the great rebirth debate

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Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby Spiny Norman » Tue Aug 13, 2013 12:23 pm

Alex123 wrote:
Spiny Norman wrote:
Alex123 wrote:DO doesn't prove anything.


DO is a description of process, not a proof.


Except for few common sense things, how do we know that D.O. is correct description of a process?


Well, we can test out some of it, like contact, feeling, craving.
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Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby Alex123 » Tue Aug 13, 2013 1:08 pm

Spiny Norman wrote:Well, we can test out some of it, like contact, feeling, craving.



But we take on faith the most important ones, like rebirth or kamma that manifests years or lifetimes later...
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Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby nowheat » Tue Aug 13, 2013 4:12 pm

Alex123 wrote:
nowheat wrote: DA described how, out of an apparent void that has us beginning knowing nothing (ignorance) the drive for existence (sankhara) causes consciousness to appear in the womb (vinnana) and then we are born into our particular individuality (name-and-form) and gain the use of our sense (salayatana) [first birth] then we are indoctrinated into the worldview of our culture [second birth] and spend a life performing the rituals in the middle section* that theoretically lead us to whatever we idealize as the best post-mortem outcome;



It talks about the links, but nowhere does it prove them. DO doesn't prove anything.

Was this really directed to me, Alex? I am not sure why you're saying that if you're talking to me, since I don't recall even implying that dependent arising proves anything?

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Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby nowheat » Tue Aug 13, 2013 5:30 pm

Sylvester wrote:The locative absolute, formed with the present participle of the √as verb atthi (not l.a. formed from participles of kiriya verbs). Definitely not the causative, if you were thinking of janeti (he causes to be born).

Maybe you could provide a quote in translation so that I'm sure I understand what you're saying?

I find it rather difficult to see how the Buddha could not have intended DA to be applicable to rebirth. The clearest expression of that comes up in DN 15 and its Chinese parallel DA 13 ... in reference to the womb/foetus... Granted that the Buddha gave an expanded exposition of what else nāmarūpa means in relation to contact (paṭighasamphassa and adhivacanasamphassa) (ie aside from the Upanisadic concept of the differentiator at becoming), there's still no running away from the literal aspect of nāmarūpa in the becoming process.

I can understand the difficulty. If I want to be clever with words (in something like the way the gurus of the days were) I might say that I understand DA to be all about rebirth -- it definitely is about rebirth -- so I agree with you, it is applicable to rebirth. Certainly the language used to describe consciousness and name-and-form is explicitly describing conception and birth. It's not possible to miss that or take it any other way:

    DN 15: ‘Or if consciousness, having entered the mother’s womb, were to be deflected, would mind-and-body come to birth in this life?’ ‘No, Lord.’ ‘And if the consciousness of such a tender young being, boy or girl, were thus cut off, would mind-and-body grow, develop and mature?’ ‘No, Lord.׳ ׳Therefore, Ananda, just this, namely consciousness, is the root, the cause, the origin, the condition of mind-and-body. (Walshe, Maurice's translation)

He is describing the field, the ground, "the root, the cause, the origin". Yes, in the above, name-and-form (namarupa, mind-and-body) is clearly talking about the first birth in a lifetime.

We find the description of nutriment accompanying DA in several places in the suttas. It makes the way the concept of the field is being used, in combination with a deeper meaning, quite clear once we look at it closely. One reason it is listed with DA is because it acts as a key to understand what's going on. Because a key is needed. Because in DA the Buddha doesn't stop with each definition and do what he did with nutriment in the same explicit way. Although he does -- even in DN 15 -- do a little interrupting of the flow of describing rebirth in order to cover the same ground at the deeper level:

    ‘ “Mind-and-body conditions contact.” By whatever properties, features, signs or indications the mind-factor is conceived of, would there, in the absence of such properties... pertaining to the mind-factor, be manifest any grasping at the idea of the body-factor? ‘No, Lord.’ (DN 15, Walshe again)

Seems pretty clear there he's no longer talking about rebirth; instead he's talking about what we do with nama (our definitions) based on rupa (form).

