the great rebirth debate

An open and inclusive investigation into Buddhism and spiritual cultivation

Re: Does rebirth make life less meaningful?

Postby Zadok » Sat Jul 12, 2014 9:23 pm

Alex123 wrote:
TheNoBSBuddhist wrote:Adhering to Self is incorrect.
But adhereing to Not-Self is also incorrect.


It is attachment is the problem. Eventually one should let go of clinging to all and any views, no matter how "right" they are.


There resides the issue we all inevitably face. If we perceive there is a right view then we are still clinging to a view. Consequently by us even communicating at this moment we are clinging to the view of separateness and necessity to communicate our understandings. Inevitably when one comes to understand the true nature of existence one is left with the choice whether to cling knowingly or to renounce this entire existence. We still remain shackled to these gross bodies none the less so either choice we make, as long as it's mindful, is the correct and incorrect choice.
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Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby Ron-The-Elder » Sun Jul 13, 2014 10:44 am

Dr. Dukkha wrote:
If I believed that this was my only life, I'd be a monk Right Now, and I'm 20. It would be my only goal to reach Nibbana and live a peaceful, fruitful life with no suffering. Or I would truly live life on the edge and enjoy.


:thinking: Just to build upon what others have already written:

Buddha explained that human form, a type of sentient being, which is capable of discovering, penetrating, understanding, and practicing The Dhamma as he taught it is extremely rare. He likened the odds to that of a blind sea turtle swimming into the sea, diving to the bottom and rising in the middle of the ocean, and, upon surfacing, finding his head and neck in the center of a single collar yoke. Pretty thin odds.


Buddha also pointed out that there are many, many, (.....) many worse opportunities for rebirth.

So, (short version) the idea was to search, discover, learn and practice while we can, as if we were on fire, earnestly looking for a way to end our stay in this sea of dukkha, samsara, a place of searing pain and suffering, while still in this rare form that we currently occupy. Life is short. Time is running out. (tick tock). It may be many eons before we get another shot at it. :reading:

Following is an excerpt for your examination:

2. THE DANGERS PERTAINING TO FUTURE LIVES
A. Objective aspect. Our liability to harm and danger does not end with death. From the perspective of the Buddha's teaching the event of death is the prelude to a new birth and thus the potential passageway to still further suffering. The Buddha teaches that all living beings bound by ignorance and craving are subject to rebirth. So long as the basic drive to go on existing stands intact, the individualized current of existence continues on after death, inheriting the impressions and dispositions accumulated in the previous life. There is no soul to transmigrate from one life to the next, but there is an ongoing stream of consciousness which springs up following death in a new form appropriate to its own dominant tendencies.

Rebirth, according to Buddhism, can take place in any of six realms of becoming. The lowest of the six is the hells, regions of severe pain and torment where evil actions receive their due expiation. Then comes the animal kingdom where suffering prevails and brute force is the ruling power. Next is the realm of "hungry ghosts" (petavisaya), shadowy beings afflicted with strong desires they can never satisfy. Above them is the human world, with its familiar balance of happiness and suffering, virtue and evil. Then comes the world of the demi-gods (asuras), titanic beings obsessed by jealousy and ambition. And at the top stands the heavenly worlds inhabited by the devas or gods.

The first three realms of rebirth — the hells, the animal kingdom, and the realm of ghosts — together with the asuras, are called the "evil destinations" (duggati) or "plane of misery" (apayabhumi). They receive these names because of the preponderance of suffering found in them. The human world and the heavenly worlds are called, in contrast, the "happy destinations" (sugati) since they contain a preponderance of happiness. Rebirth in the evil destinations is considered especially unfortunate not only because of the intrinsic suffering they involve, but for another reason as well. Rebirth there is calamitous because escape from the evil destinations is extremely difficult. A fortunate rebirth depends on the performance of meritorious actions, but the beings in the evil destinations find little opportunity to acquire merit; thence the suffering in these realms tends to perpetuate itself in a circle very difficult to break. The Buddha says that if a yoke with a single hole was floating at random on the sea, and a blind turtle living in the sea were to surface once every hundred years — the likelihood of the turtle pushing his neck through the hole in the yoke would be greater than that of a being in the evil destinations regaining human status. For these two reasons — because of their inherent misery and because of the difficulty of escaping from them — rebirth in the evil destinations is a grave danger pertaining to the future life, from which we need protection.


source: http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/auth ... el282.html
Last edited by Ron-The-Elder on Sun Jul 13, 2014 10:54 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Does rebirth make life less meaningful?

