the great rebirth debate

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tiltbillings
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Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby tiltbillings » Fri Aug 05, 2011 10:31 pm

daverupa wrote:
kaiel wrote:Found this article...


An opaque and sesquipedalian wall of text with no discernible thesis. :roll:
Now, you are being poilite. This thing was written by " ancientbuddhism" aka Attasarana, Shakya Aryanatta, and Ken Wheeler (among other such handles), self proclaimed "buddhologist" and one time self proclaimed monk, who writes stuff like this.

As an aside, I don't think that that the "ancientbuddhism" that wrote the above linked garbage is the same "ancientbuddhism" that posts here.
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.

dheamhan a fhios agam

"We eat cold eels and think distant thoughts." -- Jack Johnson

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tiltbillings
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Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby tiltbillings » Fri Aug 05, 2011 10:36 pm

kaiel wrote:it seems there is as much disagreement between the schools of Buddhism as there is between us Catholics and Christians. Allegorical interpretation versus Literal, different Suttas in different sects. Found this article which uses strong language against Theravada's idea of anatta http://newsgroups.derkeiler.com/Archive ... 00018.html, I do not like how they approach their arguments as they are certainly not using kind language
This hardly represents anything other than a singular individual's warped point of view, which hardly warrants the statement you just made.
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.

dheamhan a fhios agam

"We eat cold eels and think distant thoughts." -- Jack Johnson

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Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby chownah » Sat Aug 06, 2011 2:33 am

kaiel,
"it seems there is as much disagreement between the schools of Buddhism as there is between us Catholics and Christians. Allegorical interpretation versus Literal, different Suttas in different sects.".......yes...this is ignorance...this is clinging to ones views...this is the condition of humanity and it makes no difference what religious, political, or philosophical views people cling to....the result is ignorance.....I guess....but I'm not sure....
chownah

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Alex123
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Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby Alex123 » Sat Aug 06, 2011 2:37 pm

Hello Kaiel, all,

I understand how we can doubt the accounts of people remembering their past lives. It is possible to doubt them by saying that those are merely imaginations, hallucinations or has some kind of bio-chemical cause (illegal drugs) in the brain. You know, if a person is placed in sensory-deprivation room and/or has oxygen deprivation, certain kind of visions are possible. But are such kind of visions trustworthy?

I understand that at least some cases of little children remembering their previous life and being able to say things that they couldn’t have possibly know be argued away as fraud (by their parents, society, researcher, etc), or some sort of extra-temporal case of telepathy or remote viewing that those kids mistook for their own lives…

What I believe is the way to prove or disprove rebirth is in what I will write below:

Does mental state depend, is conditioned or require previous mental states? Of course it goes without saying that current physical/material state does and can play a certain role. The question is if 100% physical state is sufficient for mental state, or does mental state require in addition to physical things previous mental states? Do ten fetters that bind one to samsara originate at physical birth? If they are due to physical causes only, then what prevents these 10 fetters from originating in Arahant if there were certain physical events? Would injecting Arahant with testosterone, adrenalin, altering brain areas responsible for libido/anger/mood, or whatever, create unwholesome mental states for an Arahant? And conversely, is drugging a person and/or altering brain structure to pacify one and remove all anger and greed create an Arahant?

If current mental state requires and is conditioned by previous mental state (and not just matter), and previous mental state is conditioned by an earlier one, then that means that the first instance of mental state of baby-in-the-womb is conditioned by previous mental state. Those previous mental states can only be in the former life, before this baby with its body was even conceived.

This question of “is mental state conditioned also by previous mental states, not just physical” is of crucial practical importance. If a mental state can be totally independent of previous mental states, ie has bio-chemical cause, then mental practice would make no sense for no previous mental state could influence the current one, hormones would. One could, in theory, become totally deluded under the influence of physical causes even though one was a wise saint before. One could totally change in either way merely due to physical causes. Previous good or bad mental skills would then play no role if it is all due to hormones, chemistry, biology, and other similar physical causes rather than previous mental development.

So the argument in favor or against rebirth is better done regarding the necessity of previous state of mind and mental development, for the present state of mind. According to the Buddha, previous mental state does affect the current one. The ten fetters and underlying tendencies are mental (nāma) in original and caused by ignorance (avijjā), not due to physical (rūpa) causes. So how does a newborn baby get them at the first conscious moment? Not from physical causes, but from previous development of wholesome or unwholesome mental qualities.