The reason he needs to put the succinct definition of nutriment in with DA is because the way he's using DA is not succinct. Instead of a few brief sentences to describe "this is what everyone thinks x is" followed by "this is what I mean by x" which leads to the insight that "what everyone thinks x is" still counts as background, as necessary ground for what follows, in DA we have the bulk of the structure of DA describing "this is what everyone thinks life is about": rebirth -- whether cyclical or once and your done (go to bliss, or go to your ancestors). In the bulk of DA he is describing what everyone believes *because it is what everyone believes that is the ground for the problem he's pointing out and the solution he offers is tied up to it*.

In that way, it is the overall structure of DA that follows the pattern set by the discussion about nutriment -- it is not in the detailed descriptions of each link, which tend to be primarily about what people believe. That's why the individual descriptions in DN 15 of consciousness and name-and-form are so clearly and literally about conception and birth.

Or do you see these 2 sutras as being allegorical as well? Granted, I've only looked at the Dharmagupta parallel, and have not had the time to consult the experts on the other parallels to DN 15.

By two suttas you mean DN 15 and its Chinese parallel? I haven't looked at the Chinese, so I can't address it at all.

But, well, I'm not sure that allegory is the right word for what's going on in them and in so many other places. As far as I can tell, we don't have a word for what the Buddha is doing with rebirth in these talks, and that's part of the problem. We don't use anything like this method, or if we do, we don't do it with anything like the consistency he did, and so, because it is not native to our way of speaking, it is really difficult for us, first, to even see it (e.g. lyndon taylor's post), and second, to be comfortable with it once seen, and third, to be able to recognize how useful it will have been for the Buddha's campaign of arguing-with-none, and finally, to get past all of that well enough to see what an intricate and well-balanced structure he built -- how and why it works. It's like the most beautiful watch movement I saw while I studied horology: all the cogs and wheels and jewels and pins and the balance wheel (that would be DA!) fitting together perfectly, doing their job. Unfortunately in this digital age, the watch-works have become a bit incomprehensible, and seem an unnecessary intricacy to us.

What I see is him describing rebirth in DA in DN 15, yes, because he is overtly describing what people believe about rebirth. He is describing *the ground* from which dukkha grows. It is beliefs about rebirth -- described generically here, and so meaning "in whatever form we find them" -- that are the problem we need to see in order to gain the solution to dukkha.

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Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby nowheat » Tue Aug 13, 2013 5:38 pm

chownah wrote:In DN15 the Buddha explains how birth, becoming,........ ,...,..., contact, name and form, and consciousness are to be understood as requisite conditions in this context, For all of these his method is the same; for all of these he says to imagine that if there were no craving (for example) at all of any kind anywhere then clinging would not be discerned. To me this means to look far and wide for the craving....and for me this does not mean just to look at some singular individual which has either just been born or just about to be born...I think nowheet alluded to parental craving in a post above which I think is a good example which is contrary to what is usually assumed becuse it is taken from a wider field than what is usually assumed.

To me the reference to "at all of any kind anywhere" points out that he's defining a big field in which we must look. It doesn't though mean he's saying it includes everything in the field. He is indicating that in this part of the discussion, he is talking about "the ground" aka "what everyone knows" rather than detailing the specifics of what he wants us to see.

Along with this view I like to consider the term rebirth to take it's meaning in opposition to the term spontaneous birth......the scientific view of birth definitely sides with rebirth if spontaneous birth is the only other option to choose from.........so rebirth can be taken to mean a re-arising of the expression of human DNA within a suitable environment or vessel. Hard to think of this as spontaneous I think. Of course ask the teen aged boy how his girlfriend became pregnant and he might explain it as spontaneous but we both know that the kind of spontaneity involved there was probably of a different kind entirely.

Interesting, chownah. I wonder if "spontaneous birth" in the time might actually have meant something else: instead of birth being caused by the cycle of rebirth aka being caused by a previous life landing in this one, it is "spontaneous" in that no previous life initiates it. In that case the scientific view of birth would definitely side with spontaneous birth (birth that does not come about as a result of a previous incarnation). I don't actually recall the contexts it is used in -- I'll have to look it up in suttas when I have time.

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Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby nowheat » Tue Aug 13, 2013 5:57 pm

lyndon taylor wrote:Which really gives us three options;

1; The Buddha taught rebirth, because he knew it was real and had experienced it
2; The Buddha taught rebirth, but was deluded about it, and thought it was real when it wasn't
3; The Buddha deliberately lied to us about rebirth, knowing it wasn't real, but thinking it would encourage us to take the teachings more seriously

However these are all possibiltities, you pick the one that makes sense to you, But don't try to say the Buddha doesn't teach literal rebirth in the scriptures, because he clearly does.

