the great rebirth debate

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Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby clw_uk » Sun Apr 26, 2009 1:50 pm

Hey :smile:

First thing to understand is this: holding views and asking questions are two separate things.


They are seperate yes but intertwined. What will i be can lead to a speculative view (eternalism, annhiliationism, rebirth, non-rebirth etc) or adopting a speculative view (rebirth) can lead to the questions what will i be? etc

With regard to views, I think it's a big mistake to regard them as fully "mine" or think of them as something fully under one's own control. We have all kinds of views built into our present makeup based on past kamma. Probably you can't help whether you "believe in" rebirth at this moment. You can't force yourself to adopt a view. But over time, we all know that our views change and develop, as we create new kamma. Views are caused and conditioned by kamma.


Of course people will have speculative views before but the Buddha taught a teaching that goes beyond such speculative views by focusing on what is (4nt) so that they

A) no longer attend unwisely (and so increase the taints)
B) can go beyond all speculative views and dukkha (and in process see how such speculative views come to be via identification)

Now im not saying it is necessarily wrong or bad to have (certain) speculative views, but the Buddhadhamma is beyond speculative views (i.e. rebirth), it doesnt include them (when i say buddhadhamma i mean his own teachings, 4nt and D.O.)


That is why the Buddha often would describe the views of an ordinary, run-of-the-mill person. My reading is that these were descriptions. I don't think the Buddha advised: Okay, now immediately change your mind and hold a different view instead! Rather, I believe the Buddha advised following the full 8fold path, thus perfecting right view as a consequence. Obviously, if we're ordinary run-of-the-mill people, we're going to have some of the not-right views that the Buddha described.


He didnt teach that to those who held speculative views but to those following his own teachings he taught the NEFP, which right/noble view/understanding is of the 4NT, i.e. appropriate attention

"He attends appropriately, This is stress... This is the origination of stress... This is the cessation of stress... This is the way leading to the cessation of stress. As he attends appropriately in this way, three fetters are abandoned in him: identity-view, doubt, and grasping at precepts & practices. These are called the fermentations to be abandoned by seeing.


And not about speculative rebirth view since this involves unwise attention

"This is how he attends inappropriately: 'Was I in the past? Was I not in the past? What was I in the past? How was I in the past? Having been what, what was I in the past? Shall I be in the future? Shall I not be in the future? What shall I be in the future? How shall I be in the future? Having been what, what shall I be in the future?' Or else he is inwardly perplexed about the immediate present: 'Am I? Am I not? What am I? How am I? Where has this being come from? Where is it bound?'


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

With regard to asking questions, I don't think there's any time when the Buddha advised: Don't ask that question. Seems to me that the Buddha encouraged inquiry. BUT the Buddha seemed to caution against dwelling on certain questions or getting stuck on them, because dwelling on those questions is counterproductive.


He never said "dont you ever ask such questions" but when people took up his teachings, he advised that its unwise to ask such questions since they lead to developing and/or strengthening the taints (and so ignorance etc and so the whole mass of dukkha)

You seem to back up my point in the last sentence

"BUT the Buddha seemed to caution against dwelling on certain questions or getting stuck on them, because dwelling on those questions is counterproductive"

He taught wise attention, a way to go beyond all such speculative, counterproductive questions that dont lead to the ending of dukkha and in fact only increase/sustain it, which rebirth view/questions does

Metta
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Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby Jechbi » Sun Apr 26, 2009 2:09 pm

Howdy,
clw_uk wrote:
That is why the Buddha often would describe the views of an ordinary, run-of-the-mill person. My reading is that these were descriptions. I don't think the Buddha advised: Okay, now immediately change your mind and hold a different view instead! Rather, I believe the Buddha advised following the full 8fold path, thus perfecting right view as a consequence. Obviously, if we're ordinary run-of-the-mill people, we're going to have some of the not-right views that the Buddha described.


