the great rebirth debate

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Re: Buddhist Rebirth Refuted?

Postby DarkDream » Thu Feb 26, 2009 7:47 am

green wrote:A Buddhist should NEVER argue about rebirth without discussing Dependent causation - to discuss it without a detailed discussion of this cycle would be like falling into a trap or wrong views.

The Arahant gains the "Tevijja" or three knowledges -- which includes the knowledge of past lives.

:anjali:


I think you are mistaken here. Not arahants or enlightened beings have the three knowledges. There were many disciples of the Buddha (and even a few rare cases of lay people) who attained full spirtual realization without experiencing with the "divine eye" rebirth of beings and seeing one's own past lives. In fact, these two knowledges were described to been having attained by non-buddhist practioners, but they were not enlightened.

--DarkDream
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Re: Buddhist Rebirth Refuted?

Postby mikenz66 » Thu Feb 26, 2009 8:23 am

Hi DD,
Yes, I'm familiar with ehipassiko...
DarkDream wrote:A lovely Pali word is ehipassiko which means "come see." The fundamental difference is you can actually walk the path and "come see" for yourself by experiencing it....

Which may take many lifetimes, and is not certain until Arahantship, according to the Suttas.
See this post: viewtopic.php?f=16&t=773&p=9416#p9416

Metta
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Re: Buddhist Rebirth Refuted?

Postby tiltbillings » Thu Feb 26, 2009 10:06 am

DarkDream wrote:
tiltbillings wrote:
Bottom line: literal rebirth after death is a belief. To me it is just speculation. It seems I can't know for myself that it is true. As such I think it is for Buddhism a thing that should be put aside. Unfortunately, I see it as Buddhism's greatest attachment besides trying to sneek back ontology and the answering of metaphysical questions that the Buddha refused to answer.


Then why did the Buddha teach it as if it were true?


This is a very good question. I don't have all the answers but here is my opinion on the matter.

. . .

This is my best guess, and I'm going to try to explore it further.

All the best,

--DarkDream


Best guess nicely sums it up.
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: Buddhist Rebirth Refuted?

Postby nathan » Thu Feb 26, 2009 11:36 am

Ditto, arrow out first, add it to the collection later. :smile:
But whoever walking, standing, sitting, or lying down overcomes thought, delighting in the stilling of thought: he's capable, a monk like this, of touching superlative self-awakening. § 110. {Iti 4.11; Iti 115}
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Re: Buddhist Rebirth Refuted?

Postby Element » Fri Feb 27, 2009 3:50 am

DarkDream wrote: There were many disciples of the Buddha who attained full spirtual realization without experiencing with the "divine eye"...

Such as Venerable Sariputta. Of Sariputta, the Buddha declared no other upheld the Dhamma like him.
Last edited by Element on Fri Feb 27, 2009 3:58 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Buddhist Rebirth Refuted?

Postby Element » Fri Feb 27, 2009 3:57 am

nathan wrote:A thread with this title should not even exist here. Mods, change the title, remove the thread or remove Dhamma from the name and call these forums Wheel from now on.

The Buddha did not mention rebirth in his first three sermons.

After the first sermon on the Four Noble Truths, Kondanna attained stream-entry thru the realisation: "All that is subject to arising is subject to cessation". No rebirth there.

After the second sermon, all listeners gained arahantship via the discourse of the Three Characteristics. Definitely no rebirth there.

After the third sermon, many listeners gained arahantship via the discourse of the Three Defilements On Fire. Definitely no rebirth there.

The word Dhamma means "that which sustains, that which upholds". The sustainence of Nibbana is dhamma in the here & now from engaging the above discourses. The doctrine of rebirth cannot 'sustain' or 'uphold' Nibbana. That is impossible. Thus the doctine of rebirth is not (supramundane) dhamma.
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Re: Buddhist Rebirth Refuted?

Postby Element » Fri Feb 27, 2009 4:03 am

DarkDream wrote:...without experiencing with the "divine eye" rebirth of beings and seeing one's own past lives.

Brother.

You are referring to something you are attempting to refute.

All arahants see their past lives.

However, the meaning of this is explained in the Khajjaniya Sutta.
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Re: Buddhist Rebirth Refuted?

Postby kc2dpt » Fri Feb 27, 2009 6:05 am

DarkDream wrote:with things like devas and things is that it is a faith where you can never have your doubts resolved.

