the great rebirth debate

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Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby tiltbillings » Thu Nov 29, 2012 5:47 pm

Any "debate" with Kevin Solway about rebirth will happen in linked thread only: viewtopic.php?f=16&t=15146
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

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Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby Spiny Norman » Fri Nov 30, 2012 2:55 pm

dsaly1969 wrote:Scanning through this thread and the metaphysical speculation, it seems to remind me of the parable of the poison arrow. Deal with the dukkha. :tongue:


Sure, but understanding dukkha involves understanding dependent origination....and so it goes on... :tongue:
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Re: Is hell and hungry ghost realm to be taken literally?

Postby Javi » Sat Dec 01, 2012 1:28 am

Bluelotus, I also interpret rebirth into hell and heaven in this manner. I understand that the suttas generally put forth a view of multiple realms as actual metaphysical places, and while I try to remain agnostic about this, I really do not believe in them. I guess being born into the christian west and leaving that tradition because of similar ideas makes you averse to such things. I generally don't think about it too much, in fact, I have only really thought about this often since coming into this forum because it seems that it is something widely discussed. :shrug:

I like the zen approach to this myself, I know it's not exactly orthodox but oh well.

Nobushige, a great samurai, sought out Hakuin and asked: "Is there really a heaven and a hell?"
"Who are you?" asked Hakuin.
"I am a samurai," Nobushige replied.
"You?" Hakuin snorted. "What lord would employ you? You look like a begger!"
A furious Nobushige began to draw his sword, but then Hakuin said, "Here open the gates of hell."
Nobushige took the point, sheathed his sword, and bowed.
"Here open the gates of heaven," said Hakuin.
Non qui parum habet sed qui plus cupit pauper est.
It's not he who has little, but he who craves more, that is poor. - Seneca

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

Postby Spiny Norman » Sat Dec 01, 2012 11:13 am

Javi wrote:Bluelotus, I also interpret rebirth into hell and heaven in this manner. I understand that the suttas generally put forth a view of multiple realms as actual metaphysical places, and while I try to remain agnostic about this, I really do not believe in them.


I'm agnostic myself, but reading the suttas it's pretty clear to me that the realms were intended literally rather than psychologically. If you want to develop understanding of mind states, the instructions are in the 3rd frame in the Satipatthana Sutta - no mention of realms there!
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Re: Is hell and hungry ghost realm to be taken literally?

Postby seeker242 » Sat Dec 01, 2012 2:14 pm

I see no reason to doubt that it should be taken literally. Some people say it should be taken literally. Some people say it should be taken metaphorically. As if the two are mutually exclusive. I think both would be the most accurate!

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

Postby Javi » Sat Dec 01, 2012 3:11 pm

Also I think that if you think about it, you can also take it literally in a different way and it makes sense. Here's my thought, is it possible that there are actually spiritual places where one is 'reborn' into, with god like beings and hell demons? If we think about it in the way they are depicted in ancient Indian myth, it sounds a bit absurd. However, is it possible that there are other worlds with other forms of sentient life? Of course it is, that is the basis for most science fiction films. :alien: There is even a 'string theory' that posits multiple universes. Also it seems rational that these places would be subject to the same physical and natural laws, thus they would likely experience impermanence, conflict and suffering. It doesn't seem like a stretch either to imagine one of these beings becoming wise to the arising of their suffering as attachment to impermanent things and finding a way out for them - a Buddha to so speak :quote:
I think the really important point is that the universe is vast and timeless and suffering is natural part of it.

Anyways if I felt I had to take this literally, this is the direction I would go. Though I wouldn't discount actual deva realms and hell realms either I mean who knows these things. :juggling:
Non qui parum habet sed qui plus cupit pauper est.
It's not he who has little, but he who craves more, that is poor. - Seneca

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

Postby BlueLotus » Sat Dec 01, 2012 5:42 pm

porpoise wrote:
Javi wrote:Bluelotus, I also interpret rebirth into hell and heaven in this manner. I understand that the suttas generally put forth a view of multiple realms as actual metaphysical places, and while I try to remain agnostic about this, I really do not believe in them.


I'm agnostic myself, but reading the suttas it's pretty clear to me that the realms were intended literally rather than psychologically. If you want to develop understanding of mind states, the instructions are in the 3rd frame in the Satipatthana Sutta - no mention of realms there!


It is not pretty clear to me from suttas. Only some commentaries make it sound pretty clear. I feel suttas can be interpreted in both ways. Maybe that was the point. Maybe the Buddha was just trying to teach morality rather than life-after-death worlds when he taught these lessons so whatever way you interpret these suttas the central message -morality- is pretty importantly felt.

