the great rebirth debate

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Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby chownah » Tue Feb 11, 2014 3:10 am

nowheat wrote:
"Rebirth is used in the Buddha's talks as a frame for his lessons, it isn't the lesson itself."
Good posting!!!

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Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby tiltbillings » Tue Feb 11, 2014 3:16 am

chownah wrote:nowheat wrote:
"Rebirth is used in the Buddha's talks as a frame for his lessons, it isn't the lesson itself."
Good posting!!!

chownah
But what does that mean?
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond.
SN I, 38.

Ar scáth a chéile a mhaireas na daoine.
People live in one another’s shelter.

"We eat cold eels and think distant thoughts." -- Jack Johnson
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Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby chownah » Tue Feb 11, 2014 3:46 am

tiltbillings wrote:
chownah wrote:nowheat wrote:
"Rebirth is used in the Buddha's talks as a frame for his lessons, it isn't the lesson itself."
Good posting!!!

chownah
But what does that mean?

"If you don't know by now, don't mess with it." (Mr. Natural)
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Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby tiltbillings » Tue Feb 11, 2014 4:04 am

chownah wrote:
tiltbillings wrote:
chownah wrote:nowheat wrote:
"Rebirth is used in the Buddha's talks as a frame for his lessons, it isn't the lesson itself."
Good posting!!!

chownah
But what does that mean?

"If you don't know by now, don't mess with it." (Mr. Natural)
chownah
Cute, but Mr Natural would be unhappy with your taking his name in vain. How about an actual answer that actually answers the question.
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond.
SN I, 38.

Ar scáth a chéile a mhaireas na daoine.
People live in one another’s shelter.

"We eat cold eels and think distant thoughts." -- Jack Johnson
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Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby chownah » Tue Feb 11, 2014 4:56 am

tiltbillings wrote:
chownah wrote:
tiltbillings wrote:But what does that mean?

"If you don't know by now, don't mess with it." (Mr. Natural)
chownah
Cute, but Mr Natural would be unhappy with your taking his name in vain. How about an actual answer that actually answers the question.

When nowheat posts, "Rebirth is used in the Buddha's talks as a frame for his lessons, it isn't the lesson itself.", it means that this sentence is not the lesson itself, it is just the frame for the lesson.
There are a lot of other meanings which can be drawn from the sentence but I'm not personally in the mood to mention one.......if you can't come up with some meaning then don't mess with it....I don't think that nowheat or anyone else is suggesting that this idea is something that individuals must aspire to......if something is meaningless then just forget it and move on to other things I guess........don't know for sure.....
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Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby tiltbillings » Tue Feb 11, 2014 5:05 am

chownah wrote:When nowheat posts, "Rebirth is used in the Buddha's talks as a frame for his lessons, it isn't the lesson itself.", it means that this sentence is not the lesson itself, it is just the frame for the lesson.
There are a lot of other meanings which can be drawn from the sentence but I'm not personally in the mood to mention one.......if you can't come up with some meaning then don't mess with it....I don't think that nowheat or anyone else is suggesting that this idea is something that individuals must aspire to......if something is meaningless then just forget it and move on to other things I guess........don't know for sure.....
chownah
Given the lack of paucity of potential meanings of this vague sentence, I thought it would be helpful to ask what might be meant before responding, but since clarity is not a point in response here -- Meh.
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond.
SN I, 38.

Ar scáth a chéile a mhaireas na daoine.
People live in one another’s shelter.

"We eat cold eels and think distant thoughts." -- Jack Johnson
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Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby Spiny Norman » Tue Feb 11, 2014 9:24 am

chownah wrote:"Rebirth is used in the Buddha's talks as a frame for his lessons, it isn't the lesson itself."


In that case why do some people have a problem with rebirth?
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Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby chownah » Tue Feb 11, 2014 10:11 am

Spiny Norman wrote:
chownah wrote:"Rebirth is used in the Buddha's talks as a frame for his lessons, it isn't the lesson itself."


In that case why do some people have a problem with rebirth?

I think that people have problems with rebirth if they are too attached to their views surrounding rebirth.
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Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby Spiny Norman » Tue Feb 11, 2014 12:15 pm

chownah wrote:
Spiny Norman wrote:
chownah wrote:"Rebirth is used in the Buddha's talks as a frame for his lessons, it isn't the lesson itself."


