the best in your practice.


Regards,
Eric
I do not want my house to be walled in on sides and my windows to be stuffed. I want the cultures of all the lands to be blown about my house as freely as possible. But I refuse to be blown off my feet by any.- Gandhi

With persistence aroused for the highest goal's attainment, with mind unsmeared, not lazy in action, firm in effort, with steadfastness & strength arisen, wander alone like a rhinoceros.

Not neglecting seclusion, absorption, constantly living the Dhamma in line with the Dhamma, comprehending the danger in states of becoming, wander alone like a rhinoceros.
- Snp. 1.3
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Re: I Believe in Literal Rebirth - Poll

Postby Sunrise » Wed Aug 18, 2010 4:04 am

EricJ wrote:I really think that this is you reading what you want to in to the articles, merely because you cannot accept that samsaric existence is dependent on factors outside of the material.


Nope. It is because you have to accept unverifiable and mysterious notions like kamma binds you to "samsara" etc. or vague statements like "things are at a continuous flux" etc. in order to explain it. These are all just stories and they do not paint a good enough picture at all. In short, you have failed to explain to me what and how is fluxed and what are the "conditions and results" specifically are.

Someone told me once that when a person dies the rupa aggregate remains and the rest of the aggregates along with some of the dhathus (air, fire) continue to flux and develop the solid rupa aggregate depending on the realm. If they flux when we live what makes me think they stop when the rups aggregate dies. For the record, that is "some" explanation. Which is why I asked you if that is what you are saying.

Also, I am not rejecting rebirth. There is a bigger possibility for it to exist than the possibility that the death is the end. However, my point is that it is irrelevant to the practice and no matter how you look at it, it is still related to the self view. The mere question "is death the end or is there a life after" is related to self view in my opinion. It will be a barrier if you entertain it too much in your mind like "where will I be born next? I do good for a favorable future rebirth etc". This kind of resoning will ultimately, as the Buddha said, lead to effluents, clinging to self. This of course is just my opinion.

Nice talking with you too.

:namaste:
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Re: I Believe in Literal Rebirth - Poll

Postby Sunrise » Wed Aug 18, 2010 4:08 am

PeterB wrote:One of the wisest remarks I have read on the topic comes from the identical poll on ZFI, where Clyde said " discussions of this topic tend to increase suffering " or words to that effect.


Unskillful discussion on any topic will lead to suffering don't you think? :tongue:
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Re: I Believe in Literal Rebirth - Poll

Postby PeterB » Wed Aug 18, 2010 7:26 am

Sunrise wrote:
PeterB wrote:One of the wisest remarks I have read on the topic comes from the identical poll on ZFI, where Clyde said " discussions of this topic tend to increase suffering " or words to that effect.


Unskillful discussion on any topic will lead to suffering don't you think? :tongue:

No doubt. I think he was implying that this particular topic invariably leads to unskillful discussion.
It has becoming a rallying call both for the True Believer and for those who are less inclined to be literal.
It leads inevitably to emotional polarization and division. With those who accept literal rebirth aghast that anyone who calls themselves Buddhist should question what seems to them to be fundamental, and those who do not overreacting to the implication that they are lesser or heretics. Or worse yet the object of pity from those whose own belief stand clearly defined by their overall lack of grasp of Buddhadhamma.
The result is suffering .
There was a thread on the Grey Forum that eventually became a byword for futility, spleen, and circular discussion. Has it been reborn here ?
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Re: I Believe in Literal Rebirth - Poll

Postby Aloka » Wed Aug 18, 2010 12:14 pm

The result is suffering .



Well no, not really if everyone is mindful and practices present moment awareness! :mrgreen:



.
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Re: I Believe in Literal Rebirth - Poll

Postby PeterB » Wed Aug 18, 2010 12:25 pm

Aloka wrote:
The result is suffering .



Well no, not really if everyone is mindful and practices present moment awareness! :mrgreen:



.

And you would see this thread as exemplifying that Aloka ?
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Re: I Believe in Literal Rebirth - Poll

Postby Vepacitta » Wed Aug 18, 2010 1:17 pm

All is pointless chasing after things under the sun ...

V.
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Re: I Believe in Literal Rebirth - Poll

Postby Sunrise » Wed Aug 18, 2010 2:13 pm

PeterB wrote:No doubt. I think he was implying that this particular topic invariably leads to unskillful discussion.
It has becoming a rallying call both for the True Believer and for those who are less inclined to be literal.


How did you conclude that all threads on rebirth invariably lead to suffering? It depends on the mindset of the people who are involved in the discussion don't you think? For example, when I put down my opinion I can do with with obsession or I can do it in a neutral mode. :shrug:

I think you are implying things which probably were not present within the scope of this thread. Best to stop projecting :tongue:
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Re: I Believe in Literal Rebirth - Poll

Postby PeterB » Wed Aug 18, 2010 2:40 pm

Sunrise wrote:
PeterB wrote:No doubt. I think he was implying that this particular topic invariably leads to unskillful discussion.
It has becoming a rallying call both for the True Believer and for those who are less inclined to be literal.


How did you conclude that all threads on rebirth invariably lead to suffering? It depends on the mindset of the people who are involved in the discussion don't you think? For example, when I put down my opinion I can do with with obsession or I can do it in a neutral mode. :shrug:

I think you are implying things which probably were not present within the scope of this thread. Best to stop projecting :tongue:

Long experience Sunrise. I have seen many threads on the subject, the most notorious being the "never ending rebirth thread " on E Sangha and I have never seen one that did not generate more heat than light...including this one.
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Re: I Believe in Literal Rebirth - Poll

Postby Sunrise » Wed Aug 18, 2010 3:11 pm

PeterB wrote:Long experience Sunrise. I have seen many threads on the subject, the most notorious being the "never ending rebirth thread " on E Sangha and I have never seen one that did not generate more heat than light...including this one.


Oh well, whatever... all I know is that I did not suffer here; only enjoyed. I can only speak for myself... It has been a good discussion and one guy is alreday gone, hopefully on friendly terms, which is what I am going to do now. The show's over...lol

You can stay here and suffer if you like :tongue: (just kidding...)
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