The Buddha doesn't teach literal rebirth in the scriptures. He teaches that belief in literal rebirth *is the problem*.

So:

4; The Buddha spoke as gurus spoke in his time: on multiple levels simultaneously. This was expected of teachers and was perceived by no one in the day "as a lie". Students were expected to *work* at understanding what was meant.

In one way, it's a little like putting a price on a book instead of giving it away for free -- the perception of the value of the knowledge contained within is increased by having to pay for it with our own effort. But even beyond using the methods expected of a teacher in his culture -- oh far and away and well beyond that! -- the Buddha recognized that only through our own efforts are we actually going to understand what he's pointing out: we *have* to see it for ourselves for it to work. That's how we, as Alex put it in his question, can come to know that DA is a "correct description of a process".

In our own lives we can easily see that getting in people's faces and telling them How The World Works tends to have a contrary effect on them -- I'm sure humans were just the same in the Buddha's day. Walking around saying "We don't know if there is rebirth or not. I am your teacher and I am telling you *I* don't know if there is rebirth or not..." wasn't going to get the man anywhere. Look where that way of speaking got Sanjaya the skeptic! He got called "an eel-wriggler"! This seems to be why the Buddha was so hard on poor old Sanjaya: he needed to distinguish his sort of agnosticism from Sanjaya's. The Buddha did this by pointing out that he wasn't even *talking* about "I don't know what happens after death" instead he talked plenty and quite specifically about what he *did* know: what's going on right here, right now.

Trying to judge the Buddha's behavior by the standards of later times narrows our ability to understand what he's saying, and why he said what he said the way he said it.

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Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby clw_uk » Tue Aug 13, 2013 8:46 pm

The Buddha refused to have any dealing with those things which don't lead to the extinction of Dukkha. Take the question of whether or not there. is rebirth. What is reborn? How is it reborn? What is its kammic inheritance [3] ? These questions are not aimed at the extinction of Dukkha. That being so they are not Buddhist teaching and they are not connected with it. They do not lie in the sphere of Buddhism. Also, the one who asks about such matters has no choice but to indis­criminately believe the answer he's given, because the one who answers is not going to be able to produce any proofs, he's just going to speak according to his memory and feeling. The listener can't see for himself and so has to blindly believe "the other's words. Little by little the matter strays from Dhamma until it's something else altogether, unconnected with the extinction of Dukkha.


Buddhadasa - Heartwood from the Bodhi Tree

The Simple Path

Traditionally the Eightfold Path is taught with eight steps such as Right Understanding, Right Speech, Right Concentration, and so forth. But the true Eightfold Path is within us-two eyes, two ears, two nostrils, a tongue, and a body. These eight doors are our entire Path and the mind is the one that walks on the Path. Know these doors, examine them, and all the dharmas will be revealed.

The heart of the path is SO simple. No need for long explanations. Give up clinging to love and hate, just rest with things as they are. That is all I do in my own practice.

Do not try to become anything. Do not make yourself into anything. Do not be a meditator. Do not become enlightened. When you sit, let it be. When you walk, let it be. Grasp at nothing. Resist nothing.

Of course, there are dozens of meditation techniques to develop samadhi and many kinds of vipassana. But it all comes back to this-just let it all be. Step over here where it is cool, out of the battle.

Why not give it a try? Do you dare?

Ajahn Chah



http://www.dhammatalks.net/Books2/Ajahn ... erstanding the Buddhas Teachings




With awareness practice, however, one is not being asked to believe in anything or to operate from any theory - or even to regard ones own preferences for the afterlife - but to recognize the way it actually is at this moment.

For me this is just recognising that death is a perception. When I wonder what happens when I die, my thinking mind stops ---! I don't know what happens. This is developing awareness around language, terms and perceptions we have. "Death" can be a loaded perception because its a mystery, it is --- don't know" We tend to believe in authority and people ask me "What do Buddhists believe happens to them when they die?" They think "Oh he's a Buddhist monk, he should know all of this."

Well, I can give the various theories that Buddhists have - and I don't deny them; I'm not saying that they are wrong - but at this moment, at this time, they are theories, just speculations, ideas. "Death" right now is an idea, isn't it? It is a perception of the end when this body stops functioning, when it is no longer a conscious form.