In that case why do some people have a problem with rebirth?


I think that people have problems with rebirth if they are too attached to their views surrounding rebirth.
chownah


Possibly, though I'd suggest that both belief and disbelief are potentially problematic in this context. Personally I find that agnosticism works best on questions like this.
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Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby rowboat » Tue Feb 11, 2014 1:43 pm

I'd suggest that both belief and disbelief are potentially problematic in this context. Personally I find that agnosticism works best on questions like this.


To me it seems like a lack of saddha. Would it not be much easier to proceed skillfully and in the right manner when there is a greater faith and confidence in the Buddha and His teachings?

"Of those, right view is the forerunner. And how is right view the forerunner? One discerns wrong view as wrong view, and right view as right view. This is one's right view. And what is wrong view? 'There is nothing given, nothing offered, nothing sacrificed. There is no fruit or result of good or bad actions. There is no this world, no next world, no mother, no father, no spontaneously reborn beings; no contemplatives or brahmans who, faring rightly & practicing rightly, proclaim this world & the next after having directly known & realized it for themselves.' This is wrong view.

Maha-cattarisaka Sutta. MN 117- http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html

Mundane right view involves a correct grasp of the law of kamma, the moral efficacy of action. Its literal name is "right view of the ownership of action" (kammassakata sammaditthi), and it finds its standard formulation in the statement: "Beings are the owners of their actions, the heirs of their actions; they spring from their actions, are bound to their actions, and are supported by their actions. Whatever deeds they do, good or bad, of those they shall be heirs."[5] More specific formulations have also come down in the texts. One stock passage, for example, affirms that virtuous actions such as giving and offering alms have moral significance, that good and bad deeds produce corresponding fruits, that one has a duty to serve mother and father, that there is rebirth and a world beyond the visible one, and that religious teachers of high attainment can be found who expound the truth about the world on the basis of their own superior realization.


Above excerpt on Mundane Right View. The Noble Eightfold Path - The Way to the End of Suffering. Bhikkhu Bodhi.
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/auth ... d.html#ch2

Suggested reading. The Truth of Rebirth - And Why it Matters for Buddhist Practice - Thanissaro Bhikkhu
1. Questioning Assumptions - http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/auth ... uestioning
Rain soddens what is covered up,
It does not sodden what is open.
Therefore uncover what is covered
That the rain will not sodden it.
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Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby nowheat » Tue Feb 11, 2014 6:59 pm

rowboat wrote:To me it seems like a lack of saddha. Would it not be much easier to proceed skillfully and in the right manner when there is a greater faith and confidence in the Buddha and His teachings?


I have absolute faith and confidence in the Buddha and his teachings. It's "folk" that I lack faith and confidence in.

To me it seems much easier to read the suttas, and try to discover what's actually there, rather than what I am told is there. Funny that you used MN 117, which also says:

"And what is the right view with effluents, siding with merit, resulting in acquisitions? 'There is what is given, what is offered, what is sacrificed. There are fruits & results of good & bad actions. There is this world & the next world. There is mother & father. There are spontaneously reborn beings; there are contemplatives & brahmans who, faring rightly & practicing rightly, proclaim this world & the next after having directly known & realized it for themselves.' This is the right view with effluents, siding with merit, resulting in acquisitions.

Maha-cattarisaka Sutta. MN 117- http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html

This sutta is where it began for me. I find it interesting that so many people think the Buddha meant that *his view* comes with effluents, and results in acquisitions. Is that what you, personally, believe? That the Buddha wants you to adopt a view that comes with effluents and results in acquisitions?

There are two ways of looking at right and wrong view. In the traditional way of looking at it, they are right and wrong because one is The True Cosmic Order and the other is Not The Cosmic Order. The other way of looking at it is to recognize that what the Buddha is pointing out is that there is something wrong with "Wrong View" but what is wrong with it is *where it leads*, not its content. Notice that in your quote detailing Wrong View from the same sutta:

"And what is wrong view? 'There is nothing given, nothing offered, nothing sacrificed. There is no fruit or result of good or bad actions. There is no this world, no next world, no mother, no father, no spontaneously reborn beings; no contemplatives or brahmans who, faring rightly & practicing rightly, proclaim this world & the next after having directly known & realized it for themselves.' This is wrong view."


there is no statement at all of what the holder of this view *believes* -- no positive statement at all. All there is, is a negation of what others believe. *That* is the problem with this wrong view: it is divisive; it goes around telling people they are *wrong*.