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

Postby Moth » Sat Dec 01, 2012 11:25 pm

Listening to the stories of supposed arahant monks of the Thai Forest Tradition, they speak of their experiences with ghosts and devas in a rather manner-of-fact way. I see no reason why there would NOT be imperceptible beings such as ghosts and devas, what a sad existence this would be if human beings were the pinnacle form of it.
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Re: Is hell and hungry ghost realm to be taken literally?

Postby Spiny Norman » Sun Dec 02, 2012 12:37 pm

BlueLotus wrote:
porpoise wrote:
Javi wrote:Bluelotus, I also interpret rebirth into hell and heaven in this manner. I understand that the suttas generally put forth a view of multiple realms as actual metaphysical places, and while I try to remain agnostic about this, I really do not believe in them.


I'm agnostic myself, but reading the suttas it's pretty clear to me that the realms were intended literally rather than psychologically. If you want to develop understanding of mind states, the instructions are in the 3rd frame in the Satipatthana Sutta - no mention of realms there!


It is not pretty clear to me from suttas. Only some commentaries make it sound pretty clear. I feel suttas can be interpreted in both ways. Maybe that was the point. Maybe the Buddha was just trying to teach morality rather than life-after-death worlds when he taught these lessons so whatever way you interpret these suttas the central message -morality- is pretty importantly felt.


In the suttas the realms are generally discussed in terms of beings being reborn in different destinations according to their actions, ie kamma - so I'd agree that they can be seen as a morality teaching.
However I haven't seen any evidence in the suttas of the realms being portrayed as psychological states - if you can come up with any examples I'd be interested to see them.
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Re: Is hell and hungry ghost realm to be taken literally?

Postby Aloka » Sun Dec 02, 2012 1:31 pm

In his book "Don't Take your life Personally" Ajahn Sumedho discusses the 6 realms on page 334...

Excerpt :

“ These are categories we can all relate to. We all have these six realms within ourselves, so it isn’t a matter of trying to decide if there is a Brahma-realm somewhere in the sky. –- ‘Can you get to it by rocket ship or shuttle? Should the Americans spend a lot of money trying to discover where the Brahma-world is ?’ These are really about human conscious experience. If you look at these six realms of existence, I am sure each of you will be able to relate them to experiences you have already had. “

http://www.wisdom-books.com/ProductDetail.asp?PID=22287


_/\_

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

Postby BlueLotus » Sun Dec 02, 2012 6:11 pm

porpoise wrote:In the suttas the realms are generally discussed in terms of beings being reborn in different destinations according to their actions, ie kamma - so I'd agree that they can be seen as a morality teaching.
However I haven't seen any evidence in the suttas of the realms being portrayed as psychological states - if you can come up with any examples I'd be interested to see them.


I think the suttas talk about birth (jhati/bhava) or repeated births (punarbhava) according to kamma rather than rebirth as in life-to-life births. The whole life to life concept is just one way of interpretation just like the other concept.

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

Postby Spiny Norman » Mon Dec 03, 2012 9:11 am

BlueLotus wrote:
porpoise wrote:In the suttas the realms are generally discussed in terms of beings being reborn in different destinations according to their actions, ie kamma - so I'd agree that they can be seen as a morality teaching.
However I haven't seen any evidence in the suttas of the realms being portrayed as psychological states - if you can come up with any examples I'd be interested to see them.


I think the suttas talk about birth (jhati/bhava) or repeated births (punarbhava) according to kamma rather than rebirth as in life-to-life births. The whole life to life concept is just one way of interpretation just like the other concept.


Not if we're discussing dependent origination, because the nidanas of DO are defined in a specific way - see MN9 and SN12.2, where birth and death are defined straightforwardly as physical events, and where bhava is defined as existence in the 3 realms. The way the nidanas are defined simply doesn't support a psychological interpretation of DO or the realms.
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Re: Is hell and hungry ghost realm to be taken literally?

Postby Spiny Norman » Mon Dec 03, 2012 9:14 am

seeker242 wrote:I see no reason to doubt that it should be taken literally. Some people say it should be taken literally. Some people say it should be taken metaphorically. As if the two are mutually exclusive. I think both would be the most accurate!


There are many ways to classify mental states, but the correct approach is described in the Satipatthana Sutta. Sure, you can classify mental states using the realms, but they weren't designed or intended for this purpose and it seems to me like muddled thinking - or an aversion to cosmology in the suttas?
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Re: Is hell and hungry ghost realm to be taken literally?