So this helps me to recognize that I don't have to know what happens after physical death, because I cant know, and it doesn't really matter. I am not asking for some kind of affirmation to make me feel better; I am just interested in in opening to the present and seeing it in a direct way. I am even willing to look at the fear that might arise with this perception of death, though it actually doesn't frighten me."


Ajahn Sumedho - Dont Take Your Life Personally, Knowing not Knowing, Page 157


"So this helps me to recognize that I don't have to know what happens after physical death, because I cant know, and it doesn't really matter. I am not asking for some kind of affirmation to make me feel better" :namaste:

Arguments about if there is literal rebirth or not are pointless IMO

If it can be proved that there is such a thing, we would have to practice in the same way as if there was no rebirth

That is not clinging to anything, rebirth or not
Last edited by clw_uk on Wed Aug 14, 2013 4:52 am, edited 3 times in total.
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Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby Aloka » Tue Aug 13, 2013 9:07 pm

nowheat wrote:4; The Buddha spoke as gurus spoke in his time: on multiple levels simultaneously. This was expected of teachers and was perceived by no one in the day "as a lie". Students were expected to *work* at understanding what was meant.


How can you possibly make claims with such conviction about what was expected of teachers and students in India around 2,500 years ago ? Where's your evidence, Linda ?....or have I missed something ?


clw_uk wrote:Arguments about if there is literal rebirth or not are pointless IMO


Yes, I agree .

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Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby lyndon taylor » Tue Aug 13, 2013 10:35 pm

nowheat wrote:
lyndon taylor wrote:Which really gives us three options;

1; The Buddha taught rebirth, because he knew it was real and had experienced it
2; The Buddha taught rebirth, but was deluded about it, and thought it was real when it wasn't
3; The Buddha deliberately lied to us about rebirth, knowing it wasn't real, but thinking it would encourage us to take the teachings more seriously

However these are all possibiltities, you pick the one that makes sense to you, But don't try to say the Buddha doesn't teach literal rebirth in the scriptures, because he clearly does.



Nowheat wrote; The Buddha doesn't teach literal rebirth in the scriptures. He teaches that belief in literal rebirth *is the problem*.

So:

4; The Buddha spoke as gurus spoke in his time: on multiple levels simultaneously. This was expected of teachers and was perceived by no one in the day "as a lie". Students were expected to *work* at understanding what was meant.

In one way, it's a little like putting a price on a book instead of giving it away for free -- the perception of the value of the knowledge contained within is increased by having to pay for it with our own effort. But even beyond using the methods expected of a teacher in his culture -- oh far and away and well beyond that! -- the Buddha recognized that only through our own efforts are we actually going to understand what he's pointing out: we *have* to see it for ourselves for it to work. That's how we, as Alex put it in his question, can come to know that DA is a "correct description of a process".

In our own lives we can easily see that getting in people's faces and telling them How The World Works tends to have a contrary effect on them -- I'm sure humans were just the same in the Buddha's day. Walking around saying "We don't know if there is rebirth or not. I am your teacher and I am telling you *I* don't know if there is rebirth or not..." wasn't going to get the man anywhere. Look where that way of speaking got Sanjaya the skeptic! He got called "an eel-wriggler"! This seems to be why the Buddha was so hard on poor old Sanjaya: he needed to distinguish his sort of agnosticism from Sanjaya's. The Buddha did this by pointing out that he wasn't even *talking* about "I don't know what happens after death" instead he talked plenty and quite specifically about what he *did* know: what's going on right here, right now.

Trying to judge the Buddha's behavior by the standards of later times narrows our ability to understand what he's saying, and why he said what he said the way he said it. End nowheat quote



The Buddha taught literal rebirth as the reason we might want to escape the cycle of rebirth and attain nibbana, if you don't think the Buddha talks extensively about literal rebirth in the suttas, you haven't been reading them......

