the great rebirth debate

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Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby lyndon taylor » Fri Aug 23, 2013 12:07 pm

How about we talk about what is the relevence of rebirth at your death, which I assume is inevitable??
18 years ago I made one of the most important decisions of my life and entered a local Cambodian Buddhist Temple as a temple boy and, for only 3 weeks, an actual Therevada Buddhist monk. I am not a scholar, great meditator, or authority on Buddhism, but Buddhism is something I love from the Bottom of my heart. It has taught me sobriety, morality, peace, and very importantly that my suffering is optional, and doesn't have to run my life. I hope to give back what little I can to the Buddhist community that has so generously given me so much, sincerely former monk John

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Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby daverupa » Fri Aug 23, 2013 1:16 pm

lyndon taylor wrote:How about we talk about what is the relevence of rebirth at your death, which I assume is inevitable??


Two points come up in this respect:

1. The Buddha's teaching on rebirth was not in and of itself a motive for the pre-Buddha's going forth - disease, aging, and death were. Those particular facts only occurred to him after he had trained in the fourth jhana, long after his going forth.

2. Whenever the Buddha found people who weren't upholding their own metpahysical views, but who were instead inquisitive and yet perplexed about these metaphysical issues, the Buddha taught them via the Wager, not via rebirth.

So the approach of being motivated by rebirth-view, while useful for some, is nevertheless wholly inessential and, perhaps we can say, not very good dhammaduta for many people when it is insisted upon in certain ways.
    "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: the great rebirth debate

Postby ancientbuddhism » Fri Aug 23, 2013 1:39 pm

nowheat wrote:
ancientbuddhism wrote:
nowheat wrote:My thesis is twofold: that we have misunderstood what the Buddha is doing with his mentions of rebirth because we have not understood the way the Buddha uses language throughout the canon, and that the other reason for the misunderstanding is because we haven't understood what dependent arising is, if it's not endorsing a view of the cosmic order...


I could have missed something, but where have you actually shown a text-critical analysis of 'the way the Buddha uses language', pointing to parallels or 'linguistic echos', as Norman/Gombrich would show, in the Vedas or Upaniṣads, to support your 'thesis'?

Otherwise, you could post here again in this or that thread, today or months later, and the discussion still remains circular.

I'm not sure what you missed, but I must have missed the part where I said something that indicated I believe the Buddha used language in a way that was imitating someone else so that it would have parallels or 'linguistic echoes'. I thought what I'd said was that there wasn't an expectation that teachers would speak in clear and literal ways the way we expect them to -- I'm pretty sure anyone reading the Upanisads would notice this -- but that I suspected that the Buddha was doing things with the structure of his argument that were quite remarkably brilliant, by which I mean using techniques that no one might have thought of. My argument included a point made in passing about Sariputta's moment of understanding -- if one of his most brilliant students didn't get it at first, it wasn't that he was being obvious, or talking just exactly the way everyone else did.

I also thought I'd said, at least once or twice, that what I'm arguing should be clear from the suttas alone. It is an internally consistent way of understanding what's going on that makes the inconsistencies some of us recognize in the traditional view (the "I don't discuss cosmological questions I only speak of dukkha and the cessation of dukkha" accompanied in the suttas by statements that are understood by many to be statements about cosmological questions -- those sorts of failures of logic; the direction to be more concerned with one's own life in the future than with our effect on those whose lives we touch and all life; the nothing-to-be-reborn issues) go away. If my argument is circular it is, I suppose, because it's meant to be self-supported by just the suttas, by understanding what is being said, as well as the way it is said, with the only real outside support coming from seeing how it measures up in practice. In just the same sort of way that the traditional interpretation has its own internal consistency, what I'm suggesting also has internal consistency. If that sort of circularity seems like a failing to you, well, I'm sorry that it does.

:namaste:


You have made the claim that the method or style or ‘field’ as background for the Buddha’s teaching of DO, is connected to the Vedas, no?