Postby BlueLotus » Mon Dec 03, 2012 1:57 pm

porpoise wrote:Not if we're discussing dependent origination, because the nidanas of DO are defined in a specific way - see MN9 and SN12.2, where birth and death are defined straightforwardly as physical events, and where bhava is defined as existence in the 3 realms. The way the nidanas are defined simply doesn't support a psychological interpretation of DO or the realms.


Most sutta on DO I have read does not define birth as some physical thing. From MN 9
When the noble disciple knows demerit and roots of demerit, merit and roots of merit, he gives up all latent tendencies to greed, drives out all latent tendencies to aversion, and completly destroying the latent tendency to measure as `I be', dispels ignorance, arouses science, and here and now makes an end of unpleasantness.


The sutta's overall message of MN 9 is that birth/bhava is "the tendency to measure as 'I be'".

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

Postby Spiny Norman » Tue Dec 04, 2012 12:15 pm

BlueLotus wrote:Most sutta on DO I have read does not define birth as some physical thing.


Here's how ageing and death and birth are defined in MN9 ( and SN12.2 ) - these descriptions seem unambiguous to me:

Aging and Death
22. "And what is aging and death, what is the origin of aging and death, what is the cessation of aging and death, what is the way leading to the cessation of aging and death? The aging of beings in the various orders of beings, their old age, brokenness of teeth, grayness of hair, wrinkling of skin, decline of life, weakness of faculties — this is called aging. The passing of beings out of the various orders of beings, their passing away, dissolution, disappearance, dying, completion of time, dissolution of the aggregates, laying down of the body — this is called death. So this aging and this death are what is called aging and death.
Birth
26. "And what is birth, what is the origin of birth, what is the cessation of birth, what is the way leading to the cessation of birth? The birth of beings into the various orders of beings, their coming to birth, precipitation [in a womb], generation, manifestation of the aggregates, obtaining the bases for contact — this is called birth.
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Re: Is hell and hungry ghost realm to be taken literally?

Postby daverupa » Tue Dec 04, 2012 12:36 pm

It doesn't really bear on hell and ghost realms, though. Analysis and comprehension of paticcasamuppada isn't tied to cosmology.
    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting oneself one protects others? By the pursuit, development, and cultivation of the four establishments of mindfulness. It is in such a way that by protecting oneself one protects others.

    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting others one protects oneself? By patience, harmlessness, goodwill, and sympathy. It is in such a way that by protecting others one protects oneself.
- Sedaka Sutta [SN 47.19]

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

Postby Nyana » Tue Dec 04, 2012 12:46 pm

BlueLotus wrote:Most sutta on DO I have read does not define birth as some physical thing.

Not only is this interpretation not supported by the suttas, without the view that consciousness continues post-mortem to another birth in one of the realms of saṃsāra the dhammavinaya becomes untenable as a meaningful way to live one's life and something akin to Epicureanism would be far more reasonable.

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

Postby daverupa » Tue Dec 04, 2012 12:54 pm

Ñāṇa wrote: without the view that consciousness continues post-mortem to another birth in one of the realms of saṃsāra the dhammavinaya becomes untenable as a meaningful way to live one's life


This might be worth taking up elsewhere; or, we can note it simply as your opinion.
    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting oneself one protects others? By the pursuit, development, and cultivation of the four establishments of mindfulness. It is in such a way that by protecting oneself one protects others.

    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting others one protects oneself? By patience, harmlessness, goodwill, and sympathy. It is in such a way that by protecting others one protects oneself.
- Sedaka Sutta [SN 47.19]

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

Postby Spiny Norman » Tue Dec 04, 2012 12:58 pm

daverupa wrote:It doesn't really bear on hell and ghost realms, though.


Yes, it's gone a bit off-topic, but I think the issue is the same - whether it's valid to impose a psychological interpretation on something which looks like a cosmological description.
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Re: Is hell and hungry ghost realm to be taken literally?

Postby Nyana » Tue Dec 04, 2012 1:06 pm

daverupa wrote:
Ñāṇa wrote: without the view that consciousness continues post-mortem to another birth in one of the realms of saṃsāra the dhammavinaya becomes untenable as a meaningful way to live one's life


This might be worth taking up elsewhere; or, we can note it simply as your opinion.

Feel free to start a new thread if you like.

I'm not sure how much I care to add but it's usually interesting to hear what you and others think.


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