In the second way of looking at right view/wrong view, the Buddha is not telling people that what they understand of the cosmic order is wrong, he is telling people that telling people they are wrong is wrong. And he is *setting an example* at the exact same moment.

Suggested reading: Paul Fuller's book "The Notion of Ditthi in Theravada Buddhism".

:namaste:
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Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby nowheat » Tue Feb 11, 2014 7:01 pm

Spiny Norman wrote:In that case why do some people have a problem with rebirth?

What "some people" are you talking about and specifically what "problem"? Hard to respond to this without more information.

:namaste:
Last edited by nowheat on Wed Feb 12, 2014 12:32 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby nowheat » Tue Feb 11, 2014 7:41 pm

tiltbillings wrote:
chownah wrote:nowheat wrote:
"Rebirth is used in the Buddha's talks as a frame for his lessons, it isn't the lesson itself."
Good posting!!!

chownah
But what does that mean?

Hey tilt, I expect you know by now that brief is not my strong suit. I try brief (as above) and it's not enough, I try for longer and you ask me to be brief! But I'll aim for the Middle Way here.

I am saying that the Buddha very carefully constructed his lessons to be readable on two levels, and that he did this for a very good reason, which I just touched on in the post above on MN 117: it allowed him to go through his life not telling people they were wrong, because that -- telling people they are wrong -- is at the heart of our problems.

Dependent arising (DA) serves as the core lesson in which he sets up the structure by using the language of rebirth -- effectively "what everybody knows" about rebirth (the general view of his times) -- to describe this particular problem we have. The problem isn't actually anything to do with rebirth; it's something else; but he uses the model of rebirth to describe the problem. He uses what people believe is the Cosmic Order (an extremely generic version of the Cosmic Order -- like talking about God and Heaven without any specifics from the various sects) to describe a familiar pattern, but he isn't talking about that specific instance of the pattern. It just serves as a template to see what he's pointing out is *really* going on.

So in the classic versions of DA we have three general parts:

(1) "The Givens": given that we come into the world ignorant (avijja), given that we have these drives that cause us to behave in certain ways (sankhara), given that those drives push consciousness to want to know itself (vinnana); given that the way we come to know ourselves is through individuality -- defining ourselves, defining bits of the world (namarupa); given that all this directs our senses to go out and seek information that satisfies that desire for self and self knowledge

(2) "The Routine Habits": we come into contact with something that fulfills that requirement (phassa); we experience it (vedana); we sort it out through the lens of our desire to have a self and know that self (tanha); we take that perception of self as fuel for the fire of self-creation (upadana); we put it into the fire of self-conception (bhava)

(3) "The Results": our conceptions result in what we "perceive as self" becoming visible in the world (jati); and this results in lots of bad things happening (jaramarana).

The language used in the 12-step DA recalls a generic view of how things worked in the Vedic world (not that everyone believed in it -- like Christianity as a model, we can all talk about it even if we don't believe it).

(1) Describes how we come into the world: ignorant, from the drive of desire for existence, consciousness forms, individuality follows via name-and-form, the senses are activated.
(2) The specific terms recall rituals of the day: phassa the ever-important "touch" in Vedic rituals, vedana the altar (vedani) and the books (Vedas), tanha the thirst of the fire for fuel, upadana the fuel itself, bhava an epithet of Agni. These rituals were thought to both create and modify the self in ways that would give a good result after death.
(3) After the self goes through the fire it is reborn in whatever world the successful sacrificer was doing rituals to obtain. Now here the result *should* be "bliss" but the Buddha serves up the punch-line that indicates to anyone paying attention that he is not describing a generic Cosmic Order: instead of bliss we get the usual misery: dukkha in the form of aging and death.

In DA he is describing "what everybody knows" about the way the world works -- the dominant, generic view -- but he isn't endorsing that view (though that is kinda what people have come to think he is doing). He's not saying "what everybody knows is right (except... dukkha)". He's not even saying "what everybody knows" is wrong. He's saying that our big problem is that everybody thinks they know.