What would connect the DO in the Nikāyas to the Vedas, if such can be found, is through citing the relevant texts and specific language, both of the Nikāyas and vedic materials.

Surly you understand what is asked with reference to a textual or linguistic connection, from suttanta to another body of texts? What is asked is to show this connection for what you suggest is ‘what the Buddha actually meant’ with DO and the vedic materials mentioned as underpinnings to your thesis.

Such an argument cannot be accepted as ‘self-supported by just the suttas’ when its thesis is pointing to vedic materials as part of its claim.
Anuvicca papañca nāmarūpaṃ
ajjhattaṃ bahiddhā ca rogamūlaṃ,
sabbarogamūlabandhanā pamutto
anuvidito tādi pavuccate tathattā
.

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

– Sn. 3.6 (Sabhiyasuttaṃ)

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

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Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby lyndon taylor » Fri Aug 23, 2013 1:43 pm

daverupa wrote:
lyndon taylor wrote:How about we talk about what is the relevence of rebirth at your death, which I assume is inevitable??


Two points come up in this respect:

1. The Buddha's teaching on rebirth was not in and of itself a motive for the pre-Buddha's going forth - disease, aging, and death were. Those particular facts only occurred to him after he had trained in the fourth jhana, long after his going forth.

2. Whenever the Buddha found people who weren't upholding their own metpahysical views, but who were instead inquisitive and yet perplexed about these metaphysical issues, the Buddha taught them via the Wager, not via rebirth.

So the approach of being motivated by rebirth-view, while useful for some, is nevertheless wholly inessential and, perhaps we can say, not very good dhammaduta for many people when it is insisted upon in certain ways.


Once again you have every right to speak for yourself, but I would caution you to try not to apply your opinions and beliefs to everyone else, rebirth is inessential to you, but not inessential to everyone.

At least I should thank you for being on topic, a lesson some of our other posters seem unable to learn!!!
Last edited by lyndon taylor on Fri Aug 23, 2013 1:51 pm, edited 1 time in total.
18 years ago I made one of the most important decisions of my life and entered a local Cambodian Buddhist Temple as a temple boy and, for only 3 weeks, an actual Therevada Buddhist monk. I am not a scholar, great meditator, or authority on Buddhism, but Buddhism is something I love from the Bottom of my heart. It has taught me sobriety, morality, peace, and very importantly that my suffering is optional, and doesn't have to run my life. I hope to give back what little I can to the Buddhist community that has so generously given me so much, sincerely former monk John

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Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby mikenz66 » Fri Aug 23, 2013 1:50 pm

Hi Spiny,
Spiny Norman wrote:
“Moment to moment” is the main thrust of DO. When we look at the early sketches in Suttanipāta of what later became DO, we find a pure ethic of liberation to be experienced in the present. This was the intention discussed well before a nidāna of doctrine had developed.


Could you say which early sketches? How do you know they are early? And how do you know they are more authentic than later material?

See, for example Sutta Nipata 4.11
http://www.leighb.com/snp4_11.htm
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .irel.html
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html

The last two chapters of the Sn are often cited as being very early suttas.

:anjali:
Mike


:anjali:
Mike

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Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby ancientbuddhism » Fri Aug 23, 2013 2:04 pm

Spiny Norman wrote:...Could you say which early sketches? How do you know they are early? And how do you know they are more authentic than later material?

For me the pivotal point is the way the nidanas are defined, because they give DO it's meaning. The suttas I know of which define the nidanas are MN9, SN12.2 and DN15, and these seem to support the traditional view. Are you saying these 3 suttas are all later additions, and that they are corruptions?