Postby Spiny Norman » Sun Jul 13, 2014 10:47 am

Alex123 wrote:It is attachment is the problem. Eventually one should let go of clinging to all and any views, no matter how "right" they are.


Yes, even materialist views. :tongue:
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Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby TheNoBSBuddhist » Sun Jul 13, 2014 11:01 am

Letting go of opinion, is the crux of the matter.

In my opinion.

Seriously.

Hardest thing anyone could ever be asked, or expected to do.

I mean, exactly HOW do you let go of everything you truly believe in?

Exactly?
:namaste:

You will not be punished FOR your 'emotions'; you will be punished BY your 'emotions'.



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Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby Dr. Dukkha » Mon Jul 14, 2014 2:28 am

Ron-The-Elder wrote:
Dr. Dukkha wrote:
If I believed that this was my only life, I'd be a monk Right Now, and I'm 20. It would be my only goal to reach Nibbana and live a peaceful, fruitful life with no suffering. Or I would truly live life on the edge and enjoy.


:thinking: Just to build upon what others have already written:

Buddha explained that human form, a type of sentient being, which is capable of discovering, penetrating, understanding, and practicing The Dhamma as he taught it is extremely rare. He likened the odds to that of a blind sea turtle swimming into the sea, diving to the bottom and rising in the middle of the ocean, and, upon surfacing, finding his head and neck in the center of a single collar yoke. Pretty thin odds.


Buddha also pointed out that there are many, many, (.....) many worse opportunities for rebirth.

So, (short version) the idea was to search, discover, learn and practice while we can, as if we were on fire, earnestly looking for a way to end our stay in this sea of dukkha, samsara, a place of searing pain and suffering, while still in this rare form that we currently occupy. Life is short. Time is running out. (tick tock). It may be many eons before we get another shot at it. :reading:

Following is an excerpt for your examination:

2. THE DANGERS PERTAINING TO FUTURE LIVES
A. Objective aspect. Our liability to harm and danger does not end with death. From the perspective of the Buddha's teaching the event of death is the prelude to a new birth and thus the potential passageway to still further suffering. The Buddha teaches that all living beings bound by ignorance and craving are subject to rebirth. So long as the basic drive to go on existing stands intact, the individualized current of existence continues on after death, inheriting the impressions and dispositions accumulated in the previous life. There is no soul to transmigrate from one life to Rebirth, according to Buddhism, can take place in any of six realms of becoming. The lowest of the six is the hells, regions of severe pain and torment where evil actions receive their due expiation. Then comes the animal kingdom where suffering prevails and brute force is the ruling power. Next is the realm of "hungry ghosts" (petavisaya), shadowy beings afflicted with strong desires they can never satisfy. Above them is the human world, with its familiar balance of happiness and suffering, virtue and evil. Then comes the world of the demi-gods (asuras), titanic beings obsessed by jealousy and ambition. And at the top stands the heavenly worlds inhabited by the devas or gods.

The first three realms of rebirth — the hells, the animal kingdom, and the realm of ghosts — together with the asuras, are called the "evil destinations" (duggati) or "plane of misery" (apayabhumi). They receive these names because of the preponderance of suffering found in them. The human world and the heavenly worlds are called, in contrast, the "happy destinations" (sugati) since they contain a preponderance of happiness. Rebirth in the evil destinations is considered especially unfortunate not only because of the intrinsic suffering they involve, but for another reason as well. Rebirth there is calamitous because escape from the evil destinations is extremely difficult. A fortunate rebirth depends on the performance of meritorious actions, but the beings in the evil destinations find little opportunity to acquire merit; thence the suffering in these realms tends to perpetuate itself in a circle very difficult to break. The Buddha says that if a yoke with a single hole was floating at random on the sea, and a blind turtle living in the sea were to surface once every hundred years — the likelihood of the turtle pushing his neck through the hole in the yoke would be greater than that of a being in the evil destinations regaining human status. For these two reasons — because of their inherent misery and because of the difficulty of escaping from them — rebirth in the evil destinations is a grave danger pertaining to the future life, from which we need protection.


source: http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/auth ... el282.html


Are all the realms of conciousness in this Universe? Are they all describing the status of a human or animal or microscopic life? Because Hell could he a thirsty ant in Africa. Or does it mean an actual place where you suffer torment? If the latter, what is it like?

