retrofuturist wrote:I also believe that the Buddha was more intent on removing the 'self' or 'atman' from people's perceptions, and thereby removing eternalist and annihilationist views than he was about convincing people about 'rebirth'.
I don't think he needed to convince most people about rebirth. Wasn't it the dominant belief at the time? much as annihilation is the dominant belief of our time? Hence back then he was intent on removing eternalist views whereas if he was around today maybe he'd be intent on removing nihilist views. Just my opinion, though.
It does not follow that just because the buddha was intent on removing eternalist view when he was around, that if he were around now, he would be intent on removing nihilist views - if by that you mean that there is no purpose to life. I wonder really if he would be concerned very much at all to get us to believe that there is any more life to live after this one. If the buddha was mainly concerned with how to end suffering, then surely he would be satisifed to try to teach how to do that in this world since all the suffering we experience occurs this in this world. I know that some people can't face the idea of not surviving death but is that really the main cause of suffering that anyone carries around with them. Do'nt you think the suffering that people experience is significantly more caused by the way we actually function in our day to day lives. We are the source and cause of our own suffering for
the most part. Yes there are some other causes of suffering such as when our bad parent abuses us as a child, or if we get robbed by a complete stranger. I think if the buddha were alive today he would not teach that these things happen to us because of something in a past life. I think he is more rational than that. Given chaos theory, he might simply be inclined to help people accept bad luck and that there is no meaning behind it, i mean no reason for
it. Sure meaning comes out of bad experiences so he might try to teach how to make the most of a bad situation.
But back to where you were. YOu were saying that he would be keen to tackle the dominant problematic belief that causes suffering so i think he would tackle consumerism. That causes far more suffering than a belief that we might not survive death. If one wants to think that consumerism and a materialist lifestyle cause suffering due by way of a lack of meaning in our lives, it does not follow that he would encourage a belief in an absent god or a better future life after this one.
That said, in answer to the original point of this thread, i have no belief in reincarnation. I cannot believe in such things. Furthermore, i have no wish to. I am fine with life ending when i die. I am fine with being extinguished. I think the value of the buddha's teaching comes from practicing the values and ethics in the eightfold path, trying to acquire wisdom according to the eightfold path and practicing meditation according to the best methods that work for
you and that you can find.