I would rather devote another thread to discussing DO in the Suttanipāta. But for our purposes here, K.R. Norman’s translation should suffice. See The Group of Discourses (Sutta Nipāta) (PTS No. 45, 1991/2001), a copy can be found in the Library. A good place to begin is Sn. V.2. Ajita’s Questions, V.4. Puṇṇaka’s Questions and V.5. Mettagū’s Questions. There are other contexts of what could be called ‘early DO’, for lack of a better term, throughout the Sn., but these will give a context for questions about the cause of dukkha and what it is to be beset with ‘birth and aging’ (jātijaranti), in a concise, present life context. Also on the topic of Sn. and DO, look in the Library for The Theory of ‘Dependent Origination’ in its Incipient Stage, by Hajime Nakamura.

I would not designate these sections of Suttanipāta as 'more authentic'. Why the Suttanipāta is considered 'early' is academic theory, e.g. the lack of stock phrases and idiom that later developed into the doctrinal pericopes found in the larger collections.

Also, with reference to what could be called a DO of the present moment, the Loka Sutta of SN. 12.44 gives us a model for looking at this. Rather than post all that again, look at this discussion here.
Anuvicca papañca nāmarūpaṃ
ajjhattaṃ bahiddhā ca rogamūlaṃ,
sabbarogamūlabandhanā pamutto
anuvidito tādi pavuccate tathattā
.

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

– Sn. 3.6 (Sabhiyasuttaṃ)

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

A Handful of Leaves

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Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby daverupa » Fri Aug 23, 2013 2:27 pm

lyndon taylor wrote:Once again you have every right to speak for yourself, but I would caution you to try not to apply your opinions and beliefs to everyone else, rebirth is inessential to you, but not inessential to everyone.


It may be essential to your practice, but it isn't essential to the practice in the same way that the eightfold path is essential to the practice for everyone. This is an essential (!) difference worth highlighting, so let us be clear about it.

:anjali:
    "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: the great rebirth debate

Postby daverupa » Fri Aug 23, 2013 2:34 pm

ancientbuddhism wrote:Also, with reference to what could be called a DO of the present moment, the Loka Sutta of SN. 12.44 gives us a model for looking at this. Rather than post all that again, look at this discussion here.


You know, I wonder if the idea of The All and how it is created, per that sutta, is being connected in nowheat's thoughts with a description of Purusa/Prajapati as the (ritually-constituted/constructed) All. Maybe this is the comparative bedrock for further unpacking DO as a reworked Vedic precedent?
    "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: the great rebirth debate

Postby lyndon taylor » Fri Aug 23, 2013 2:39 pm

it is pretty essential if your belief in rebirth is what gives you the motivation to practise the 8fld path in the first place, if rebirth was so unimportant why did the Buddha include it over and over in the scriptures, believe it or not, some people actually practise the 8fld path to gain a favourable rebirth, without that belief there may be no practise at all. Its just important to deliniate between what we individually think and believe, and what is universally true. Rebirth may be universally true, but their may be no way to prove or disprove it. But making statements like "rebirth is entirely unessential to the practise of Buddhism" definetly isn't true for everyone, and smacks as a secular version of the fundamentalist extremism that is being criticized.

Rebirth is mostly only unimportant or inessential to people that don't believe in it, to people that do believe it can be very important indeed.
18 years ago I made one of the most important decisions of my life and entered a local Cambodian Buddhist Temple as a temple boy and, for only 3 weeks, an actual Therevada Buddhist monk. I am not a scholar, great meditator, or authority on Buddhism, but Buddhism is something I love from the Bottom of my heart. It has taught me sobriety, morality, peace, and very importantly that my suffering is optional, and doesn't have to run my life. I hope to give back what little I can to the Buddhist community that has so generously given me so much, sincerely former monk John

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Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby Jhana4 » Fri Aug 23, 2013 3:25 pm

I don't believe that a belief in rebirth is a necessary condition for there being a point to Buddhism.

The teachings and all of the recommendations make people's lives happier in the here and now.

That point is even made in the often cited Kalama Sutta.
Last edited by Jhana4 on Fri Aug 23, 2013 3:36 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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One mistake is to cling to the literal text and miss the inner principles.
The second mistake is to recognize the principles but not apply them to your own mind, so that you waste time and just make them into causes of entanglement.