Heres the vipaka sutta translated by Thanissaro Bhikku in which rebirth is mentioned clearly in the first verse, http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html

Another sutta where in the first paragraph talks about rebirth and being reborn; http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html

Yet another sutta where the Buddha himself speaks about rebirth AND USES THE TERM REBIRTH; http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html

I could go on and on with citation after citation, the point is the term rebirth is used by the Buddha all through the pali canon,
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Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby chownah » Wed Aug 14, 2013 2:48 am

nowheat wrote:
chownah wrote:In DN15 the Buddha explains how birth, becoming,........ ,...,..., contact, name and form, and consciousness are to be understood as requisite conditions in this context, For all of these his method is the same; for all of these he says to imagine that if there were no craving (for example) at all of any kind anywhere then clinging would not be discerned. To me this means to look far and wide for the craving....and for me this does not mean just to look at some singular individual which has either just been born or just about to be born...I think nowheet alluded to parental craving in a post above which I think is a good example which is contrary to what is usually assumed becuse it is taken from a wider field than what is usually assumed.

To me the reference to "at all of any kind anywhere" points out that he's defining a big field in which we must look. It doesn't though mean he's saying it includes everything in the field. He is indicating that in this part of the discussion, he is talking about "the ground" aka "what everyone knows" rather than detailing the specifics of what he wants us to see.

Along with this view I like to consider the term rebirth to take it's meaning in opposition to the term spontaneous birth......the scientific view of birth definitely sides with rebirth if spontaneous birth is the only other option to choose from.........so rebirth can be taken to mean a re-arising of the expression of human DNA within a suitable environment or vessel. Hard to think of this as spontaneous I think. Of course ask the teen aged boy how his girlfriend became pregnant and he might explain it as spontaneous but we both know that the kind of spontaneity involved there was probably of a different kind entirely.

Interesting, chownah. I wonder if "spontaneous birth" in the time might actually have meant something else: instead of birth being caused by the cycle of rebirth aka being caused by a previous life landing in this one, it is "spontaneous" in that no previous life initiates it. In that case the scientific view of birth would definitely side with spontaneous birth (birth that does not come about as a result of a previous incarnation). I don't actually recall the contexts it is used in -- I'll have to look it up in suttas when I have time.

:namaste:

You wrote,"doesn't though mean he's saying it includes everything in the field. " What is the "it"referring to here?

Could your "field" be like an allegory or a simile and your "what" be like the aspects of the allegory or simile which are the target for contemplation?

About spontaneous birth...I think a scientist would say that a womb, egg, and sperm must come together (or she might say that two strands of dna in a suitable environment must come together) to make a birth and that these requirements are provided by a previous life which exists because it was born in the same way.....in this way a birth is the result of a previous birth hence the term rebirth......it doesn't happen spontaneously. A radical scientist might say that life is DNA's way of propagating.....If you want to know who is really in charge look at the DNA, not some imaginary self......the DNA creates the field and the what is rebirth.....sort of joking here in an attempt to demonstrate how rebirth can be a re-arising of the potential of DNA with the prerequisite being a previous re-arising of DNA.....not spontaneously.

There is a short discussion of spontaneous rebirth in another thread which has a reference or two. The OP contains:
Found this in MN12:
Four Kinds of Generation
32. "Sariputta, there are these four kinds of generation. What are the four? Egg-born generation, womb-born generation, moisture-born generation and spontaneous generation.

33. "What is egg-born generation? There are these beings born by breaking out of the shell of an egg; this is called egg-born generation. What is womb-born generation? There are these beings born by breaking out from the caul; this is called womb-born generation. What is moisture-born generation? There are these beings born in a rotten fish, in a rotten corpse, in rotten dough, in a cesspit, or in a sewer; this is called moisture-born generation. What is spontaneous generation? There are gods and denizens of hell and certain human beings and some beings in the lower worlds; this is called spontaneous generation. These are the four kinds of generation.
....................
The topic is called Four Kinds Of Generation.
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Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby clw_uk » Wed Aug 14, 2013 3:35 am

33. "What is egg-born generation? There are these beings born by breaking out of the shell of an egg; this is called egg-born generation. What is womb-born generation? There are these beings born by breaking out from the caul; this is called womb-born generation. What is moisture-born generation? There are these beings born in a rotten fish, in a rotten corpse, in rotten dough, in a cesspit, or in a sewer; this is called moisture-born generation. What is spontaneous generation? There are gods and denizens of hell and certain human beings and some beings in the lower worlds; this is called spontaneous generation. These are the four kinds of generation.


