How to cultivate pasada if you *don't* believe in rebirth?

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How to cultivate pasada if you *don't* believe in rebirth?

Postby thisisanoldrule » Mon Feb 20, 2012 5:19 pm

It seems that many people come to Buddhism after tasting samvega, or through disillusionment to attachments of the world. But, to counteract samvega, we are supposed to develop pasada, or else samvega leads to despair and suicide seems like a reasonable way out of suffering.

In this day and age, despair and suicide are real and common problems for many people in society, so I would like to hear what teachings, techniques and personal experiences others have had to develop pasada, that doesn't rely on believing in rebirth and or being a skilled meditator?
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Re: How to cultivate pasada if you *don't* believe in rebirth?

Postby amtross » Mon Feb 20, 2012 6:02 pm

I don't personally know of any "beliefs" (such as rebirth) in buddhism or elsewhere that will help much but there are many practices in Buddhism that can lead to more calm in your life:
Do any of these regularly:
1. Reciting Suttas
2. Chanting
3. Being mindful: here's two methods for maintaining mindfulness in your daily life (off the cussion).
http://sayadawutejaniya.org/wp-content/ ... Enough.pdf
http://www.buddhanet.net/pdf_file/livngmed.pdf

4. Sitting, you don't need to be a meditation master to see benifits.
5. Dana (generosity)
6. Metta (loving kindness)
7. Sila (virtue)
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Re: How to cultivate pasada if you *don't* believe in rebirth?

Postby Zom » Mon Feb 20, 2012 6:28 pm

Why do you need to cultivate anything, if, according to your view, everyone will end up the same and quite soon? ,)
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Re: How to cultivate pasada if you *don't* believe in rebirth?

Postby perkele » Mon Feb 20, 2012 8:09 pm

Zom wrote:Why do you need to cultivate anything, if, according to your view, everyone will end up the same and quite soon? ,)


Maybe in order to not end up like you. ;)

thisisanoldrule wrote:It seems that many people come to Buddhism after tasting samvega, or through disillusionment to attachments of the world. But, to counteract samvega, we are supposed to develop pasada, or else samvega leads to despair and suicide seems like a reasonable way out of suffering.

In this day and age, despair and suicide are real and common problems for many people in society, so I would like to hear what teachings, techniques and personal experiences others have had to develop pasada, that doesn't rely on believing in rebirth and or being a skilled meditator?


This question is interesting for me. The first thing I did was googling "pasada". So the first thing I'd recommend you in order to develop pasada is reading this: http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/auth ... rming.html :) I found this article great.

So, how did the Buddha develop pasada? He saw a renunciate. This aroused enough confidence and valor in him to find his way out. You need to see an inspiring example. Maybe we need more inspiring examples. Maybe you need to become a more inspiring example so that this is possible for others. (And then you will reap the fruit of that good karma in a later life where you will find inspiring examples that help you develop pasada, if you believe it or not. :tongue: )

What do rebirth and suicide have to do with it? I am not quite sure.
Suicide is horrible and vile. The only way to really see it as a viable escape is from an overrationalized point of view based on very dull and unreflected assumptions but your intuition is concerned with the truth more than your "logical thinking" and will recognize any pursuit in this direction as insincere. At least that's my experience.

Pasada is an intuitional thing. Don't look for it intellectually.
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Re: How to cultivate pasada if you *don't* believe in rebirth?

Postby David2 » Mon Feb 20, 2012 8:28 pm

1st remedy: sila
2nd remedy: samadhi
3rd remedy: pañña

that doesn't rely on believing in rebirth and or being a skilled meditator?


You don't have to be skilled to practice sila, samadhi and pañña. Nobody is skilled before he has practiced a lot.
Skill comes automatically with more practice. No reason to worry about skill.
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Re: How to cultivate pasada if you *don't* believe in rebirth?

