the great rebirth debate

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Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby clw_uk » Sat Aug 17, 2013 1:44 am

clw_uk wrote:
You are conditional, in that you only see the danger if there is a future life


Alex123 - Some evil people can skillfully rip off other people and live a successful life... The danger is in being a door mat, obeying all the rules and having everyone walk all over you.


So you agree that your a conditional Buddhist?
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Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby ancientbuddhism » Sat Aug 17, 2013 3:51 am

nowheat wrote:
ancientbuddhism wrote:
Linda, you are in over your head.


Quite possibly.

But that's an easy thing to say. I haven't noticed you providing any information that shows that any of the broad assumptions I've made about the times are incorrect, though. Or any suttas that make the structure I see, and the message as I understand it, impossible. ...



I cannot contribute to an opinion that has no basis for its claims. As I mentioned earlier, these ideas could all be very interesting, but for me fall short when the textual materials that would tie it all in are not cited, but are rather alluded to. But I suppose we cannot expect different from you when you are asked directly about the reference to a sutta or other sources of Vedic parallel to suttanta which would support your theory, when you simply give a meandering reply about not being an academic, or your note taking practices, or the like of my dog ate my homework.
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Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby Aloka » Sat Aug 17, 2013 4:40 am

ancientbuddhism wrote:
nowheat wrote:
ancientbuddhism wrote:
Linda, you are in over your head.


Quite possibly.

But that's an easy thing to say. I haven't noticed you providing any information that shows that any of the broad assumptions I've made about the times are incorrect, though. Or any suttas that make the structure I see, and the message as I understand it, impossible. ...



I cannot contribute to an opinion that has no basis for its claims. As I mentioned earlier, these ideas could all be very interesting, but for me fall short when the textual materials that would tie it all in are not cited, but are rather alluded to. But I suppose we cannot expect different from you when you are asked directly about the reference to a sutta or other sources of Vedic parallel to suttanta which would support your theory, when you simply give a meandering reply about not being an academic, or your note taking practices, or the like of my dog ate my homework.


I agree that more reference information from a variety of sources needs to be provided in order to support any claims or new ideas . Its usually standard procedure to do that even at a secondary school essay or debating level.


.
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Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby Sylvester » Sat Aug 17, 2013 6:04 am

nowheat wrote:From the language you use, Sylvester, I think you're assuming I have an academic background, have studied rhetoric, debate, philosophy, etc. etc. following along with the assumption that grammatical terms mean something to me (while I love languages, I am handicapped by having zero memory of the meaning of most grammatical terms past the simplest). I am not now and never have been an academic nor do I have the qualifications of an amateur to be an academic if I wanted to (by which I mean I am simply not inclined in that direction; I don't think that way) -- so most of what you say here goes zipping right past me. I go out and look up the terms you're using but I have to keep the window I find open because the instant I go back to read your text I'll forget what the terms mean. But I don't mind you using the terms. I find it wonderful to know there *is* a term already out there for what I am calling a field (in one of its incarnations it is a necessary condition -- in another of its incarnations it is an object of meditation) -- a "necessary condition" -- is my "where".

So, to be kind to myself, I'll put the example that made this clear to me in this post:

from http://philosophy.wisc.edu/hausman/341/ ... ec-suf.htm
Definition: A necessary condition for some state of affairs S is a condition that must be satisfied in order for S to obtain.

For example, a necessary condition for getting an A in 341 is that a student hand in a term paper. This means that if a student does not hand in a term paper, then a student will not get an A, or, equivalently, if a student gets an A, then a student hands in a term paper.

Definition: A sufficient condition for some state of affairs S is a condition that, if satisfied, guarantees that S obtains.

For example, a sufficient condition for getting an A in 341 is getting an A on every piece of graded work in the course. This means that if a student gets an A on every piece of graded work in the course, then the student gets an A.

Handing in a term paper is not a sufficient condition for getting an A in the course. It is possible to hand in a term paper and not to get an A in the course.