This doesn't seem to support rebirth, since we have "womb-born" and "human beings" in separate categories

Humans should come under "womb-born" not "spontaneous generation" if the Sutta is meant to imply rebirth

Humans don't "pop" into existence, unless it means that "human" is a mental state ... like hell being etc
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Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby clw_uk » Wed Aug 14, 2013 4:20 am

Alex123 wrote:
Spiny Norman wrote:Well, we can test out some of it, like contact, feeling, craving.



But we take on faith the most important ones, like rebirth or kamma that manifests years or lifetimes later...


I'm confused Alex

Do you hold to a view of rebirth, no rebirth or scepticism?

You seem to swing between all three :juggling:
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Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby nowheat » Wed Aug 14, 2013 6:41 am

Aloka wrote:
nowheat wrote:4; The Buddha spoke as gurus spoke in his time: on multiple levels simultaneously. This was expected of teachers and was perceived by no one in the day "as a lie". Students were expected to *work* at understanding what was meant.


How can you possibly make claims with such conviction about what was expected of teachers and students in India around 2,500 years ago ? Where's your evidence, Linda ?....or have I missed something ?

I have read as much of the Vedas, Brahmanas, and Upanisads as I have had good access to, and everything I can get my hands on by way of modern scholarship on Vedism and Brahmanism. It's also, simply, clear to me just from reading the suttas, after seven years of full-time study, that this is what he's doing, because he does it. In the suttas. But it does require a willingness to read them with no desire or expectation as to what he's going to say and why. I literally didn't care what it turned out he was saying, I was just interested in what, and why he would say whatever it was the way he did.

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Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby nowheat » Wed Aug 14, 2013 6:45 am

clw_uk wrote:Arguments about if there is literal rebirth or not are pointless IMO

If it can be proved that there is such a thing, we would have to practice in the same way as if there was no rebirth

That is not clinging to anything, rebirth or not

As far as I can see, arguing about "if there is literal rebirth or not" isn't what we are doing here. I never quite understand why, in the middle of a discussion of whether the Buddha taught rebirth or not, or believed in it himself or not, the answer always comes up that whether there is rebirth or not makes no difference: that's not what we're discussing, is it? Why bring it up if it's not?

Craig, does it make a difference if one invests belief in there being rebirth or not?

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Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby Aloka » Wed Aug 14, 2013 7:00 am

nowheat wrote:
clw_uk wrote:Arguments about if there is literal rebirth or not are pointless IMO

If it can be proved that there is such a thing, we would have to practice in the same way as if there was no rebirth

That is not clinging to anything, rebirth or not

As far as I can see, arguing about "if there is literal rebirth or not" isn't what we are doing here. I never quite understand why, in the middle of a discussion of whether the Buddha taught rebirth or not, or believed in it himself or not, the answer always comes up that whether there is rebirth or not makes no difference: that's not what we're discussing, is it? Why bring it up if it's not?

Craig, does it make a difference if one invests belief in there being rebirth or not?

:namaste:



I think in a thread of 208 pages with the title "The Great Rebirth Debate" its inevitable that there might be more than one discussion occuring between the posters!

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Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby clw_uk » Wed Aug 14, 2013 7:06 am

As far as I can see, arguing about "if there is literal rebirth or not" isn't what we are doing here. I never quite understand why, in the middle of a discussion of whether the Buddha taught rebirth or not, or believed in it himself or not, the answer always comes up that whether there is rebirth or not makes no difference: that's not what we're discussing, is it? Why bring it up if it's not?


It underlies a lot of the arguments. It also crops up, eg when people say "if there is no rebirth then suicide is good" (paraphrased). No matter how your discuss rebirth, in a Buddhist forum 9/10 times people are discussing their belief in rebirth IMO (not saying you are though)


Craig, does it make a difference if one invests belief in there being rebirth or not?


Depends on the individual
“ 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 » Wed Aug 14, 2013 7:10 am

But also discussing what he might have meant when he said rebirth, and if he believed it/taught it or not, doesn't aim at the extinction of dukkha


To me it's a meaningless exercise (in Buddhist terms)

Awareness and the four noble truths are all we need from my experience


You could prove all your theories in your last few posts, yet still experience dukkha ...
“ 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 nowheat » Wed Aug 14, 2013 7:14 am

lyndon taylor wrote:if you don't think the Buddha talks extensively about literal rebirth in the suttas, you haven't been reading them......