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Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby daverupa » Fri Aug 23, 2013 3:28 pm

lyndon taylor wrote:... But making statements like "rebirth is entirely..."


That isn't what was said. You are arguing against your own thoughts.
    "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: the great rebirth debate

Postby Jhana4 » Fri Aug 23, 2013 3:38 pm

Given the number of references to dana and the particular value of doing dana for monks, a belief in something like reincarnation/rebirth might have been a calculated move by some Buddhists in history to guarantee lay support of the sangha. The average person who isn't into meditation and dhamma study ( or have the opportunity ) would still have a religious belief that fit their daily lives, a belief that they would feel they could do something with and the sangha gets provided for as a result.
In reading the scriptures, there are two kinds of mistakes:
One mistake is to cling to the literal text and miss the inner principles.
The second mistake is to recognize the principles but not apply them to your own mind, so that you waste time and just make them into causes of entanglement.

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Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby lyndon taylor » Fri Aug 23, 2013 3:39 pm

This is what you said Daverupa, sorry, you said wholly inessential, not entirely inessential; don't see as that makes one bit of difference though;last I checked wholly and entirely mean exactly the same thing.

So the approach of being motivated by rebirth-view, while useful for some, is nevertheless wholly inessential and, perhaps we can say, not very good dhammaduta for many people when it is insisted upon in certain ways.(quote Daverupa!!)
Last edited by lyndon taylor on Fri Aug 23, 2013 3:50 pm, edited 1 time in total.
18 years ago I made one of the most important decisions of my life and entered a local Cambodian Buddhist Temple as a temple boy and, for only 3 weeks, an actual Therevada Buddhist monk. I am not a scholar, great meditator, or authority on Buddhism, but Buddhism is something I love from the Bottom of my heart. It has taught me sobriety, morality, peace, and very importantly that my suffering is optional, and doesn't have to run my life. I hope to give back what little I can to the Buddhist community that has so generously given me so much, sincerely former monk John

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Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby ancientbuddhism » Fri Aug 23, 2013 3:41 pm

daverupa wrote:
ancientbuddhism wrote:Also, with reference to what could be called a DO of the present moment, the Loka Sutta of SN. 12.44 gives us a model for looking at this. Rather than post all that again, look at this discussion here.


You know, I wonder if the idea of The All and how it is created, per that sutta, is being connected in nowheat's thoughts with a description of Purusa/Prajapati as the (ritually-constituted/constructed) All. Maybe this is the comparative bedrock for further unpacking DO as a reworked Vedic precedent?


There may be some connection with Prajāpati and a ‘ritually constructed’ All. But so far Linda’s thoughts on the matter is QED.

Considering that the 'world' (loka) is synonymous with 'the all' (sabbaṃ) of cognitions, what the Tathāgata may have been punning is sarvaṃ as epithet of the Ātman. Just to cite one reference from Bṛh.U. – 1,4.7 [S. Radhakrishnan]:

    tad dhedaṃ tarhy avyākṛtam āsīt |
    tan nāmarūpābhyām eva vyākriyatāsau nāmāyam idaṃrūpa iti |
    tad idam apy etarhi nāmarūpābhyām eva vyākriyata asau nāmāyam idaṃrūpa iti |
    sa eṣa iha praviṣṭa ānakhāgrebhyo yathā kṣuraḥ kṣuradhāne 'vahitaḥ syād viśvambharo vā viśvambharakulāye |
    taṃ na paśyanti |
    akṛtsno hi saḥ prāṇann eva prāṇo nāma bhavati |
    vadan vāk paśyaṃś cakṣuḥ śṛṇvañ chrotraṃ manvāno manaḥ |
    tāny asyaitāni karmanāmāny eva |
    sa yo 'ta ekaikam upāste na sa veda |
    akṛtsno hy eṣo 'ta ekaikena bhavati |
    ātmety evopāsīta |
    atra hy ete sarva ekaṃ bhavanti |
    tad etat padanīyam asya sarvasya yad ayam ātmā |
    anena hy etat sarvaṃ veda |
    yathā ha vai padenānuvinded evaṃ kīrtiṃ ślokaṃ vindate ya evaṃ veda