He didnt teach that to those who held speculative views but to those following his own teachings he taught the NEFP, which right/noble view/understanding is of the 4NT, i.e. appropriate attention
And since some of those people were not yet arahants, they almost certainly still held at least some "speculative views."

clw_uk wrote:
With regard to asking questions, I don't think there's any time when the Buddha advised: Don't ask that question. Seems to me that the Buddha encouraged inquiry. BUT the Buddha seemed to caution against dwelling on certain questions or getting stuck on them, because dwelling on those questions is counterproductive.


He never said "dont you ever ask such questions" but when people took up his teachings, he advised that its unwise to ask such questions since they lead to developing and/or strengthening the taints (and so ignorance etc and so the whole mass of dukkha)
When did he advise that it's unwise to ask such questions? There's a difference between asking a question that pops up into your mind and dwelling on that question. This thread seems to be an example of the latter.

clw_uk wrote:You seem to back up my point in the last sentence.
Great!

clw_uk wrote:He taught wise attention, a way to go beyond all such speculative, counterproductive questions that dont lead to the ending of dukkha and in fact only increase/sustain it
with you so far
which rebirth view/questions does
Stop right there. The Buddha did teach a method for going beyond, but that method does seem to be so simple as, bingo, change your view now and stop asking question. The method is the entire 8fold path. Along the way, we're probably going to be stuck temporarily with not-right views, and we're probably going to ask some counterproductive questions. This entire thread seems to be an illustration of that.

Gotta run. Won't be around for a couple days. Metta!
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Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby kc2dpt » Sun Apr 26, 2009 2:24 pm

Jechbi wrote:So there are times when a person asks the Buddha something, and the Buddha remains silent. Yet I don't think the Buddha ever tells a person: Don't even ask me that question.

Actually, there were such times. The stock phrase used in the suttas is "Never mind that. Listen and I will teach you Dhamma."

However, the scriptures never show him giving that answer in response to a question about rebirth. Rather when asked about a person's past life he tells about that past (for example telling about how a certain blind monk was in a previous life a physician who intentionally blinded a patient). When asked about a person's future life he tells about that (for example telling how a dog-duty ascetic who perfects his practice will be reborn either as a dog or in hell).

It is only people on internet forums who are uncomfortable with rebirth teachings who say in response to questions about past and future lives "Never mind that. The Buddha didn't teach about that."
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Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby clw_uk » Sun Apr 26, 2009 2:35 pm

It is only people on internet forums who are uncomfortable with rebirth teachings who say in response to questions about past and future lives


This seems to be labouring under the assumption that everything i had said is because of some aversion to rebirth view/doctrine, which i have stated is not the case, if someone was denying rebirth outright i might say that they are acting out of aversion but that is not what is happening here

Metta
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Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby pink_trike » Sun Apr 26, 2009 5:33 pm

mikenz66 wrote:Hi Craig,
clw_uk wrote:You are welcome to your view. It doesn't affect me (or my view :thinking: ). However it is a little tiresome that it is wheeled out whenever anyone wants to discuss something that isn't "in the present moment".

Perhaps as tiring as the incessant, frothy, speculative religionist view of the teachings that reduces everyone to intellectual and intuitional infancy, dependent on a "Supreme Buddha" who may or may not have even existed and a stagnant, literal, archaic interpretation of the teachings. Imo, this isn't what Siddhārtha Gautama had in mind.

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Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby mikenz66 » Sun Apr 26, 2009 9:23 pm

pink_trike wrote:
mikenz66 wrote:Hi Craig,
clw_uk wrote:You are welcome to your view. It doesn't affect me (or my view :thinking: ). However it is a little tiresome that it is wheeled out whenever anyone wants to discuss something that isn't "in the present moment".

Perhaps as tiring as the incessant, frothy, speculative religionist view of the teachings that reduces everyone to intellectual and intuitional infancy, dependent on a "Supreme Buddha" who may or may not have even existed and a stagnant, literal, archaic interpretation of the teachings. Imo, this isn't what Siddhārtha Gautama had in mind.