I'm still not sure the pair, though, is an exact fit. It would be if the sufficient condition required the necessary condition and was part of it, but in the example given, the sufficient condition is not a subset of the necessary condition.

Which is, I suspect, the problem with what I *think* you're saying with the question as to whether "the purported Vedic antecedents of pedagogy would have understood this 'field' as meaning a necessary condition or a sufficient condition." These two things are set up as separate from each other -- entirely independent of each other -- whereas in what I'm saying they are too thoroughly related to each other to be understood that way.

Handing in a term paper is not a sufficient condition for getting an A in the course because (subset) handing in a lousy term paper (causes dukkha) will get you a bad grade. The subset of the necessary condition here is a failure of the sufficient condition and that is the thing we need to focus on in Buddhism to solve the problem of dukkha.

But, I think, more-to-the-point is that the language used in DA in the parts that people use to support the theory that the Buddha was endorsing belief in "his particular form of literal rebirth" is not meant to indicate in any way anything other than the literal. It is literally describing the most distant necessary condition -- what people (generic: most people in his time) believed about rebirth (generic beliefs about rebirth*). So the grammar in the sentence should sound exactly if it is talking about rebirth and nothing else. The language is not going to give away -- it doesn't need to give away -- any hint that there is a sufficient condition that is a subset of what he is talking about. That comes from (1) the structure of the argument he's using (some of which can be seen in his description of nutriment, which I perceive as a "key" pointing out how to interpret the whole of DA) (2) the points where he is defining the terms in ways that are *not* directly rebirth-related, like when he defines the relationship between the name and the form in terms of categories, or describes our knowledge (in vedana) as about feeling in the present moment, or lists the sort of opinions that fuel "existence" (in upadana). Those descriptions aren't part of the generic rebirth model that he is simultaneously critiquing and pointing out as a belief system that is the necessary condition for what's actually going on (our beliefs about life-after-death cause us to create what we mistake for a self which leads to dukkha).

* This thread is about rebirth, so I keep saying that DA uses the language of rebirth, but what I am *really* meaning is that DA uses the language of a "cycle of life including what happens at death and afterward" -- it's generic. It is taken in most of Buddhism as being about rebirth, but the language is inclusive of a "not quite rebirth" belief of "self dissolves at death and blends back into Brahman" that is a sorta birth into a sorta nuther world but isn't really rebirth.

Does that answer your question? Or am I misunderstanding what your question is?

(Your last bit I'll answer separately -- post is getting too long.)

:namaste:


Hi nowheat

I belabour the distinction between the necessary condition and the sufficient condition, as it may actually mark a major difference between the Dhamma and the Vedic Dharma.

When I look at the Veda's description of the sacrifice, and how the BAU and CU comment on this, the sense I get is that because it is effected through eg the speech prāṇa, it has a very strong suggestion that speech is a sufficient condition for the sacrifice's efficacy. We see this in (the CU, if I recall correctly) the ability of the Hotr priest to ensure that the sacrifice as performed brings the client/patron to the land of the fathers as desired. One of the outcomes of this belief in Vedic apparatus being sufficient conditions to the next life is the belief in self-agency. Not necessarily as in Atman, but certainly the assurance that if you do X, you will definitely reap Y. This agency's efficacy is, IMO, that abhisamskaroti assumed in the Satapatha Brahmana for the Creative act.

Now, if DA's structure is to be translated as embodying a set of logical relations of necessity, is that not quite a radical innovation for the Buddha to have introduced to the Indian landscape accustomed to sufficiency and "essence"? I don't see how He was using DA to describe the "belief" in rebirth, since there is no attested evidence (whether in the suttas or in non-Buddhist material that I know of) that there was any contemporary "belief" in conceiving nāmarūpa in terms of "resistance contact" and "designation contact". That revelation was so ground-breaking, what possible Vedic referent could the brahmin have had recourse to in order for this presentation of DA to resonate?
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Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby nowheat » Sat Aug 17, 2013 7:03 am

Sylvester wrote:I belabour the distinction between the necessary condition and the sufficient condition, as it may actually mark a major difference between the Dhamma and the Vedic Dharma.

