the Dhamma without rebirth: amoral and what else?

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Re: the Dhamma without rebirth: amoral and what else?

Postby seanpdx » Fri Feb 05, 2010 9:11 pm

mikenz66 wrote:I presume we agree that sila is an absolutely essential part of the Path, but this rather trivailized version of sila wasn't my point at all.

The point is the the Buddha invites us to try out his teaching. Follow the instructions and see for ourselves. I don't (yet) know which of the instructions are absolutely essential, so I keep an open mind about them.

If I were to point to a "reason" why having some sort of "post-mortem continuation attitude" would be helpful, it would be to do with countering annihilationistic tendencies of the mind, not some kindergarten idea about "crime and punishment". And, of course, it needs to be taken with a dose of anatta, to counter eternalistic tendencies...

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Mike


What if we simply drop any and all notions of annihilationism and eternalism? Does belief in rebirth then remain a necessary belief?

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Re: the Dhamma without rebirth: amoral and what else?

Postby Abyss » Fri Feb 05, 2010 9:17 pm

nowheat wrote:I agree that if we do not hold the view that rebirth is a possibility, there is no urgent reason to seek total liberation.

What about death? I don't want to die, therefore I seek liberation from death in this very life, which is possible according to the Buddha.

nowheat wrote:Can anyone find wording that makes it sound like he was exhorting others to follow his path, failure to do so was at their peril?

Maybe this (MN 8, Sallekha Sutta):

"What should be done for his disciples out of compassion for them, that I have done for you, Cunda. There are these roots of trees, these empty huts. Meditate, Cunda, do not delay or else you will regret later. This is our instruction to you"

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Re: the Dhamma without rebirth: amoral and what else?

Postby retrofuturist » Fri Feb 05, 2010 9:18 pm

Greetings,

seanpdx wrote:What if we simply drop any and all notions of annihilationism and eternalism? Does belief in rebirth then remain a necessary belief?


It's an interesting point... the 62 foundations for Wrong Views outlined in the Brahamajala sutta surround annihilationism and eternalism, as distinct to matters of rebirth.

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: the Dhamma without rebirth: amoral and what else?

Postby mikenz66 » Fri Feb 05, 2010 9:22 pm

seanpdx wrote:What if we simply drop any and all notions of annihilationism and eternalism? Does belief in rebirth then remain a necessary belief?

How do you propose to do that?

Mike

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Re: the Dhamma without rebirth: amoral and what else?

Postby Ben » Fri Feb 05, 2010 9:39 pm

Hi Mike
mikenz66 wrote:I presume we agree that sila is an absolutely essential part of the Path, but this rather trivailized version of sila wasn't my point at all.


Well said. Just on the issue of the importance of sila to the path, what isn't highlighted in many of these discussions is the impact of moral and immoral conduct on one's state of mind and whether that state of mind is then open and conducive to the development of samadhi and panna. And for me, personally, abiding by sila is pragmatic having seen and known the impact of immoral conduct on my own life and my own happiness.

As for rebirth - until we become ariya with the supernormal powers of being able to see our past lives, it remains an unknowable. So developing a view as to whether rebirth is a real phenomenon or is a metaphorical device is just speculation based on our own predelictions. What we do know is that the concept of rebirth is repeated hundreds of thousands of times throughout the suttas, there is scant evidence that the Buddha reserved teachings of rebirth to the dumb peasantry and that the excision of rebirth from the Dhamma makes it largely unintelligible.
As you know, when the Buddha was questioned by the householders of sala who were sceptical of rebirth, in the Apannaka Sutta (MN 60), he didn't try to convince them that they were wrong but used logical inference to direct them to the conclusion that living one's life as though one believed in rebirth will lead to their welfare. And I think that remains a potent message for all of us.
kind regards

Ben
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Re: the Dhamma without rebirth: amoral and what else?

Postby seanpdx » Fri Feb 05, 2010 9:40 pm

mikenz66 wrote:
seanpdx wrote:What if we simply drop any and all notions of annihilationism and eternalism? Does belief in rebirth then remain a necessary belief?

How do you propose to do that?

Mike


You do it by simply doing it. As a corollary, how does one cling to notions of annihilationism or eternalism? Figure that out, then stop doing those things. =D It may sound like a rather glib answer, but... heck, it's true.