You know this how?

That is not like with the other teachings where you can experience it yourself and come to a conclusion.

You have experienced Nibbana? What is your conclusion?
- Peter

Be heedful and you will accomplish your goal.
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Re: Buddhist Rebirth Refuted?

Postby Dhammanando » Fri Feb 27, 2009 10:23 am

Element wrote:Dark Dream: There were many disciples of the Buddha who attained full spirtual realization without experiencing with the "divine eye"...

Such as Venerable Sariputta.


That's not correct. I would guess you are thinking of the Udāna passage where Sāriputta admits that he was unable to see mud sprites. However, he did possess the three vijjās and these are one of the things Mahāmoggallāna praises in his Theragāthā eulogy to Sāriputta. He would therefore have been able to recall his former lives.

Best wishes,
Dhammanando Bhikkhu
    ...and this thought arose in the mind of the Blessed One:
    “Who lives without reverence lives miserably.”
    Uruvela Sutta, A.ii.20

    It were endless to dispute upon everything that is disputable.
    — William Penn Some Fruits of Solitude,
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Re: Buddhist Rebirth Refuted?

Postby Dhammanando » Fri Feb 27, 2009 10:29 am

Element wrote:The Buddha did not mention rebirth in his first three sermons.


I would say that rebirth is either implicit or presupposed in all three of these sermons.

The Buddha sometimes taught the Dhamma in brief and sometimes in detail. In the earliest phase of his teaching career he deliberately sought out those whose faculties were ripe for speedy awakening and for whom Dhamma teachings in brief were all that was needed for the arising of the Dhamma eye.

In the first sermon, the Dhammacakkappavattana Sutta, part of the definition of the first noble truth is:

    yampicchaṃ na labhati tampi dukkhaṃ

    “Not to obtain what one wants is dukkha.”

This is an example of a statement of Dhamma in brief and was sufficient for the arising of the Dhamma eye in Koṇḍañña. In later teachings, however, the Buddha states the same in detail:

    “And what, bhikkhus, is ‘not to obtain what one wants is dukkha? To beings subject to birth there comes the wish: ‘Oh, that we were not subject to birth! That birth would not come to us!’ But this is not to be obtained by wishing, and not to obtain what one wants is dukkha.”
    [repeat for aging, sickness, death, sorrow etc.]
    (DN. 22; MN. 141)

And don’t try telling me that ‘subject to birth’, ‘subject to aging’ etc. really means subject to the momentary birth and death of the ego, for the same sutta defines these things in graphic physical terms (‘greying’, ‘wrinkling’ etc.).


In the second and third sermons rebirth is presupposed by the statement:

    khīṇā jāti, vusitaṃ brahmacariyaṃ, kataṃ karaṇīyaṃ, nāparaṃ itthattāyā ti pajānātī ti.

    “He knows: ‘destroyed is birth, the holy life has been lived, what needed to be done has been done, there is no more coming to any state of existence’”.

Best wishes,
Dhammanando Bhikkhu
    ...and this thought arose in the mind of the Blessed One:
    “Who lives without reverence lives miserably.”
    Uruvela Sutta, A.ii.20

    It were endless to dispute upon everything that is disputable.
    — William Penn Some Fruits of Solitude,
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Re: Buddhist Rebirth Refuted?

Postby Element » Fri Feb 27, 2009 10:40 am

Dhammanando wrote:That's not correct. I would guess you are thinking of the Udāna passage where Sāriputta admits that he was unable to see mud sprites. However, he did possess the three vijjās and these are one of the things Mahāmoggallāna praises in his Theragāthā eulogy to Sāriputta. He would therefore have been able to recall his former lives.

It was stated earlier, all arahants can recall their former lives, as instructed in the Khajjaniya Sutta.

Also, to comprehend the laws of kamma does not require Divine Eye. Naturally, Sariputta had the Three Knowledges but did not have Divine Eye.

The Lord Buddha has ellucidated the laws of kamma sufficiently for thorough understanding.
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Re: Buddhist Rebirth Refuted?

Postby Element » Fri Feb 27, 2009 10:46 am

Dhammanando wrote:I would say that rebirth is either implicit or presupposed in all three of these sermons.