When I look at the Veda's description of the sacrifice, and how the BAU and CU comment on this, the sense I get is that because it is effected through eg the speech prāṇa, it has a very strong suggestion that speech is a sufficient condition for the sacrifice's efficacy. We see this in (the CU, if I recall correctly) the ability of the Hotr priest to ensure that the sacrifice as performed brings the client/patron to the land of the fathers as desired. One of the outcomes of this belief in Vedic apparatus being sufficient conditions to the next life is the belief in self-agency. Not necessarily as in Atman, but certainly the assurance that if you do X, you will definitely reap Y. This agency's efficacy is, IMO, that abhisamskaroti assumed in the Satapatha Brahmana for the Creative act.

Now, if DA's structure is to be translated as embodying a set of logical relations of necessity, is that not quite a radical innovation for the Buddha to have introduced to the Indian landscape accustomed to sufficiency and "essence"? I don't see how He was using DA to describe the "belief" in rebirth, since there is no attested evidence (whether in the suttas or in non-Buddhist material that I know of) that there was any contemporary "belief" in conceiving nāmarūpa in terms of "resistance contact" and "designation contact". That revelation was so ground-breaking, what possible Vedic referent could the brahmin have had recourse to in order for this presentation of DA to resonate?


Thanks for the clarification, Sylvester. Can you put into plainest English what you perceive is being said about namarupa in terms of "resistance contact" and "designation contact"? I may understand what was meant by these differently than you do, and it would help to have some confidence we'd be talking about the same thing.

:namaste:
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Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby nowheat » Sat Aug 17, 2013 7:07 am

ancientbuddhism wrote:I cannot contribute to an opinion that has no basis for its claims. As I mentioned earlier, these ideas could all be very interesting, but for me fall short when the textual materials that would tie it all in are not cited, but are rather alluded to. But I suppose we cannot expect different from you when you are asked directly about the reference to a sutta or other sources of Vedic parallel to suttanta which would support your theory, when you simply give a meandering reply about not being an academic, or your note taking practices, or the like of my dog ate my homework.

Ok then, the "over the head" statement remains empty -- appropriate in a conversation about Buddhism -- lacking evidence.

Maybe you could give me a short list of things I've said that you feel need citations, and as I encounter them, I can pop them into this thread.

:namaste:
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Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby Sylvester » Sat Aug 17, 2013 8:19 am

nowheat wrote:Thanks for the clarification, Sylvester. Can you put into plainest English what you perceive is being said about namarupa in terms of "resistance contact" and "designation contact"? I may understand what was meant by these differently than you do, and it would help to have some confidence we'd be talking about the same thing.

:namaste:



I'm largely guided by SN 36.6 and those suttas like it that bifurcate contact into 2 types. Walshe's translation definitely does not inform my interpretation of this analysis.

SN 36.6 describes the attendant feelings as kāyika for the hedonic tone of pleasant, painful or neutral and cetasika for the emotional sequel that are triggered by the corresponding anusaya underlying the hedonic tone. IMO, kāyika feelings arise with resistance contact (paṭighasamphassa) while the cetasika feelings follow on from designation contact (adhivacanasamphassa). Interestingly, the Dharmagupta parallel to DN 15 (DA 13) has 身觸 (bodily contact) and 心觸 (mental contact) where paṭighasamphassa and adhivacanasamphassa are discussed respectively.