So all the fetters are not due to physical causes, thus it is Noble Eightfold path, not Noble Chemical path.

1. Mind precedes all mental states. Mind is their chief; they are all mind-wrought. If with an impure mind a person speaks or acts suffering follows him like the wheel that follows the foot of the ox.
2. Mind precedes all mental states. Mind is their chief; they are all mind-wrought. If with a pure mind a person speaks or acts happiness follows him like his never-departing shadow.
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .budd.html

With best wishes,
Alex
"dust to dust...."

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Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby Nicro » Sat Aug 06, 2011 8:25 pm

Alex123 wrote:
If current mental state requires and is conditioned by previous mental state (and not just matter), and previous mental state is conditioned by an earlier one, then that means that the first instance of mental state of baby-in-the-womb is conditioned by previous mental state. Those previous mental states can only be in the former life, before this baby with its body was even conceived.




IMO...Bingo!

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Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby ancientbuddhism » Sun Aug 07, 2011 5:51 pm

Postby kirk5a» Thu Aug 04, 2011 2:30 pm

ancientbuddhism wrote:Myth of rebirth in the early texts notwithstanding – do the teachings of the Buddha stand or fail based on whether one believes in what cannot be reached by living experience?



How do you KNOW it's a myth? How do you KNOW it "cannot be reached by living experience"? Others while living have said they have in fact seen the truth of it for themselves. So you put yourself in opposition to them - but what is your certainty actually based upon?

Postby bodom » Thu Aug 04, 2011 2:36 pm

ancientbuddhism wrote:Myth of rebirth in the early texts notwithstanding...


According to the Buddha rebirth CAN be known here and now through meditative experience:

"These four bases of power, when developed & pursued, are of great fruit & great benefit. And how are the four bases of power developed & pursued so as to be of great fruit & great benefit?...."He recollects his manifold past lives, i.e., one birth, two births, three births, four, five, ten, twenty, thirty, forty, fifty, one hundred, one thousand, one hundred thousand, many aeons of cosmic contraction, many aeons of cosmic expansion, many aeons of cosmic contraction & expansion, [recollecting], 'There I had such a name, belonged to such a clan, had such an appearance. Such was my food, such my experience of pleasure & pain, such the end of my life. Passing away from that state, I re-arose there. There too I had such a name, belonged to such a clan, had such an appearance. Such was my food, such my experience of pleasure & pain, such the end of my life. Passing away from that state, I re-arose here.' Thus he remembers his manifold past lives in their modes & details.



http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .html#fn-3


To make an assertion by fiat, even backed up by the early texts as you wish (I can read a book too), still amounts to the same thing; it is an empty claim.
Anuvicca papañca nāmarūpaṃ
ajjhattaṃ bahiddhā ca rogamūlaṃ,
sabbarogamūlabandhanā pamutto
anuvidito tādi pavuccate tathattā
.

“Having known the naming of objects,
With its proliferation, its root in illness – within and without;
One is released from bondage to the root of all illness.
And thus is called the Knowing One – the Such.

– Sn. 3.6 (Sabhiyasuttaṃ)

Secure your own mask before assisting others. – NORTHWEST AIRLINES (Pre-Flight Instruction)

A Handful of Leaves

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Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby kirk5a » Mon Aug 08, 2011 3:17 am

ancientbuddhism wrote:To make an assertion by fiat, even backed up by the early texts as you wish (I can read a book too), still amounts to the same thing; it is an empty claim.

You made an empty claim, not those of us who responded to you.
"When one thing is practiced & pursued, ignorance is abandoned, clear knowing arises, the conceit 'I am' is abandoned, latent tendencies are uprooted, fetters are abandoned. Which one thing? Mindfulness immersed in the body." -AN 1.230

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Is hell and hungry ghost realm to be taken literally?

Postby Ervin » Mon Aug 08, 2011 7:00 am

My understaning is that Budhists believe in hell realms. Once a Budhist reverend told me that one day in hell is 50 thousand years. If that is really the case than that is horific and extremley cruel and disproportionate punishment. Honestly I hope there a is no hell or at least if Budha was right than I hope they are to be taken metaphorically.

Anyway, I am interested in your/theravada take on it!

Thanks

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Re: Is hell and hungry ghost realm to be taken literally?