When he talks about rebirth, he is pointing to DA. He isn't pointing to rebirth, though, but to the way we create our self-conception from our beliefs, aka "what everybody knows". Rebirth, then, is the frame for the lesson, not the lesson itself. And the way he uses it is also a lesson -- him putting what he is saying into action.

:namaste:
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Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby Nikaya35 » Wed Feb 12, 2014 12:14 am

nowheat wrote:
tiltbillings wrote:
chownah wrote:nowheat wrote:
"Rebirth is used in the Buddha's talks as a frame for his lessons, it isn't the lesson itself."
Good posting!!!

chownah
But what does that mean?

Hey tilt, I expect you know by now that brief is not my strong suit. I try brief (as above) and it's not enough, I try for longer and you ask me to be brief! But I'll aim for the Middle Way here.

I am saying that the Buddha very carefully constructed his lessons to be readable on two levels, and that he did this for a very good reason, which I just touched on in the post above on MN 117: it allowed him to go through his life not telling people they were wrong, because that -- telling people they are wrong -- is at the heart of our problems.

Dependent arising (DA) serves as the core lesson in which he sets up the structure by using the language of rebirth -- effectively "what everybody knows" about rebirth (the general view of his times) -- to describe this particular problem we have. The problem isn't actually anything to do with rebirth; it's something else; but he uses the model of rebirth to describe the problem. He uses what people believe is the Cosmic Order (an extremely generic version of the Cosmic Order -- like talking about God and Heaven without any specifics from the various sects) to describe a familiar pattern, but he isn't talking about that specific instance of the pattern. It just serves as a template to see what he's pointing out is *really* going on.

So in the classic versions of DA we have three general parts:

(1) "The Givens": given that we come into the world ignorant (avijja), given that we have these drives that cause us to behave in certain ways (sankhara), given that those drives push consciousness to want to know itself (vinnana); given that the way we come to know ourselves is through individuality -- defining ourselves, defining bits of the world (namarupa); given that all this directs our senses to go out and seek information that satisfies that desire for self and self knowledge

(2) "The Routine Habits": we come into contact with something that fulfills that requirement (phassa); we experience it (vedana); we sort it out through the lens of our desire to have a self and know that self (tanha); we take that perception of self as fuel for the fire of self-creation (upadana); we put it into the fire of self-conception (bhava)

(3) "The Results": our conceptions result in what we "perceive as self" becoming visible in the world (jati); and this results in lots of bad things happening (jaramarana).

The language used in the 12-step DA recalls a generic view of how things worked in the Vedic world (not that everyone believed in it -- like Christianity as a model, we can all talk about it even if we don't believe it).

(1) Describes how we come into the world: ignorant, from the drive of desire for existence, consciousness forms, individuality follows via name-and-form, the senses are activated.
(2) The specific terms recall rituals of the day: phassa the ever-important "touch" in Vedic rituals, vedana the altar (vedani) and the books (Vedas), tanha the thirst of the fire for fuel, upadana the fuel itself, bhava an epithet of Agni. These rituals were thought to both create and modify the self in ways that would give a good result after death.
(3) After the self goes through the fire it is reborn in whatever world the successful sacrificer was doing rituals to obtain. Now here the result *should* be "bliss" but the Buddha serves up the punch-line that indicates to anyone paying attention that he is not describing a generic Cosmic Order: instead of bliss we get the usual misery: dukkha in the form of aging and death.

In DA he is describing "what everybody knows" about the way the world works -- the dominant, generic view -- but he isn't endorsing that view (though that is kinda what people have come to think he is doing). He's not saying "what everybody knows is right (except... dukkha)". He's not even saying "what everybody knows" is wrong. He's saying that our big problem is that everybody thinks they know.

When he talks about rebirth, he is pointing to DA. He isn't pointing to rebirth, though, but to the way we create our self-conception from our beliefs, aka "what everybody knows". Rebirth, then, is the frame for the lesson, not the lesson itself. And the way he uses it is also a lesson -- him putting what he is saying into action.