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Re: the Dhamma without rebirth: amoral and what else?

Postby mikenz66 » Fri Feb 05, 2010 9:44 pm

seanpdx wrote:
mikenz66 wrote:
seanpdx wrote:What if we simply drop any and all notions of annihilationism and eternalism? Does belief in rebirth then remain a necessary belief?

How do you propose to do that?

You do it by simply doing it. As a corollary, how does one cling to notions of annihilationism or eternalism? Figure that out, then stop doing those things. =D It may sound like a rather glib answer, but... heck, it's true.

Yes, I'm sorry, it does sound rather glib. I salute your abilities...

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Re: the Dhamma without rebirth: amoral and what else?

Postby mikenz66 » Fri Feb 05, 2010 9:45 pm

Hi Ben
Ben wrote: ... what isn't highlighted in many of these discussions is the impact of moral and immoral conduct on one's state of mind and whether that state of mind is then open and conducive to the development of samadhi and panna. And for me, personally, abiding by sila is pragmatic having seen and known the impact of immoral conduct on my own life and my own happiness.

Sadhu, Sadhu, Sadhu... :anjali:

Mike

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Re: the Dhamma without rebirth: amoral and what else?

Postby seanpdx » Fri Feb 05, 2010 9:47 pm

Ben wrote:As you know, when the Buddha was questioned by the householders of sala who were sceptical of rebirth, in the Apannaka Sutta (MN 60), he didn't try to convince them that they were wrong but used logical inference to direct them to the conclusion that living one's life as though one believed in rebirth will lead to their welfare. And I think that remains a potent message for all of us.
kind regards


Just an FYI, but that's simply a buddhist form of Pascal's Wager.

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Re: the Dhamma without rebirth: amoral and what else?

Postby seanpdx » Fri Feb 05, 2010 9:49 pm

mikenz66 wrote:
seanpdx wrote:
mikenz66 wrote:How do you propose to do that?

You do it by simply doing it. As a corollary, how does one cling to notions of annihilationism or eternalism? Figure that out, then stop doing those things. =D It may sound like a rather glib answer, but... heck, it's true.

Yes, I'm sorry, it does sound rather glib. I salute your abilities...

Metta
Mike


I have never claimed to be as good a teacher as the Buddha. When I figure out exactly how I dropped such notions in an easy-to-teach step-by-step format, I'll let you know.

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Re: the Dhamma without rebirth: amoral and what else?

Postby mikenz66 » Fri Feb 05, 2010 9:50 pm

seanpdx wrote:Just an FYI, but that's simply a buddhist form of Pascal's Wager.

Don't you mean that Pascal's Wager was just a Christian form of the Buddha's teaching?

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Re: the Dhamma without rebirth: amoral and what else?

Postby seanpdx » Fri Feb 05, 2010 9:54 pm

mikenz66 wrote:
seanpdx wrote:Just an FYI, but that's simply a buddhist form of Pascal's Wager.

Don't you mean that Pascal's Wager was just a Christian form of the Buddha's teaching?

Metta
Mike


*grin* You know, I've always wondered if Pascal had read this sutta! =D
Alas, the fallacy itself is rather commonplace, so I just refer to it as Pascal's Wager even though neither is really a form of the other. I blame my history of christian debate. :thinking:

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Re: the Dhamma without rebirth: amoral and what else?

Postby retrofuturist » Fri Feb 05, 2010 10:04 pm

Greetings Mike,

mikenz66 to seanpdx wrote:Yes, I'm sorry, it does sound rather glib. I salute your abilities...


May I try then to answer your "How do you propose to do that?" question.

What underpins annihilationism or eternalism is belief in an atman (soul)... either one than transmigrates (eternalism) or one that is destroyed at death (annihilationism). The dichotomy of annihilationism vs eternalism is elegantly transcended if one does not possess a soul view, such as thus espoused in the Brahamajala Sutta.

Therefore, to repose Sean's question against that setting, "Does belief in rebirth then remain a necessary belief if you hold no wrong views with respect to atman?"

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: the Dhamma without rebirth: amoral and what else?

Postby seanpdx » Fri Feb 05, 2010 10:15 pm

retrofuturist wrote:Greetings Mike,

mikenz66 to seanpdx wrote:Yes, I'm sorry, it does sound rather glib. I salute your abilities...