    “At that time this (universe) was undifferentiated. It became differentiated by name and form (so that it is said) he has such a name, such a shape. Therefore even today this (universe) is differentiated by name and shape (so that it is said) he has such a name, such a shape. He (the self) entered in here even to the tips of the nails, as a razor is (hidden) in the razor-case, or as fire is the fire-source. Him they see not for (as seen) he is incomplete, when breathing he is called the vital force, when speaking voice, when seeing the eye, when hearing the ear, when thinking the mind. These are merely the names of his acts. He who meditates on one or another of them (aspects) he does not know for he is incomplete, with one or another of these (characteristics). The self is to be meditated upon for in it all become one. The self is the foot-trace of all this, for by it one knows all this, just as one can find again by foot-prints (what is lost). He who knows this finds fame and praise.”

Also for 'world':

“atho ayaṃ vā ātmā sarveṣāṃ lokaḥ…” || BṛhUp_1,4.16 ||

“Now this self, verily, is the world of all beings.”
Anuvicca papañca nāmarūpaṃ
ajjhattaṃ bahiddhā ca rogamūlaṃ,
sabbarogamūlabandhanā pamutto
anuvidito tādi pavuccate tathattā
.

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

– Sn. 3.6 (Sabhiyasuttaṃ)

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

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Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby daverupa » Fri Aug 23, 2013 3:50 pm

lyndon taylor wrote:This is what you said, sorry you said wholly inessential, not entirely don't see as that makes one bit of difference;


The reference was to a complete practice, which is whole without rebirth-view. I never said it wasn't helpful, nor did I say it was useless. Only inessential in terms of the practice, in terms of requisite causes and conditions.

Were you to insist that it was useful for you and others, I would see that. But you say it is an essential thing in your practice, which is to say that if it was removed there would be no practice. Okay, it's essential for you, but it's wholly inessential in terms of the Path. Making it essential was altogether up to you.

"essential for me" is not "essential"

"wholly inessential" is not "useless, of no worth to anyone"
    "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: the great rebirth debate

Postby lyndon taylor » Fri Aug 23, 2013 3:56 pm

edit
18 years ago I made one of the most important decisions of my life and entered a local Cambodian Buddhist Temple as a temple boy and, for only 3 weeks, an actual Therevada Buddhist monk. I am not a scholar, great meditator, or authority on Buddhism, but Buddhism is something I love from the Bottom of my heart. It has taught me sobriety, morality, peace, and very importantly that my suffering is optional, and doesn't have to run my life. I hope to give back what little I can to the Buddhist community that has so generously given me so much, sincerely former monk John

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Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby nowheat » Fri Aug 23, 2013 4:08 pm

ancientbuddhism wrote:You have made the claim that the method or style or ‘field’ as background for the Buddha’s teaching of DO, is connected to the Vedas, no?

Well, no, I haven't. I suppose I could've said something you might have interpreted that way, and if I did, I'd love it if you'd show it to me so I could see how I brought that confusion into things.

What would connect the DO in the Nikāyas to the Vedas, if such can be found, is through citing the relevant texts and specific language, both of the Nikāyas and vedic materials.

As far as I am aware, the connection I am making between the language of "the field" or methods or styles of speaking, and the Vedas, is the connection between colors and a sunset: colors are used to describe the sunset, perhaps even to paint or draw a sunset; no proof should be required of any extra connection between colors and a sunset beyond the obvious.

Surly you understand what is asked with reference to a textual or linguistic connection, from suttanta to another body of texts? What is asked is to show this connection for what you suggest is ‘what the Buddha actually meant’ with DO and the vedic materials mentioned as underpinnings to your thesis.