Postby mikenz66 » Mon Aug 08, 2011 7:58 am

Hi Ervin,

The idea of "punishment" is not a feature of Theravada, or Buddhism in general.

Whether or not one takes such things as literal or metaphorical, they are simply a result of causes and conditions.

Just a stepping off a cliff will inevitably cause injury, so certain actions will lead to hell.

:anjali:
Mike

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Re: Is hell and hungry ghost realm to be taken literally?

Postby ground » Mon Aug 08, 2011 8:00 am

I doubt that there is a definition given by the Buddha for what is the meaning of "literal". IMO "literal" can only refer to the dependent arising of habitual fabrication by thought after eye and eye consciousness (or ear and ear consciousness) have contacted an optical (or acoustical) symbol known as "word" or "term" which is meaningless as such. So a "literal meaning" of a meaningless symbol as such actually is determined by habits. Such habits may differ between individuals.


Kind regards

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Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby Aloka » Mon Aug 08, 2011 8:53 am

ancientbuddhism wrote:
cooran wrote:What would be the point of the Buddha's teachings on Kamma without the 'flux of becoming' continuing on until eradication of defilements and attainment of Nibbana?

Maintaining that there is no llife to life rebirth reduces the Buddha's teachings to just another list of ethics.


Myth of rebirth in the early texts notwithstanding – do the teachings of the Buddha stand or fail based on whether one believes in what cannot be reached by living experience? With the myth of rebirth aside I do not see a mere system of ethics, mere petty morality, but a way of living with an analysis of experience which can be put into practice with evident progression.



Personally I find no need for speculation about rebirth/ no rebirth in my practice in the here and now. How can it possibly benefit me in any way to have my mind spinning around speculating on past and future or letting myself be intimidated to choose other than that ? The Buddha said we shouldn't chase after the past and future (MN 2, MN 38, MN 131) he said the Dhamma is visible in the here and now (AN 6.4, SN 1.10 ) I'm happy to continue practising without needing to take any position and also satisfied with the instructions I've received from a respected Forest Tradition teacher.

with metta to all,

Aloka

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Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby tiltbillings » Mon Aug 08, 2011 9:14 am

Aloka wrote:
Personally I find no need for speculation about rebirth/ no rebirth in my practice in the here and now. How can it possibly benefit me in any way to have my mind spinning around speculating on past and future or letting myself be intimidated to choose other than that ? The Buddha said we shouldn't chase after the past and future (MN 2, MN 38, MN 131) he said the Dhamma is visible in the here and now (AN 6.4, SN 1.10 ) I'm happy to continue practising without needing to take any position and also satisfied with the instructions I've received from a respected Forest Tradition teacher.
Yeah, but who is asking you to speculate about rebirth? Asking what it is that the Buddha says in the suttas about the issue is NOT any more unreasonable than asking what the Buddha said about about any number of subjects. And no, you do not need to take a position on rebirth, but there is also no need to try to dismiss the question of rebirth by calling any question about rebirth in the suttas as being speculation, as do some of the rabid anti-rebirthers, when it is not.
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.

dheamhan a fhios agam

"We eat cold eels and think distant thoughts." -- Jack Johnson

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Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby mikenz66 » Mon Aug 08, 2011 9:48 am

Aloka wrote:The Buddha said we shouldn't chase after the past and future (MN 2, MN 38, MN 131)

And in the latter he said not to get drawn into the present either:
"And how is one drawn into present things? Herein, monks, an uninstructed ordinary man who takes no account of the Noble Ones, is unskilled in the Dhamma of the Noble Ones, untrained in the Dhamma of the Noble Ones, taking no account of the good men, unskilled in the Dhamma of the good men, untrained in the Dhamma of the good men, looks upon form as self, or self as possessed of form, or form as in self, or self as in form. He looks upon feeling as self, or self as possessed of feeling, or feeling as in self, or self as in feeling. He looks upon perception as self, or self as possessed of perception, or perception as in self, or self as in perception. He looks upon formations as self, or self as possessed of formations, or formations as in self, or self as in formations. He looks upon consciousness as self, or self as possessed of consciousness, or consciousness as in self, or self as in consciousness. That is how, monks, one is drawn into present things.
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .nana.html

Past, present, future, all things to be avoided... :thinking:

:anjali:
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Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby Aloka » Mon Aug 08, 2011 9:57 am

And in the latter he said not to get drawn into the present either:


One doesnt have to be drawn into the present to simply be relaxed, open and aware in the here and now.

