Sanghamitta wrote:My approach is always... what do those teachers I respect say, based on their knowledge of the Canon and their own experience ? My own knowledge and experience is much too limited to resolve these things for myself. There is a clear consensus among Theravadin teachers concerning this issue and related issues like Rebirth. Until such time as I have direct knowledge of these things for myself, I will trust that consensus. Which is that Rebirth is literally true, and that hell states exist as more than metaphores. If I didnt accept that I would find a tradition that reflected what I think rather than attempt to change this one. ( Theravada ).
I'd have serious reservations about any "Buddhist" teacher who dismissed rebirth. That said, though, many who I respect and consider trustworthy acknowledge that they found it problematic, at least in the beginning. I just heard a talk by Joseph Goldstein, for instance, where he describes how his position evolved, having originated in skepticism. And, unless I'm confusing her with someone else, I recall Ajahn Sundara saying she used to not see the point of rebirth.
In fact, I can't remember anyone saying "heck, I got that right away! Piece o' cake!"