In DN 15's treatment of these 2 types of contact, we no longer encounter the familiar Upanisadic conception of nāmarūpa as one's appearance and name (that being disposed of in the foetus and womb discussion earlier). Instead, the compound is broken down such that one needs rūpakāya in order to discern paṭighasamphassa in/with reference to the nāmakāya, and vice versa. Nāma and rūpa still retain some connection to its Upanisadic roots, insofar as I think that this bare cognitive and naming sequel analyses still require name for naming to work, and appearance/form to be present in order for the bare cognitive contact to be established. We get a sense of this "naming" function suggested in this passage -

Nāmarūpapaccayā viññāṇa’nti iti kho panetaṃ vuttaṃ, tadānanda, imināpetaṃ pariyāyena veditabbaṃ, yathā nāmarūpapaccayā viññāṇaṃ. Viññāṇañca hi, ānanda, nāmarūpe patiṭṭhaṃ na labhissatha, api nu kho āyatiṃ jātijarāmaraṇaṃ dukkhasamudayasambhavo paññāyethā’’ti? ‘‘No hetaṃ, bhante’’. ‘‘Tasmātihānanda, eseva hetu etaṃ nidānaṃ esa samudayo esa paccayo viññāṇassa yadidaṃ nāmarūpaṃ. Ettāvatā kho, ānanda, jāyetha vā jīyetha vā mīyetha vā cavetha vā upapajjetha vā. Ettāvatā adhivacanapatho, ettāvatā niruttipatho, ettāvatā paññattipatho, ettāvatā paññāvacaraṃ, ettāvatā vaṭṭaṃ vattati itthattaṃ paññāpanāya yadidaṃ nāmarūpaṃ saha viññāṇena aññamaññapaccayatā pavattati.

“It was said: ’With mentality-materiality as condition there is consciousness.’ How that is so, Ananda, should be understood in this way: If consciousness were not to gain a footing in mentality-materiality, would an origination of the mass of suffering—of future birth, aging, and death—be discerned?”

“Certainly not, venerable sir.”

“Therefore, Ananda, this is the cause, source, origin, and condition for consciousness, namely, mentality-materiality.

“It is to this extent, Ananda, that one can be born, age, and die, pass away and re-arise, to this extent that there is a pathway for designation, to this extent that there is a pathway for language, to this extent that there is a pathway for description, to this extent that there is a sphere for wisdom, to this extent that the round turns for describing this state of being, that is, when there is mentality-materiality together with consciousness.

per BB


I take the sequence adhivacanapatha, niruttipatha, paññattipatha, and paññāvacara as synonyms or near-synonyms communicating the naming phenomenon. This should tie in with the standard sutta definition of nāma being feeling, perception, intention, contact, & attention, where perception perhaps is responsible for the naming dimension of contact.
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Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby Spiny Norman » Sat Aug 17, 2013 9:52 am

clw_uk wrote:....now I see/use the present moment understanding of d.o. Without caring if three lifetimes is true or not.


OK. So how do you use the present moment understanding of DO? In practice? For me the practical application of DO is mainly being mindful of how craving and aversion arise in dependence on feeling, via contact.
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Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby Spiny Norman » Sat Aug 17, 2013 9:57 am

clw_uk wrote:Once again, you dont understand Buddhadhamma


Or do you mean "you don't agree with my understanding of Buddhadhamma"?

Clearly people understand Buddhadhamma in different ways, that's why we continually debate meaning.
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Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby chownah » Sat Aug 17, 2013 10:24 am

Sylvester,
I read SN36.6 and find no use of the terms designation or resistance contact. Is resistance contact the first arrow, I.e. bodily pain and is designation contact the second arrow I.e. mental pain?
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Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby Sylvester » Sat Aug 17, 2013 11:27 am

It's just my interpretation, chownah. Here, I depart from the Abhidhamma in opening up paṭighasamphassa/resistance contact to include kāyika feelings at the mind. I do this, as MN 148 suggests that hedonic tone can be experienced by mind-contact without the accompanying emotional tone intruding under the force of its anusaya. According to the suttas, "pain felt at mind contact" ≠ grief. If that equation were made, that would mean that MN 44 is wrong and none of the practices to sameti (appease) the anusayas are of utility when dealing with the feelings arisen with mind-contact, eg AN 4.164 on dealing with unskillful intentions.