(Sorry I didn't pull out the part of your post that was specific to my question. I don't have Internet at my house so I use my phone.)
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Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby Spiny Norman » Mon Jul 14, 2014 8:34 am

TheNoBSBuddhist wrote:I mean, exactly HOW do you let go of everything you truly believe in?


I think a good starting point is seeing clearly that opinions are just opinions, views are just views and beliefs are just beliefs. We don't have to take them quite so seriously, and they can be lightly held.
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Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby Ron-The-Elder » Mon Jul 14, 2014 1:04 pm

Dr. Dukkha: "Are all the realms of conciousness in this Universe? Are they all describing the status of a human or animal or microscopic life? Because Hell could he a thirsty ant in Africa. Or does it mean an actual place where you suffer torment? If the latter, what is it like?"


According to Buddha's teachings there are 31 Planes of Existence which are Samsaric, and then there is Nibbana.

Thirty One Planes of Existence -- http://www.accesstoinsight.org/ptf/dham ... /loka.html

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

Dr. Dukkha: "(Sorry I didn't pull out the part of your post that was specific to my question. I don't have Internet at my house so I use my phone.)"


No problem. I can't even read those phone screens as the text is too small for me. :tongue:
What Makes an Elder? :
A head of gray hairs doesn't mean one's an elder. Advanced in years, one's called an old fool.
But one in whom there is truth, restraint, rectitude, gentleness,self-control, he's called an elder, his impurities disgorged, enlightened.
-Dhammpada, 19, translated by Thanissaro Bhikkhu.
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Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby chownah » Wed Jul 16, 2014 4:54 am

Spiny Norman wrote:
TheNoBSBuddhist wrote:I mean, exactly HOW do you let go of everything you truly believe in?


I think a good starting point is seeing clearly that opinions are just opinions, views are just views and beliefs are just beliefs. We don't have to take them quite so seriously, and they can be lightly held.

Of course some views might lead to heaven and some might lead to hell.....but I guess this is no reason to take them quite so seriously.
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Re: Does rebirth make life less meaningful?

Postby clw_uk » Mon Jul 21, 2014 2:23 am

Spiny Norman wrote:
Alex123 wrote:It is attachment is the problem. Eventually one should let go of clinging to all and any views, no matter how "right" they are.


Yes, even materialist views. :tongue:



And supernatural views :)
“ Your mind is likewise blocked. But the right road awaits you still. Cast out your doubts, your fears and your desires, let go of grief and of hope as well, for where these rule , then the mind is their subject." Boetius
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Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby clw_uk » Mon Jul 21, 2014 2:32 am

TheNoBSBuddhist wrote:
I mean, exactly HOW do you let go of everything you truly believe in?



By seeing how views arise, which is through reactions of like or dislike in relation to ideas that come to be via contact. An idea touches the mind base and a feeling of like or dislike arises, which the ignorant mind follows and proliferates. Then you have views and opinions, metaphysics and philosophy etc.


When your practice the nefp you can see how this process arises, and so you can see how ideas are generated, subject to change and not-self and so you can let go of views, be they political or supernatural, because views and opinions aren't yours :)


However this is a process that comes naturally through following the path. Just as a river slowly inclines to the ocean, so a human following the path slowly inclines towards non-view/non-clinging.


The path is gradual, views cannot be forced away any more than craving in general can be. They are slowly relinquished the more and more a man sees how the mind works. Any forced relinquishment of views is just more craving (aversion).
Last edited by clw_uk on Mon Jul 21, 2014 2:49 am, edited 3 times in total.
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Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby clw_uk » Mon Jul 21, 2014 2:39 am

How views arise

'If, with regard to the cause whereby the perceptions & categories of objectification assail a person, there is nothing there to relish, welcome, or remain fastened to, then that is the endof the obsessions of passion, the obsessions of resistance, the obsessions of views, the obsessions of uncertainty, the obsessions of conceit, the obsessions of passion for becoming, & the obsessions of ignorance. That is the end of taking up rods & bladed weapons, of arguments, quarrels, disputes, accusations, divisive tale-bearing, & false speech. That is where these evil, unskillful things cease without remainder'

...