Postby Zom » Mon Feb 20, 2012 8:42 pm

"Because there actually is the next world, the view of one who thinks, 'There is no next world' is his wrong view. Because there actually is the next world, when he is resolved that 'There is no next world,' that is his wrong resolve. Because there actually is the next world, when he speaks the statement, 'There is no next world,' that is his wrong speech. Because there actually is the next world, when he is says that 'There is no next world,' he makes himself an opponent to those arahants who know the next world. Because there actually is the next world, when he persuades another that 'There is no next world,' that is persuasion in what is not true Dhamma. And in that persuasion in what is not true Dhamma, he exalts himself and disparages others. Whatever good habituation he previously had is abandoned, while bad habituation is manifested. And this wrong view, wrong resolve, wrong speech, opposition to the arahants, persuasion in what is not true Dhamma, exaltation of self, & disparagement of others: These many evil, unskillful activities come into play, in dependence on wrong view.

"With regard to this, an observant person considers thus: 'If there is no next world, then — with the breakup of the body, after death — this venerable person has made himself safe. But if there is the next world, then this venerable person — on the breakup of the body, after death — will reappear in a plane of deprivation, a bad destination, a lower realm, hell. Even if we didn't speak of the next world, and there weren't the true statement of those venerable contemplatives & brahmans, this venerable person is still criticized in the here-&-now by the observant as a person of bad habits & wrong view: one who holds to a doctrine of non-existence.' If there really is a next world, then this venerable person has made a bad throw twice: in that he is criticized by the observant here-&-now, and in that — with the breakup of the body, after death — he will reappear in a plane of deprivation, a bad destination, a lower realm, hell. Thus this safe-bet teaching, when poorly grasped & poorly adopted by him, covers (only) one side, and leaves behind the possibility of the skillful.

MN 60.
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Re: How to cultivate pasada if you *don't* believe in rebirth?

Postby Kenshou » Mon Feb 20, 2012 9:02 pm

I tend to not engage the idea because I have no basis for anything but pure speculation on it. But to be honest, I can't help but feel like no rebirth is more likely, and so my actions and thoughts are conditioned by that perceived likelihood, for better or worse. I realize that this is my conditioned view and it may yet change, I can't say.

Anyway, from that perspective, I think there is still plenty of good to be gotten in this life from pursuing the path. Even if one doesn't reach arahantship, there is still a whole lot of dukkha that can be overcome, and a lot of positive influence one could have on the world around them.

And if there is rebirth, what better way to prepare for it than with good practice here and now?

So I try to do that.
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Re: How to cultivate pasada if you *don't* believe in rebirth?

Postby vinasp » Mon Feb 20, 2012 9:53 pm

Hi everyone,

Quote: "Because there actually is the next world ..."

This is misleading. You have to remember that "loka" (world) is often used
to refer to a state of mind. So it is only saying that there is another state
of mind beyond the present - unenlightened - one.

Regards, Vincent.
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Re: How to cultivate pasada if you *don't* believe in rebirth?

Postby perkele » Mon Feb 20, 2012 10:40 pm

vinasp wrote:You have to remember that "loka" (world) is often used
to refer to a state of mind.


What? Where? By whom?
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Re: How to cultivate pasada if you *don't* believe in rebirth?

Postby vinasp » Mon Feb 20, 2012 11:57 pm

Hi perkele,

In the Sutta Pitaka we often find "loka" (world) used instead of suffering.
This strongly suggests that a state of mind is meant. An example:

One frequently finds: Suffering, the arising of suffering, the cessation
of suffering, and the path which leads to the cessation of suffering.

Also found is; The world, the arising of the world, the cessation of the
world, and the path which leads to the cessation of the world.

This invites us to regard these as equivalent, and understand "world" as
just the unenlightened state of mind.

In the Dependent Origination formula the words at the end: "and so arises
this whole mass of suffering," are sometimes replaced with: "and so
arises the world," and the same for cessation.

Another well known passage:

"That end of the world wherein one is not born, does not grow old or die, pass away or reappear, that I declare, is impossible to be known, seen or reached by travelling. But, friend, I do not declare that one can make an end of suffering without reaching the end of the world. Friend, I do proclaim that in this very fathom-long body, with its perceptions and consciousness, is the world, the world's arising, the world's cessation and the path leading to the world's cessation." A.N. II.48 Rohitassa (pali text) translated by Nanananda in Concept and Reality page 83.