:namaste:

Sorry to burst your bubble but I call BS in that. You should check the samyutta nikaya book of causation first sutra. When the Buddha explained the DO links, birth aging and death means literal BIRTH ,AGING and DEATH.The DO teaching is about the process of mental and physical dukkha and how to end it in the context of rebirth.
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Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby Nikaya35 » Wed Feb 12, 2014 12:36 am

Spiny Norman wrote:
chownah wrote:"Rebirth is used in the Buddha's talks as a frame for his lessons, it isn't the lesson itself."


In that case why do some people have a problem with rebirth?

I think most people in America and Europe have a problem with rebirth. The great majority of people in America and Europe are eternalists ( they believe in the eternal soul concept , one life and then eternal heaven or hell) or annihilationists( many people think death is the end). The idea of having many pasts lives and future lives is alien to most people in America and Europe.
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Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby rowboat » Wed Feb 12, 2014 1:09 am

This sutta is where it began for me. I find it interesting that so many people think the Buddha meant that *his view* comes with effluents, and results in acquisitions. Is that what you, personally, believe? That the Buddha wants you to adopt a view that comes with effluents and results in acquisitions?


The contrast between mundane and noble Right View is the difference between faith & confidence, and discernment, with dhammavicaya or investigation of dhamma as the primary orienting factor (where there is a balanced accompaniment of mindfulness, energy, rapture....) Right view is not some *ad hoc* presentation concocted by the Buddha only to be abandoned later.
Rain soddens what is covered up,
It does not sodden what is open.
Therefore uncover what is covered
That the rain will not sodden it.
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Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby nowheat » Wed Feb 12, 2014 4:01 am

maitreya31 wrote:
nowheat wrote:

Sorry to burst your bubble but I call BS in that. You should check the samyutta nikaya book of causation first sutra. When the Buddha explained the DO links, birth aging and death means literal BIRTH ,AGING and DEATH.The DO teaching is about the process of mental and physical dukkha and how to end it in the context of rebirth.

I understand why you would see it that way; I'm familiar with the sutta. The same pattern appears in the sutta where Sariputta describes "right view" in terms of, among other things, each of the twelve links. Yes, the description is literal, because it is the literal form that provides the template for what is happening from one link to the next. It's the finger pointing to the moon, not the moon itself.

The literal is also a necessary condition for what's being described to happen. Without consciousness we would not be driven to create a sense of self; without having name-and-form we would not define things in terms of name-and-form; without feeling we would not have experiences in which we sort feelings into pleasant, unpleasant or neither in ways that fulfill our confirmation that we have a self; without birth we would not be able to manifest a sense of self in the world; without aging-and-death (i.e. impermanence) we would not experience dukkha.


:namaste:
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Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby lyndon taylor » Wed Feb 12, 2014 4:53 am

Without self, you wouldn't be posting on the internet!!!
18 years ago I made one of the most important decisions of my life and entered a local Cambodian Buddhist Temple as a temple boy and, for only 3 weeks, an actual Therevada Buddhist monk. I am not a scholar, great meditator, or authority on Buddhism, but Buddhism is something I love from the Bottom of my heart. It has taught me sobriety, morality, peace, and very importantly that my suffering is optional, and doesn't have to run my life. I hope to give back what little I can to the Buddhist community that has so generously given me so much, sincerely former monk John
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Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby nowheat » Wed Feb 12, 2014 4:57 am

rowboat wrote:Right view is not some *ad hoc* presentation concocted by the Buddha only to be abandoned later.

If I understand you correctly, then, the view:

'There is what is given, what is offered, what is sacrificed. There are fruits & results of good & bad actions. There is this world & the next world. There is mother & father. There are spontaneously reborn beings; there are contemplatives & brahmans who, faring rightly & practicing rightly, proclaim this world & the next after having directly known & realized it for themselves.'


represents what the Buddha is saying is the correct view of the way the cosmos works. He could be said to be suggesting that "Only this is true, all other views are wrong"?

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Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby Mkoll » Wed Feb 12, 2014 5:44 am

When the Buddha talks about "mundane right view", I take it to mean he is talking about the right view "to be safeguarded" (MN 95) by his disciples. And it is confirmed by a disciple when that disciple reaches the supramundane path and becomes one of the "contemplatives & brahmans who, faring rightly & practicing rightly, proclaim this world & the next after having directly known & realized it for themselves."

:shrug:
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