I would say that rebirth is not either implicit or presupposed in all three of these sermons.

The first three sermons are about the cessation of mental things. They are about the cessation attachment, craving, ignorance and defilement.

The first three sermons are about here & now Nibbana.
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Re: Buddhist Rebirth Refuted?

Postby Element » Fri Feb 27, 2009 10:51 am

Dhammanando wrote:And don’t try telling me that ‘subject to birth’, ‘subject to aging’ etc. really means subject to the momentary birth and death of the ego, for the same sutta defines these things in graphic physical terms (‘greying’, ‘wrinkling’ etc.).

Most the suttanta is about here & now Nibbana. Buddha taught mostly, such as to Bahiya, Nibbana arises when mindfulness & wisdom is present at sense contact and the defilements of greed, hatred and delusion are extinguished.

It is not our role to base our entire interpretation of the salient aspects or heartwood of Lord Buddha's teachings on a few words, such ‘greying’, ‘wrinkling’.

It is our role to reconcile the few words, such as ‘greying’, ‘wrinkling’, with the heartwood of the Suttanta.
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Re: Buddhist Rebirth Refuted?

Postby Element » Fri Feb 27, 2009 10:56 am

Dhammanando wrote:
    khīṇā jāti, vusitaṃ brahmacariyaṃ, kataṃ karaṇīyaṃ, nāparaṃ itthattāyā ti pajānātī ti.

    “He knows: ‘destroyed is birth, the holy life has been lived, what needed to be done has been done, there is no more coming to any state of existence’”.

If these words referred to physical phenomena than all of the arahants would have vanished from the earth upon arahantship.

Destroyed is 'ego birth'. Destroyed in 'being' or 'becoming', believing one is 'this' or one is 'that'.

The Lord Buddha has elucuidated the meaning of these things in many places, such as in the Khajjaniya Sutta and in the Dhatu-vibhanga Sutta.
"'He has been stilled where the currents of construing do not flow. And when the currents of construing do not flow, he is said to be a sage at peace.' Thus was it said. With reference to what was it said? 'I am' is a construing. 'I am this' is a construing. 'I shall be' is a construing. 'I shall not be'... 'I shall be possessed of form'... 'I shall not be possessed of form'... 'I shall be percipient'... 'I shall not be percipient'... 'I shall be neither percipient nor non-percipient' is a construing. Construing is a disease, construing is a cancer, construing is an arrow. By going beyond all construing, he is said to be a sage at peace.

"Furthermore, a sage at peace is not born, does not age, does not die, is unagitated, and is free from longing. He has nothing whereby he would be born. Not being born, will he age? Not aging, will he die? Not dying, will he be agitated? Not being agitated, for what will he long? It was in reference to this that it was said, 'He has been stilled where the currents of construing do not flow. And when the currents of construing do not flow, he is said to be a sage at peace.'
Last edited by Element on Fri Feb 27, 2009 11:45 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Buddhist Rebirth Refuted?

Postby Element » Fri Feb 27, 2009 11:01 am

Dhammanando wrote:I would say that rebirth is either implicit or presupposed in all three of these sermons.

Just the the first three sermons are connected to Emptiness, similarly are the first three sermons empty of rebirth.

Kondanna's illumination was unrelated to rebirth. However, as the other four listerners were possibly clinging to their views of rebirth, they did not comprehend.
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Re: Buddhist Rebirth Refuted?

Postby Dhammanando » Fri Feb 27, 2009 11:04 am

Element wrote:Also, to comprehend the laws of kamma does not require Divine Eye. Naturally, Sariputta had the Three Knowledges but did not have Divine Eye.


In the post to which you were earlier replying Dark Dream had used the term 'divine eye' (incorrectly, I think) to refer to knowledge of one's former lives.

Best wishes,
Dhammanando Bhikkhu
    ...and this thought arose in the mind of the Blessed One:
    “Who lives without reverence lives miserably.”
    Uruvela Sutta, A.ii.20

    It were endless to dispute upon everything that is disputable.
    — William Penn Some Fruits of Solitude,
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Re: Buddhist Rebirth Refuted?

Postby Dhammanando » Fri Feb 27, 2009 11:09 am

Element again indulges in his penchant for moving the goalposts:

Element wrote:The first three sermons are about the cessation of mental things. They are about the cessation attachment, craving, ignorance and defilement.