"Dependent on intellect & ideas, intellect-consciousness arises. The meeting of the three is contact. With contact as a requisite condition, there is feeling. What one feels, one perceives (labels in the mind). What one perceives, one thinks about. What one thinks about, one objectifies. Based on what a person objectifies, the perceptions & categories of objectification assail him/her with regard to past, present, & future ideas cognizable via the intellect.


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



And the end result

[This is the teaching of the Buddha:

Paramatthaka Sutta: On Views

"A person who associates himself with certain views, considering them as best and making them supreme in the world, he says, because of that, that all other views are inferior; therefore he is not free from contention (with others). In what is seen, heard, cognized and in ritual observances performed, he sees a profit for himself. Just by laying hold of that view he regards every other view as worthless. Those skilled (in judgment)[1] say that (a view becomes) a bond if, relying on it, one regards everything else as inferior. Therefore a bhikkhu should not depend on what is seen, heard or cognized, nor upon ritual observances. He should not present himself as equal to, nor imagine himself to be inferior, nor better than, another. Abandoning (the views) he had (previously) held and not taking up (another), he does not seek a support even in knowledge. Among those who dispute he is certainly not one to take sides. He does not [have] recourse to a view at all. In whom there is no inclination to either extreme, for becoming or non-becoming, here or in another existence, for him there does not exist a fixed viewpoint on investigating the doctrines assumed (by others). Concerning the seen, the heard and the cognized he does not form the least notion. That brahmana[2] who does not grasp at a view, with what could he be identified in the world?

"They do not speculate nor pursue (any notion); doctrines are not accepted by them. A (true) brahmana is beyond, does not fall back on views."

Sn 4.5[/quote]
“ Your mind is likewise blocked. But the right road awaits you still. Cast out your doubts, your fears and your desires, let go of grief and of hope as well, for where these rule , then the mind is their subject." Boetius
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Re: Does rebirth make life less meaningful?

Postby Spiny Norman » Mon Jul 21, 2014 8:38 am

clw_uk wrote:
Spiny Norman wrote:
Alex123 wrote:It is attachment is the problem. Eventually one should let go of clinging to all and any views, no matter how "right" they are.


Yes, even materialist views. :tongue:


And supernatural views :)


Materialist views are harder to let go of. :tongue:
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Re: Does rebirth make life less meaningful?

Postby clw_uk » Mon Jul 21, 2014 2:24 pm


Materialist views are harder to let go of. :tongue:



Are they? Surely that depends on the individual's preferences?

How do you know this is true for everyone?
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Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby Ron-The-Elder » Mon Jul 21, 2014 2:56 pm

Since this discussion has evolved into a discussion of attachment to views, I thought that I would introduce an engineering concept known as parallax.

par·al·lax
ˈparəˌlaks/Submit
noun the effect whereby the position or direction of an object appears to differ when viewed from different positions,
e.g., through the viewfinder and the lens of a camera.


A person's observation is dependent upon that person's position in the universe. Position need not be just of locus or angle of perspective, but it can be a function of rearing, culture, economic or educational status. It is therefore and thereby a social as well as a mathematical and geometric consideration.

The key is attachment to such perspectives. If we realize that our view is affected by these geometrical, and social loci, and we value accuracy and truth, then we in fact become more willing to change our positions so as to get a better, more accurate perspective.

That's all I got. :tongue:
What Makes an Elder? :
A head of gray hairs doesn't mean one's an elder. Advanced in years, one's called an old fool.
But one in whom there is truth, restraint, rectitude, gentleness,self-control, he's called an elder, his impurities disgorged, enlightened.
-Dhammpada, 19, translated by Thanissaro Bhikkhu.
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Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby clw_uk » Mon Jul 21, 2014 4:56 pm

Ron-The-Elder wrote:Since this discussion has evolved into a discussion of attachment to views, I thought that I would introduce an engineering concept known as parallax.

par·al·lax
ˈparəˌlaks/Submit
noun the effect whereby the position or direction of an object appears to differ when viewed from different positions,
e.g., through the viewfinder and the lens of a camera.