So, yes, you understand me correctly when you summarise as above. There was an expanded discussion at viewtopic.php?f=23&t=13998#p206579 on why I believe kāyika does not mean the physical body. See also BB's views from the SN cited at viewtopic.php?f=23&t=13799#p256690.

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Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby clw_uk » Sat Aug 17, 2013 11:32 am

Spiny Norman wrote:
clw_uk wrote:....now I see/use the present moment understanding of d.o. Without caring if three lifetimes is true or not.


OK. So how do you use the present moment understanding of DO? In practice? For me the practical application of DO is mainly being mindful of how craving and aversion arise in dependence on feeling, via contact.



Due to ignorant contact, that then gives birth to identification with that which dies
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Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby clw_uk » Sat Aug 17, 2013 11:33 am

Spiny Norman wrote:
clw_uk wrote:Once again, you dont understand Buddhadhamma


Or do you mean "you don't agree with my understanding of Buddhadhamma"?

Clearly people understand Buddhadhamma in different ways, that's why we continually debate meaning.



Some things are central, like not-clinging to that which changes
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Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby Alex123 » Sat Aug 17, 2013 12:19 pm

clw_uk wrote:I see so when you wanted something, and couldnt get it and felt annoyed, that wasnt dukkha :)


It was dukkha due to kilesas. But even the Buddha could experience dukkha due to bodily pains, etc. rather then kilesas.


In any case, rebirth brings much much more dukkha than if there was one life. So much so, that, the dukkha of one life cannot compare to dukkha of countless lives.
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Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby Alex123 » Sat Aug 17, 2013 12:22 pm

clw_uk wrote:
clw_uk wrote:
You are conditional, in that you only see the danger if there is a future life


Alex123 - Some evil people can skillfully rip off other people and live a successful life... The danger is in being a door mat, obeying all the rules and having everyone walk all over you.


So you agree that your a conditional Buddhist?


For me, Buddhism without rebirth is for the most part a good cognitive psychotherapy to somehow deal with some of this life problems due to craving.
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Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby Alex123 » Sat Aug 17, 2013 12:24 pm

clw_uk wrote:Some things are central, like not-clinging to that which changes



And the central problem of craving and clinging is that it leads to rebirth. That is central dukkha.


clw_uk wrote:Due to ignorant contact, that then gives birth to identification with that which dies


And, according to suttas, after the grave, there will be another birth.
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Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby Alex123 » Sat Aug 17, 2013 3:17 pm

clw_uk wrote:A Buddhist would strive to be aware of the here and now, to be aware of likes and dislikes and how it leads to dukkha


Why does liking/disliking always lead to suffering?

Maybe disliking current state of affairs is a motive to seek something better?

clw_uk wrote:How trying to change the world to suit our needs leads to dukkha


So are you saying that one will have less dukkha if one doesn't change the world to suit our needs? So should we abandon all technological advancements, be totally natural, and run around naked? Especially in cold northern climates?
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Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby Spiny Norman » Sat Aug 17, 2013 3:51 pm

clw_uk wrote:
Spiny Norman wrote:
clw_uk wrote:....now I see/use the present moment understanding of d.o. Without caring if three lifetimes is true or not.


OK. So how do you use the present moment understanding of DO? In practice? For me the practical application of DO is mainly being mindful of how craving and aversion arise in dependence on feeling, via contact.



Due to ignorant contact, that then gives birth to identification with that which dies


But what does that actually feel like to you in practice? What is it that you actually experience being reborn?
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Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby Spiny Norman » Sat Aug 17, 2013 3:53 pm

Alex123 wrote:And the central problem of craving and clinging is that it leads to rebirth. That is central dukkha.


Yes, that's consistent with what the suttas say.
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Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby clw_uk » Sat Aug 17, 2013 4:05 pm


But what does that actually feel like to you in practice? What is it that you actually experience being reborn?



Identification, "I am this, this is mine"
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