Heres the vipaka sutta translated by Thanissaro Bhikku in which rebirth is mentioned clearly in the first verse, http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html

Another sutta where in the first paragraph talks about rebirth and being reborn; http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html

Yet another sutta where the Buddha himself speaks about rebirth AND USES THE TERM REBIRTH; http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html

I could go on and on with citation after citation, the point is the term rebirth is used by the Buddha all through the pali canon,

Well, the term rebirth isn't what's being translated as rebirth; it's usually a word that breaks down as "again-becoming" that gets used, but I don't disagree that he's ostensibly talking about rebirth. But what I do say is that what he is pointing to with his talk of rebirth is dependent arising, and in dependent arising he's not endorsing rebirth, he's pointing out that belief in it is part of the problem. Still, what he ends up saying, for example in that first sutta, is that killing is going to put you in a bad place -- whether that's taken figuratively or literally doesn't actually matter that much: the advice to avoid killing (or stealing, or abuse of sex) is good advice either way. Which is why his system of talking about what's going on via dependent arising, on both levels, works so well.

He is clear in a few places I've found that he finds belief in rebirth to be a problem, for example he does this in MN 117 (which is where this journey I'm on really started, a lot of it right here on this forum), in which he speaks of three kinds of view: wrong view, tainted right view, and supermundane view. The traditional take on this is that wrong view is wrong because it is denying the reality of rebirth and karma etc, that the tainted right view is right because it describes what is really going on in the universe, and that supermundane is the view you get when you're awakened. But if you really pay close attention, wrong view is wrong primarily because it leads you away from liberation, and secondarily because it is a *view* (note Paul Fuller's book/PhD thesis on Ditthi agrees with this -- I'm not the only person who recognizes this) and worse than that, it is a view that focuses on denying what every good person out there believes (read the sutta: wrong view is not a positive view, it's negative). Tainted right view is right because it's what most every good person out there believes, but it is *tainted* and it perpetuates those darned aggregates so it's not really a very good view to have. Supermundane right view is the only one the Buddha is truly endorsing -- would he endorse a tainted view that perpetuates the aggregates? I don't think so!

So anyway, in MN 117 the tainted right views include rebirth and karma and worlds-beyond, and he says, when he describes them, that there's something wrong with those. It's subtle, but the statement is there, and that he's saying that belief in rebirth tends to generate those clinging aggregates surprises me not in the least -- how could it not? -- when it concerns who *you* will be in the future and what hell *you* will go to.

But, seen this way, the really significant thing is that what's wrong with Wrong View has a lot more to do with denying what everyone else believes than it does with which cosmology is The Real One, and this is -- all throughout the suttas -- the really big problem with views: it means you end up arguing with everyone. And the Buddha, using a system (DA) that, when understood by the bright and open-minded students, teaches how views get us in trouble, can use that same system to put his money where his mouth is when it comes to taking a stand on not arguing with people: using dependent arising as the lesson he is always pointing to when he talks about rebirth, he doesn't have to spend time telling everyone their beliefs are wrong. He can give good advice and have it work whatever the listener's level of understanding of his teachings.

But I get it if you don't get it. It isn't easy to spot, especially when reading translations of texts by authors who believe the Buddha taught literal rebirth, and who are translating texts that have been gently massaged by folks over 2,000 years who believed the same thing.

And if the path you're on works for you, go for it! Follow it! But please don't be telling me what I can and can't say, okay?

:namaste:

lyndon taylor wrote:However these are all possibiltities, you pick the one that makes sense to you, But don't try to say the Buddha doesn't teach literal rebirth in the scriptures, because he clearly does.
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Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby clw_uk » Wed Aug 14, 2013 7:15 am

The heart of the path is SO simple. No need for long explanations. Give up clinging to love and hate, just rest with things as they are. That is all I do in my own practice.

Do not try to become anything. Do not make yourself into anything. Do not be a meditator. Do not become enlightened. When you sit, let it be. When you walk, let it be. Grasp at nothing. Resist nothing.


:anjali:
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Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby nowheat » Wed Aug 14, 2013 7:16 am

clw_uk wrote:
nowheat wrote:Craig, does it make a difference if one invests belief in there being rebirth or not?


Depends on the individual

If it makes a difference to one individual anywhere in the world, then I believe the answer is "yes, it makes a difference".

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