AN 4.45 Link:

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html

Regards, Vincent.
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Re: How to cultivate pasada if you *don't* believe in rebirth?

Postby thisisanoldrule » Tue Feb 21, 2012 12:22 am

Thanks all for the replies so far; amtross, your links are very interesting and I plan on reading them more carefully soon.

Zom wrote:Why do you need to cultivate anything, if, according to your view, everyone will end up the same and quite soon? ,)


perkele wrote:(And then you will reap the fruit of that good karma in a later life where you will find inspiring examples that help you develop pasada, if you believe it or not. :tongue: )


Please don't put words in my mouth about what "I" think and what "my" view is when I haven't said anything of the sort. :roll:

Let me back up and put some context to the question. By all accounts, with respect to the Four Noble Truths, the Eightfold Path, and the rest of the Dhamma the Buddha encouraged his followers to rigorously test and put the teachings into practice and see the truth for themselves. I see a lot of threads and articles that are concerned with specific examples of how samvega arises (death of a family member, watching your mother lose her soulmate of 30 years, contemplating birth, death, aging, sickness). A lot of these things can just be experienced in the process of life.

However, pasada: "confidence in the strength of our actions" to free ourselves from suffering seems more elusive, at least in the deep sense. Sure, we can conduct ourselves with virtue and fill ourselves with compassion and kindness and watch and see how that improves our relationships with people, but I haven't seen any specific example of how to manage samvega with pasada other than "having glimpsed the Deathless", which seems to be the domain of an advanced practitioner -- which is why I said, "skilled meditator." There are plenty of motivational talks everywhere about effort in achieving worldly things, but less on the effort through which one breaks through samvega to pasada. Hmm ... maybe this should be in the "personal experience" section.

Zom, you yourself said to that poster who was giving up on Buddhism that there was a sequence of things -- a ladder, to use the common metaphor -- and that meditation was *not* taught at the beginning to everyone, so going to a monastery for 18 months may not be the best way to progressing on the path.

(May I also say that I really think that appearing to encourage those experiencing samvega to "verify" the truth of rebirth is not a very skillful action ... even the Westernized version of "she's in a better place" can have really bad results on those in a vulnerable position ... just watch the news.)
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Re: How to cultivate pasada if you *don't* believe in rebirth?

Postby Alex123 » Tue Feb 21, 2012 12:23 am

perkele wrote:Maybe in order to not end up like you. ;)


Why would it matter? Time flies and no matter what life was, we would all attain parinibbana if there was only one life.

I personally don't see that much sense in serious practice without rebirth. Unless one is good at Jhana and has what it takes to live a blissful life of a monk,
one-life-only idea would not make sense.

99.999% of dukkha is due to potentially endless rebirth and or life in hell realms if one doesn't follow Dhamma. Many of us live quite well in the west and nothing that CBT or a little Dhamma wouldn't fix.


Serious practice requires serious commitment. With the skepticism of rebirth, sensual pleasures seem so much better especially when one is not good at Jhana... Unfortunately in the context of one life, often the deviousness and shrewdness wins (within one life).
I was not; I was; I am not; I do not care."
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Re: How to cultivate pasada if you *don't* believe in rebirth?

Postby thisisanoldrule » Tue Feb 21, 2012 1:22 am

perkele wrote:This question is interesting for me. The first thing I did was googling "pasada". So the first thing I'd recommend you in order to develop pasada is reading this: http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/auth ... rming.html :) I found this article great.