Ok, let's do this intellectually, then.

I've repeatedly asked Craig to show me a Sutta which states, or even implies, that thinking about the past and future is the problem. The Suttas he keeps quoting never say that, they say that clinging to things in the past, present, or future as self is the problem.

Repeatedly stating that any thoughts or reasoning to do with the past or future is "speculative view" isn't a sound intellectual argument.

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Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby mikenz66 » Sun Apr 26, 2009 9:27 pm

clw_uk wrote:We are not stream-winners or arahants (sorry if anyone is) so any view/question about past or future is going to be coloured by self view or conciet and so such views and questions will just increase ignorance and the taints (also they are asking the wrong questions anyway). One cant help but put "me" or "I" in the future when ignorance hasnt been removed.

You keep neglecting this:

One cannot help but put 'me' or 'I' in the present when ignorance has not been removed.

Mike
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Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby clw_uk » Sun Apr 26, 2009 9:37 pm

mikenz66 wrote:
clw_uk wrote:We are not stream-winners or arahants (sorry if anyone is) so any view/question about past or future is going to be coloured by self view or conciet and so such views and questions will just increase ignorance and the taints (also they are asking the wrong questions anyway). One cant help but put "me" or "I" in the future when ignorance hasnt been removed.

You keep neglecting this:

One cannot help but put 'me' or 'I' in the present when ignorance has not been removed.

Mike


If one keeps asking these questions then, as the text state, the taints will increase. Even though there is a sense of "me" in the present, by attending wisely to the present moment of what is (4nt) and not present moment speculative questions of "what am i" or "who am i", one works to remove the taints and dukkha. The questions "am i" "what am i" etc are not an acknowledgement and focusing of what is, instead they come from a delusional sense of self, which then goes in search of a self
“ 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 Ngawang Drolma. » Sun Apr 26, 2009 9:43 pm

What does the question, "What am I?" have to do with ascribing to post mortem becoming?

:anjali:
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Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby clw_uk » Sun Apr 26, 2009 9:43 pm

I've repeatedly asked Craig to show me a Sutta which states, or even implies, that thinking about the past and future is the problem. The Suttas he keeps quoting never say that, they say that clinging to things in the past, present, or future as self is the problem.



Because of ignorance, any question/view about future lives will involve identification, "what will I be"

Or "what was I"

Or "Was I"

Or "what will my rebirth be"

The clinging that is present is the very reason that such questions/views arise in the first place, when there is no more clinging, these questions neither arise nor apply

"A 'position,' Vaccha, is something that a Tathagata has done away with. What a Tathagata sees is this: 'Such is form, such its origin, such its disappearance; such is feeling, such its origin, such its disappearance; such is perception... such are mental fabrications... such is consciousness, such its origin, such its disappearance.' Because of this, I say, a Tathagata — with the ending, fading out, cessation, renunciation, & relinquishment of all construings, all excogitations, all I-making & mine-making & obsession with conceit — is, through lack of clinging/sustenance, released."
“ 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 » Sun Apr 26, 2009 9:50 pm

Ngawang Drolma wrote:What does the question, "What am I?" have to do with ascribing to post mortem becoming?

:anjali:


Mike was addresing that particular question since its a question about the present moment

However the question "what am i" can lead to speculative views about what happens after death since What am I? will lead to a search for a self and so, eventual identification and "I am" and then it can lead onto the other questions "what will i be in the future" or "was I in the past" and then onto the speculative views "i will live forever" or "i will be annihilated" or "i will be reborn" or "i wont be reborn" or "i will and wont be reborn" etc.....