May I try then to answer your "How do you propose to do that?" question.

What underpins annihilationism or eternalism is belief in an atman (soul)... either one than transmigrates (eternalism) or one that is destroyed at death (annihilationism). The dichotomy of annihilationism vs eternalism is elegantly transcended if one does not possess a soul view, such as thus espoused in the Brahamajala Sutta.


I disagree on one specific point, which is actually more of semantic matter in what you wrote. I disagree that "belief in an atman" necessarily underpins each view. I agree, however, that it's transcended if one "does not possess a soul view". Belief in an atman, and belief in a lack of atman, are both soul views. One, the view that a soul exists (leading to either eternalism or annihilationism). The other, the view that a soul does not exist (which obviously cannot lead to eternalism in any seemingly rational way, but could lead to materialism/nihilism/annihilationism).

Remember... when confronted with the actual question of the existence of a soul, the Buddha remained silent. Belief in a lack of soul, I believe, can be just as bad as belief in a soul. I'm not sure if that's what you were ultimately trying to get across, or whether you think that belief in a lack of soul transcends soul views. ???

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Re: the Dhamma without rebirth: amoral and what else?

Postby mikenz66 » Fri Feb 05, 2010 10:26 pm

Hi Retro,
retrofuturist wrote:Therefore, to repose Sean's question against that setting, "Does belief in rebirth then remain a necessary belief if you hold no wrong views with respect to atman?"

An extremely hypothetical question if you ask me, since all of us on this thread presumably have such wrong views...

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Re: the Dhamma without rebirth: amoral and what else?

Postby retrofuturist » Fri Feb 05, 2010 10:27 pm

Greetings Mike,

mikenz66 wrote:An extremely hypothetical question if you ask me, since all of us on this thread presumably have such wrong views...


Are you saying you're an eternalist or an annhiliationist?

:thinking:

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


Dharma Wheel (Mahayana / Vajrayana forum) -- Open flower ~ Open book (blog)

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Re: the Dhamma without rebirth: amoral and what else?

Postby mikenz66 » Fri Feb 05, 2010 10:31 pm

retrofuturist wrote:Are you saying you're an eternalist or an annhiliationist?

Of course, I'm just not sure which one... :thinking:

So is everyone here, or we'd already be awakened and not discussing such things...

Mike

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Re: the Dhamma without rebirth: amoral and what else?

Postby seanpdx » Fri Feb 05, 2010 10:34 pm

mikenz66 wrote:
retrofuturist wrote:Are you saying you're an eternalist or an annhiliationist?

Of course, I'm just not sure which one... :thinking:

So is everyone here, or we'd already be awakened and not discussing such things...

Mike


Please do not speak for me, what I believe, or the views which I may or may not possess. Thank you.

Furthermore, according to the third noble truth, it is the extinction of tanha which results in the cessation of dukkha and, subsequently, liberation. Not the extinction of eternalist or annihilationist views.

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Re: the Dhamma without rebirth: amoral and what else?

Postby mikenz66 » Fri Feb 05, 2010 11:07 pm

Hi Sean,
seanpdx wrote:Please do not speak for me, what I believe, or the views which I may or may not possess. Thank you.

I'm not talking about expressed views and beliefs, I'm talking about awakening, or lack thereof.

If you are awakened, and are beyond delusion, then I apologise for my statement... :anjali:

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Re: the Dhamma without rebirth: amoral and what else?

Postby BlackBird » Fri Feb 05, 2010 11:17 pm

seanpdx wrote:Please do not speak for me, what I believe, or the views which I may or may not possess. Thank you.


Well, Mike and Retro are quite correct to say so. This is because a non-ariyan mind, left to it's own devices (which is most of the time) necessarily inclines itself to one of these two views, or a combination thereof, just as a river inclines itself towards the sea.

Say a person were to announce: "Well, we all have either 2 kidneys or 1 kidney" and some man were to come a long and say: "Come now my good man, please do not speak for my kidneys, please do not assume that I may or may not have 2 kidneys or 1 kidney or even kidneys at all"

Would he be right in saying such a thing?
"For a disciple who has conviction in the Teacher's message & lives to penetrate it, what accords with the Dhamma is this:
'The Blessed One is the Teacher, I am a disciple. He is the one who knows, not I." - MN. 70 Kitagiri Sutta


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