.

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Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby tiltbillings » Mon Aug 08, 2011 10:01 am

Aloka wrote:
And in the latter he said not to get drawn into the present either:


One doesnt have to be drawn into the present to simply be relaxed, open and aware in the here and now.

.
And one does not have to be drawn into the future or past or present to study the Buddha's words.
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.

dheamhan a fhios agam

"We eat cold eels and think distant thoughts." -- Jack Johnson

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Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby mikenz66 » Mon Aug 08, 2011 10:01 am

Aloka wrote:
And in the latter he said not to get drawn into the present either:


One doesnt have to be drawn into the present to simply be relaxed, open and aware in the here and now.

.

Sure, that's what one is aiming for, but the sutta warns us that the present can be just as dangerous a distraction as the past or the future.

:anjali:
Mike

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Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby Aloka » Mon Aug 08, 2011 10:37 am

OK guys, not much point in me continuing, because you obviously consider yourselves to be superior practitioners with all the answers.

with metta

Aloka

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Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby tiltbillings » Mon Aug 08, 2011 10:58 am

Aloka wrote:OK guys, not much point in me continuing, because you obviously consider yourselves to be superior practitioners with all the answers.

with metta

Aloka
Oh, please. That is silly.
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.

dheamhan a fhios agam

"We eat cold eels and think distant thoughts." -- Jack Johnson

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Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby ancientbuddhism » Mon Aug 08, 2011 1:39 pm

kirk5a wrote:
ancientbuddhism wrote:To make an assertion by fiat, even backed up by the early texts as you wish (I can read a book too), still amounts to the same thing; it is an empty claim.

You made an empty claim, not those of us who responded to you.


I realize that these are issues for some, hence the prejudicial fallacies. Re-read my comments here & here; I have made no claim. In the second post I did ask a question.

“Myth of rebirth in the early texts notwithstanding”


Which is to say ‘lets set aside what we cannot demonstrate in order to consider...’ (not for nothin’ but – rebirth fits exactly the definition of what a myth is)

“do the teachings of the Buddha stand or fail based on whether one believes in what cannot be reached by living experience?”


‘whether’ includes both yours et al, textual and personal assumptions on faith & one who chooses to work with what can be known directly; ascertainable by the faculties one has (unless you have an extra khandha in your pocket, this means all of us).

“With the myth of rebirth aside I do not see a mere system of ethics, mere petty morality, but a way of living with an analysis of experience which can be put into practice with evident progression.”


And this would qualify the question by what the questioner suggests is universally workable, that is, you can believe in rebirth and practice, another can be agnostic on rebirth and practice; all without losing what is essentially the aim of the Buddha's teaching.
Anuvicca papañca nāmarūpaṃ
ajjhattaṃ bahiddhā ca rogamūlaṃ,
sabbarogamūlabandhanā pamutto
anuvidito tādi pavuccate tathattā
.

“Having known the naming of objects,
With its proliferation, its root in illness – within and without;
One is released from bondage to the root of all illness.
And thus is called the Knowing One – the Such.

– Sn. 3.6 (Sabhiyasuttaṃ)

Secure your own mask before assisting others. – NORTHWEST AIRLINES (Pre-Flight Instruction)

A Handful of Leaves

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Re: Is hell and hungry ghost realm to be taken literally?

Postby kirk5a » Mon Aug 08, 2011 1:53 pm

TMingyur wrote:I doubt that there is a definition given by the Buddha for what is the meaning of "literal". IMO "literal" can only refer to the dependent arising of habitual fabrication by thought after eye and eye consciousness (or ear and ear consciousness) have contacted an optical (or acoustical) symbol known as "word" or "term" which is meaningless as such. So a "literal meaning" of a meaningless symbol as such actually is determined by habits. Such habits may differ between individuals.

So if you're walking in a park and someone says "look out for the cliff!" then... what. Meaningless-as-such auditory symbols? Which one has a habit of interpreting metaphorically? :smile:
"When one thing is practiced & pursued, ignorance is abandoned, clear knowing arises, the conceit 'I am' is abandoned, latent tendencies are uprooted, fetters are abandoned. Which one thing? Mindfulness immersed in the body." -AN 1.230


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