I'm familiar with Thanissaro's piece, but I still found it a bit vague. Actually, I think that starting this thread has been quite fortuitous (perhaps I should say, bore bright vipaka? :jumping: ) because I was able to find these enlightening excerpts:

"Maybe we practice because we want to go to nibbana - right there, you won't go to nibbana! It's natural to want peace, but it's not really correct. We must practice without wanting anything at all. If we don't want anything at all, what will we get? We don't get anything! Whatever you get is cause for suffering, so we practice not getting anything." -- Ajahn Chah, Food for the Heart

"Virtuousness is the joy we can experience in this human realm. So, although what society is doing or what everyone else is doing is beyond my control - I can't go around making everything how I want it - still, I can be kind, generous, and patient, and do good, and develop virtue. That I can do, and that's worth doing, and not something anyone can stop me from doing. However rotten or corrupted society is doesn't make any difference to our ability to be virtuous and to do good." -- Ajahn Sumendo, The Mind and The Way

These were very interesting expositions on what many people in this thread were saying already.
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Re: How to cultivate pasada if you *don't* believe in rebirth?

Postby ground » Tue Feb 21, 2012 3:06 am

thisisanoldrule wrote:It seems that many people come to Buddhism after tasting samvega, or through disillusionment to attachments of the world. But, to counteract samvega, we are supposed to develop pasada, or else samvega leads to despair and suicide seems like a reasonable way out of suffering.

In this day and age, despair and suicide are real and common problems for many people in society, so I would like to hear what teachings, techniques and personal experiences others have had to develop pasada, that doesn't rely on believing in rebirth and or being a skilled meditator?

Samvega is just the urgent call for right view. Once there is right view pasada is naturally established and independent of believing this or that.

Kind regards
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Re: How to cultivate pasada if you *don't* believe in rebirth?

Postby nowheat » Tue Feb 21, 2012 5:16 am

In the link perkele provided above, the author says:

As the early Buddhist teachings freely admit, the predicament is that the cycle of birth, aging, and death is meaningless..."


If what's meant by "the cycle" above is a reference to one birth, a death, a rebirth and so on, over and over again -- with no memory from one life to the next of ever having lived another life, each life perceived as a single unit with no visible connection to what happened in a previous life, or what will happen in the next -- is that "cycle of birth, aging, and death" any more or less meaningful that the cycle of life, birth, aging, and death that we can know, and can see, right here, right now -- your life, my life, every single life -- each unit of life from birth to death?

I don't see that it makes any difference at all whether there is rebirth or there is not. Whichever is the case, there is still suffering, birth, aging, and death. Right now that is happening for me, and for you. A hundred years from now it will be happening for people we don't know. From where we stand here, it has no knowable beginning or end. Whether each individual here on earth now is one being who only had one life, or one being who has had thousands of lives and will keep on having them, the sum total of suffering in the world is EXACTLY THE SAME.

Escape from the cycle of life -- whether it is through our own death with no rebirth, or through a last life in which all becomes clear and we go to nirvana (what's nirvana after death? endless bliss? is that meaningful? or is it something else that we don't know the meaning of? making it, to us, meaningless) -- ending one life, or the last in a thousand lives, only ends birth, aging, and death for one being. There are still billions more individuals who will repeat the experiences. Whether you are reborn in a new life, or not, beings go on being born, and suffering continues.

There is no inherent meaning in rebirth; there is no inherent meaning in a life without rebirth. As the Buddha has often tried to point out to us, there is no inherent meaning in anything. We add our own meaning to life.

If a person suddenly feels down and depressed because they feel life is meaningless, here's the news: they are right, they are seeing the thing accurately. What they need to see next is that this is always true, and that meaning only comes to a life if the one living it provides that meaning. And each of us has the power to do that, but we have to know that's how it works, and choose to make it happen.

What I see is that the only thing that changes the sum total of suffering in the world is ourselves, using a viable system that does reduce suffering to reduce our suffering, and sharing that system with others so that they may do the same.

I choose to stand with the Buddha in deciding that reducing suffering -- not just for me but for all beings -- provides worthwhile meaning. Living my one life fully, in a way that is most beneficial to others now and in the future is the meaning I choose to give my life -- treasuring this opportunity I have to live, and seeing just how much I can do with the one life I am certain of. This is my Apannaka/Safe Bet: If I treat this life like it is the only one I will ever get, and the only chance I have to do something that helps others, clearly I will give it my all; if it turns out that there is a Cosmic Order that lets this life lead to another that gets its start based on what I put into my life, that being should have a great start; if the cosmic order comes with a balance sheet, surely I won't be found wanting for having given it my best shot.