All of which involves conciet and/or self view, ignorance, taints and the whole mass of dukkha

Instead of asking such questions, one focuses on what is

Dukkha
origin
quenching
path to quench

When this path is done, a "person" will see with proper wisdom

"A 'position,' Vaccha, is something that a Tathagata has done away with. What a Tathagata sees is this: 'Such is form, such its origin, such its disappearance; such is feeling, such its origin, such its disappearance; such is perception... such are mental fabrications... such is consciousness, such its origin, such its disappearance.' Because of this, I say, a Tathagata — with the ending, fading out, cessation, renunciation, & relinquishment of all construings, all excogitations, all I-making & mine-making & obsession with conceit — is, through lack of clinging/sustenance, released."


Because he has seen "Such is form, such its origin, such its disappearance" (and same for other khandas) there is no more clinging to them as self and so all the speculative views (which only come to be via clinging to the aggregates) no longer arise or apply

Metta
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Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby pink_trike » Sun Apr 26, 2009 9:55 pm

mikenz66 wrote:
clw_uk wrote:We are not stream-winners or arahants (sorry if anyone is) so any view/question about past or future is going to be coloured by self view or conciet and so such views and questions will just increase ignorance and the taints (also they are asking the wrong questions anyway). One cant help but put "me" or "I" in the future when ignorance hasnt been removed.

You keep neglecting this:

One cannot help but put 'me' or 'I' in the present when ignorance has not been removed.

Mike

Yes, but interestingly, the practices all are aimed at dissolving this ignorance in the present...while the speculations of literal rebirth fosters the delusional sense of "me" and "I" in imaginary places located in the past and future. The stories of literal rebirth are inconsistent with the logic flow of the original teachings and practices - and were likely added later as a burning house means of social control. In their irrational inconsistency, they foster further irrationality and delusion, counter-effecting the elegantly logical path of waking up to this life as described by Siddhārtha Gautama
Last edited by pink_trike on Sun Apr 26, 2009 10:19 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby Mexicali » Sun Apr 26, 2009 9:58 pm

The understanding that there is a connection of causation from "birth" to "birth", not one of identity, makes sense to me.
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Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby mikenz66 » Sun Apr 26, 2009 9:58 pm

clw_uk wrote:If one keeps asking these questions then, as the text state, the taints will increase. Even though there is a sense of "me" in the present, by attending wisely to the present moment of what is (4nt) and not present moment speculative questions of "what am i" or "who am i", one works to remove the taints and dukkha. The questions "am i" "what am i" etc are not an acknowledgement and focusing of what is, instead they come from a delusional sense of self, which then goes in search of a self


Please don't keep projecting "asking these questions" into everything...

I take it that we have established that unwise attention to the past, future or present, is the problem?

Therefore, we no longer have to labour under the assumption that everything to do with thinking about the past the future is a problem. So, in considering whether something is wise or not, perhaps we can discuss the attention we are bringing to it, rather than jumping to conclusions based on temporal relationships.

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Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby Ngawang Drolma. » Sun Apr 26, 2009 10:02 pm

Mexicali wrote:The understanding that there is a connection of causation from "birth" to "birth", not one of identity, makes sense to me.


Me too :spy:
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Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby Ngawang Drolma. » Sun Apr 26, 2009 10:02 pm

clw_uk wrote:
Ngawang Drolma wrote:What does the question, "What am I?" have to do with ascribing to post mortem becoming?

:anjali:


Mike was addresing that particular question since its a question about the present moment

However the question "what am i" can lead to speculative views about what happens after death since What am I? will lead to a search for a self and so, eventual identification and "I am" and then it can lead onto the other questions "what will i be in the future" or "was I in the past" and then onto the speculative views "i will live forever" or "i will be annihilated" or "i will be reborn" or "i wont be reborn" or "i will and wont be reborn" etc.....


All of which involves conciet and/or self view, ignorance, taints and the whole mass of dukkha

Instead of asking such questions, one focuses on what is

Dukkha
origin
quenching
path to quench

When this path is done, a "person" will see with proper wisdom

"A 'position,' Vaccha, is something that a Tathagata has done away with. What a Tathagata sees is this: 'Such is form, such its origin, such its disappearance; such is feeling, such its origin, such its disappearance; such is perception... such are mental fabrications... such is consciousness, such its origin, such its disappearance.' Because of this, I say, a Tathagata — with the ending, fading out, cessation, renunciation, & relinquishment of all construings, all excogitations, all I-making & mine-making & obsession with conceit — is, through lack of clinging/sustenance, released."