The first three sermons are about here & now Nibbana.


Which is of course a rather different claim to your earlier one:

"The Buddha did not mention rebirth in his first three sermons."


Best wishes,
Dhammanando Bhikkhu
    ...and this thought arose in the mind of the Blessed One:
    “Who lives without reverence lives miserably.”
    Uruvela Sutta, A.ii.20

    It were endless to dispute upon everything that is disputable.
    — William Penn Some Fruits of Solitude,
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Re: Buddhist Rebirth Refuted?

Postby Element » Fri Feb 27, 2009 11:15 am

Dhammanando wrote:
    “And what, bhikkhus, is ‘not to obtain what one wants is dukkha? To beings subject to birth there comes the wish: ‘Oh, that we were not subject to birth! That birth would not come to us!’ But this is not to be obtained by wishing, and not to obtain what one wants is dukkha.”
    [repeat for aging, sickness, death, sorrow etc.]
    (DN. 22; MN. 141)

And don’t try telling me that ‘subject to birth’, ‘subject to aging’ etc. really means subject to the momentary birth and death of the ego, for the same sutta defines these things in graphic physical terms (‘greying’, ‘wrinkling’ etc.).

I am happy to tell you that 'being subject to birth' means feeling burdened by life.

There are three kinds of wishing: wishing for sensuality, wishing for birth and not wishing for birth.

When suffering arises in people, sometimes they wish they were not born. This is nihilism. Suicidal.

The First Truth lists those things they are obviously dukkha and the thing that is subtely real dukkha, namely, attachment.

In the First Truth, Buddha does not say: "Association with the loved is dukkha".

MN 26 states the opposite. MN 26 states: What is subject to birth? Gold and silver are subject to birth. In other words, they are subject to acquisition or ownership. They are subject to attachment or possession. To "I" and "mine". Being so, they subject to impermanence, to old age, disease and death. Thus dukkha.
Last edited by Element on Fri Feb 27, 2009 11:20 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Buddhist Rebirth Refuted?

Postby Element » Fri Feb 27, 2009 11:19 am

And what may be said to be subject to birth? Spouses & children are subject to birth. Men & women slaves... goats & sheep... fowl & pigs... elephants, cattle, horses, & mares... gold & silver are subject to birth. Subject to birth are these acquisitions, and one who is tied to them, infatuated with them, who has totally fallen for them, being subject to birth, seeks what is likewise subject to birth.

MN 26
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Re: Buddhist Rebirth Refuted?

Postby Element » Fri Feb 27, 2009 11:50 am

Whilst I prefer Buddhadasa's illumination of dependent origination, Nanavira offered an interesting perspective on 'birth' & 'death'.

The fundamental upādāna or 'holding' is attavāda (see Majjhima ii,1 <M.i,67>), which is holding a belief in 'self'. The puthujjana [unenlightened] takes what appears to be his 'self' at its face value; and so long as this goes on he continues to be a 'self', at least in his own eyes (and in those of others like him). This is bhava or 'being'.

The puthujjana knows that people are born and die; and since he thinks 'my self exists' so he also thinks 'my self was born' and 'my self will die'. The puthujjana sees a 'self' to whom the words birth and death apply.

In contrast to the puthujjana, the arahat has altogether got rid of asmimāna [self-view] (not to speak of attavāda), and does not even think 'I am'. This is bhavanirodha, cessation of being. And since he does not think 'I am' he also does not think 'I was born' or 'I shall die'. In other words, he sees no 'self' or even 'I' for the words birth and death to apply to. This is jātinirodha and jarāmarananirodha. (See, in Kosala Samy. i,3 <S.i,71>, how the words birth and death are avoided when the arahat is spoken of).

The puthujjana, taking his apparent 'self' at face value, does not see that he is a victim of upādāna [attachment]; he does not see that 'being a self' depends upon 'holding a belief in self' (upādānapaccayā bhavo); and he does not see that birth and death depend upon his 'being a self' (bhavapaccayā jāti, and so on).

The ariyasāvaka [enlightened practitioner], on the other hand, does see these things, and he sees also their cessation (even though he may not yet have fully realized it); and his seeing of these things is direct. Quite clearly, the idea of re-birth is totally irrelevant here.

A NOTE ON PATICCASAMUPPÁDA
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