I may never have as great a positive impact as I'd like, but I'm going to die trying.

:namaste:
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Re: How to cultivate pasada if you *don't* believe in rebirth?

Postby retrofuturist » Tue Feb 21, 2012 5:22 am

Greetings,

Whilst I'm happy to provisionally accept some variety of post-mortem continuation, nowheat's "Whichever is the case, there is still suffering, birth, aging, and death. Right now that is happening for me, and for you." is my motivation. Whether it be 1 lifetime or 1 kappa, whilst there is "existence", there will be dukkha. So let's work at eradicating it, yeah?

Metta,
Retro. :)
If you have asked me of the origination of unease, then I shall explain it to you in accordance with my understanding:
Whatever various forms of unease there are in the world, They originate founded in encumbering accumulation. (Pārāyanavagga)


Exalted in mind, just open and clearly aware, the recluse trained in the ways of the sages:
One who is such, calmed and ever mindful, He has no sorrows! -- Udana IV, 7


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Re: How to cultivate pasada if you *don't* believe in rebirth?

Postby Sanghamitta » Tue Feb 21, 2012 8:13 am

:goodpost:


For me, I see both belief and disbelief as frivolousness.
The going for refuge is the door of entrance to the teachings of the Buddha.

Bhikku Bodhi.
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Re: How to cultivate pasada if you *don't* believe in rebirth?

Postby kirk5a » Tue Feb 21, 2012 3:23 pm

The trouble with this question is it suggests someone believes rebirth is NOT true. A view like that clashes with the teachings. As was pointed out in the quotation above, someone who recognizes they don't know, and therefore allows for the possibility, can be in harmony with the teachings. So I'd say that view has to be examined first.
"When one thing is practiced & pursued, ignorance is abandoned, clear knowing arises, the conceit 'I am' is abandoned, latent tendencies are uprooted, fetters are abandoned. Which one thing? Mindfulness immersed in the body." -AN 1.230
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Re: How to cultivate pasada if you *don't* believe in rebirth?

Postby Bhikkhu Pesala » Tue Feb 21, 2012 7:16 pm

thisisanoldrule wrote:I would like to hear what teachings, techniques and personal experiences others have had to develop pasada, that doesn't rely on believing in rebirth and or being a skilled meditator?

This is like asking, “How can I climb to the top of a mountain without any training, and if I did, would the view be any different up there?”

Or its like asking, “I have this old corroded brass image at home, and I'm not sure if its really a Buddha image or not because its so dirty. How can I make it bright without polishing it so that I can see if its really a Buddha image or not?”

I think the right word is pasāda, not pasada, and the meaning is very similar to faith or confidence (saddhā).

The bottom line is that suffering has to be thoroughly understood in order to abandon the cause of suffering. That can only be done by developing the path to realise the cessation of suffering.
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Re: How to cultivate pasada if you *don't* believe in rebirth?

Postby perkele » Tue Feb 21, 2012 7:52 pm

vinasp wrote:Hi perkele,

In the Sutta Pitaka we often find "loka" (world) used instead of suffering.
This strongly suggests that a state of mind is meant.

...

Regards, Vincent.


Thanks for the attempt at clarification. But it doesn't make it clear to me. So it seems the world (loka) is ((maybe more than just) allegorically) equated with dukkha. That makes sense in the paradigm of the Dhamma and is actually nothing new to me.
But how is this supposed to refer to a state of mind? Dukkha is not a state of mind. It's a characteristic of the world and of all life.
And to draw on this skewed meaning for an interpretaton of the Buddha's statement "Because there actually is the next world ..." is even more farfetched. Or at least I don't understand it. If you feel inclined to clarify it further I would welcome that.

Sidenote: I know this is OT and may be rightly moved to the charnel ground (the great rebirth debate - hey, why not rename it? :tongue: ).
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