Because he has seen "Such is form, such its origin, such its disappearance" (and same for other khandas) there is no more clinging to them as self and so all the speculative views (which only come to be via clinging to the aggregates) no longer arise or apply

Metta


Thank you Craig, I'm trying to follow but I was getting lost :smile:
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Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby pink_trike » Sun Apr 26, 2009 10:05 pm

Ngawang Drolma wrote:
Mexicali wrote:The understanding that there is a connection of causation from "birth" to "birth", not one of identity, makes sense to me.


Me too :spy:

It makes perfect sense to me also, and is an integral part of the logic stream - within this life. It loses logical agency when it is extended into the "past" and "future", representing nothing more than speculation.
Last edited by pink_trike on Sun Apr 26, 2009 10:20 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby mikenz66 » Sun Apr 26, 2009 10:07 pm

Mexicali wrote:The understanding that there is a connection of causation from "birth" to "birth", not one of identity, makes sense to me.

Yes, that's exactly my point. Putting aside the issue of rebirth for now, it seems to me that the idea is to see that the processes that take this collection of khandhas commonly known as "Mike" from the last second, yesterday, last year, or last decade, to the present moment are "not me, not mine, not my self". Neither are the processes that take it into the future.

Considering, for example, that: "this body used to be like this, now it is like that, soon it will be gone" is not the problem. It is, rather, part of the means for letting go...

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Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby clw_uk » Sun Apr 26, 2009 10:12 pm

Hey mike

Please don't keep projecting "asking these questions" into everything...

I take it that we have established that unwise attention to the past, future or present, is the problem?

Therefore, we no longer have to labour under the assumption that everything to do with thinking about the past the future is a problem. So, in considering whether something is wise or not, perhaps we can discuss the attention we are bringing to it, rather than jumping to conclusions based on temporal relationships.

Metta
Mike


The point is that rebirth view naturaly involves the unwise questions of "what will i become" or "what was i" etc. I also dont see how thinking about past or future has much to do with Dhamma practice, since Dhamma practice is about focusing on what is, 4nt and acknowledgement and investigation into that, deep investigation, until all dukkha is uprooted

Metta
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Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby clw_uk » Sun Apr 26, 2009 10:18 pm

mikenz66 wrote:
Mexicali wrote:The understanding that there is a connection of causation from "birth" to "birth", not one of identity, makes sense to me.

Yes, that's exactly my point. Putting aside the issue of rebirth for now, it seems to me that the idea is to see that the processes that take this collection of khandhas commonly known as "Mike" from the last second, yesterday, last year, or last decade, to the present moment are "not me, not mine, not my self". Neither are the processes that take it into the future.

Considering, for example, that: "this body used to be like this, now it is like that, soon it will be gone" is not the problem. It is, rather, part of the means for letting go...

Metta
Mike


And how do we understand not-self?

By focusing on what is

So by focusing on the present moment one sees and understands Anicca, one sees how clinging to khandas will bring dukkha (because of its inevitable change) and so wont see fit to cling to it and reguard it as "self" and so sees it as not-self, and so becomes dispassionate and, through non-clinging is released

Or by focusing on when there is dukkha, by seeing how that came to be via clinging to that which changes, becoming dispassionate towards that which was clung to (since one sees how it just makes more dukkha) and so not reguarding it as "me" and seeing it as not-self

Also in the process seeing of "self" or "me" is just coming from clinging

All about investigation in there here and now about what is, not what might be

(of course this will involve a deep investigation into the above via paticcasamuppāda)
Metta
Last edited by clw_uk on Sun Apr 26, 2009 10:44 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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