A person's observation is dependent upon that person's position in the universe. Position need not be just of locus or angle of perspective, but it can be a function of rearing, culture, economic or educational status. It is therefore and thereby a social as well as a mathematical and geometric consideration.

The key is attachment to such perspectives. If we realize that our view is affected by these geometrical, and social loci, and we value accuracy and truth, then we in fact become more willing to change our positions so as to get a better, more accurate perspective.

That's all I got. :tongue:




Good post, that sounds a bit like the Jain position of Anekāntavāda


However I wouldn't say we should necessarily change one set of views for another, or should aim to find some kind of metaphysical "truth" or "ultimate reality".
“ Your mind is likewise blocked. But the right road awaits you still. Cast out your doubts, your fears and your desires, let go of grief and of hope as well, for where these rule , then the mind is their subject." Boetius
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Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby Alex123 » Mon Jul 21, 2014 7:21 pm

Hello clw_uk,

Some interesting comments you have.

Isn't "don't have any views" a view itself?

Also

Isn't "Dependent on intellect & ideas, intellect-consciousness arises...etc.", a view as well?

Thanks,

Alex
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Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby TheNoBSBuddhist » Mon Jul 21, 2014 7:53 pm

How can we talk about something if we can't talk about it?
:namaste:

You will not be punished FOR your 'emotions'; you will be punished BY your 'emotions'.



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Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby clw_uk » Mon Jul 21, 2014 8:23 pm

Alex123 wrote:Hello clw_uk,

Some interesting comments you have.

Isn't "don't have any views" a view itself?

Also

Isn't "Dependent on intellect & ideas, intellect-consciousness arises...etc.", a view as well?

Thanks,

Alex




Yup since it's just an idea of liberation from views, not an actual liberation. I haven't reached the end yet ;)

But as we are taught, there is an aspiration that leads to detachment


"Is there a path, is there a practice, for the abandoning of that desire?"

"Yes, there is a path, there is a practice, for the abandoning of that desire."

"What is the path, the practice, for the abandoning of that desire?"

"Brahman, there is the case where a monk develops the base of power endowed with concentration founded on desire & the fabrications of exertion. He develops the base of power endowed with concentration founded on persistence... concentration founded on intent... concentration founded on discrimination & the fabrications of exertion. This, Brahman, is the path, this is the practice for the abandoning of that desire."

"If that's so, Master Ananda, then it's an endless path, and not one with an end, for it's impossible that one could abandon desire by means of desire."



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


So the letting go of all views comes to be gradually and naturally, just like letting go of all desires does :)
Last edited by clw_uk on Mon Jul 21, 2014 8:27 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby clw_uk » Mon Jul 21, 2014 8:27 pm

Alex the same question you ask was addressed here I believe


"Whatever has been brought into being, is fabricated, willed, dependently originated, that is inconstant. Whatever is inconstant is stress. Whatever is stress is not me, is not what I am, is not my self. This is the sort of view I have."

"So, householder, whatever has been brought into being, is fabricated, willed, dependently originated, that is inconstant. Whatever is inconstant is stress. You thus adhere to that very stress, submit yourself to that very stress."

"Venerable sirs, whatever has been brought into being, is fabricated, willed, dependently originated, that is inconstant. Whatever is inconstant is stress. Whatever is stress is not me, is not what I am, is not my self. Having seen this well with right discernment as it actually is present, I also discern the higher escape from it as it actually is present."


http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html
“ Your mind is likewise blocked. But the right road awaits you still. Cast out your doubts, your fears and your desires, let go of grief and of hope as well, for where these rule , then the mind is their subject." Boetius
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Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby clw_uk » Mon Jul 21, 2014 8:41 pm

Isn't "Dependent on intellect & ideas, intellect-consciousness arises...etc.", a view as well?



That's an interesting one! I would say it's a statement of fact rather than an opinion. A knowledge that is achieved through impersonal detached observation, rather than a view point established by following likes or dislikes.



Perhaps a view is the best possible guess, rather than what is fact?
Last edited by clw_uk on Mon Jul 21, 2014 8:49 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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