Such an argument cannot be accepted as ‘self-supported by just the suttas’ when its thesis is pointing to vedic materials as part of its claim.

The argument that the Buddha spoke literally of rebirth -- that he is speaking just as we do -- how is that supported outside the suttas?

My primary argument is that he isn't being literal. I saw this long before I saw any connection to the Vedas. I was not the first to see this -- many others have seen it that way, including Buddhadasa, right? I believe that Craig was arguing the metaphorical nature of the teachings on rebirth long before I arrived at this forum, and he wasn't couching it in terms of the Vedic connections -- he still doesn't, as far as I can see. My argument isn't that "I believe what I'm describing is true only because of what I find in Vedic literature" my argument is "I believe what I am describing is true because it is totally consistent in the suttas and matches with the reality of the world I see around me" and if it is totally separated from the Vedic culture, that would still be true.

On the other hand, see my next post.

:namaste:

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Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby lyndon taylor » Fri Aug 23, 2013 4:15 pm

There you go accusing the Buddha of being less than honest again, why can't you just say you don't believe in rebirth, yourself , why do you have to go to all this ..... to put words in the buddha's mouth he never said.
18 years ago I made one of the most important decisions of my life and entered a local Cambodian Buddhist Temple as a temple boy and, for only 3 weeks, an actual Therevada Buddhist monk. I am not a scholar, great meditator, or authority on Buddhism, but Buddhism is something I love from the Bottom of my heart. It has taught me sobriety, morality, peace, and very importantly that my suffering is optional, and doesn't have to run my life. I hope to give back what little I can to the Buddhist community that has so generously given me so much, sincerely former monk John

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Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby nowheat » Fri Aug 23, 2013 4:16 pm

Thinking about ancientbuddhism's request that I show how the Buddha's use of language -- e.g. "the field" -- is reflected in Vedic literature, which is not something I have ever argued, since I'm unaware of that structure or the multi-layered structure used in DA (etc.) being found anywhere outside of the Buddha's use of it (maybe I'll eventually find that it is, but that would make it no more important to the reality of what I'm suggesting the texts are saying being what they are saying) and thinking about Sylvester's wanting me to see that there is no "one common thread underlying the entire multi-colored fabric of the pre-Buddhist millieu" -- which sight was not a revelation to me, since it's a given that there were numerous disparate views -- I came to realize that there are a few positive statements I could make about these.

So far I have just been arguing that I am not saying the things I am being asked to defend with citations -- which is quite true if I keep my eye on precisely what the two are saying. But if I squint my eyes at it (the way I do with Buddhist texts) and let it all get just a little bit fuzzy and loose and try to hear if they are asking me a similar question but just not framing the question in a way that accurately reflects what I'm doing -- which means they end up confusing the issue by asking me to defend things I'm not saying -- then I can perhaps find a good point being made in there somewhere, and one that I can at least try to work towards answering (or describe why it's difficult to answer).

ancientbuddhism's question was too narrowly focused: I don't say "the field" was used elsewhere. On the other hand, Sylvester's question was given much too large a range -- of course there is huge diversity in the "entire" fabric of the discussions that went on pre-Buddha -- but nowhere am I arguing that the Buddha was talking about the entire fabric of what came before.

But perhaps the question is: Linda, if you are saying that the Buddha is addressing Vedic thought in some way in DA, and perhaps in other-than DA suttas, too -- and if he is specifically denying their view of rebirth -- and if you are saying that you have seen ways in which what is in the canon matches up to what is in Vedic works, please cite some of these instances, because Sylvester is not seeing how there could be any unifying-enough theme in the Vedic literature for the Buddha to argue against, and ancientbuddhism is sure the language the Buddha used would reflect the Vedic discussions, if that was the case.

To address what I see as Sylvester's point, then, I do see a common thread. It is not common to that "entire fabric" but just to the portion that many besides myself see as the works that must have been closest to the Buddha, in his past, specifically the parts of the Brahmanas and Upanisads in which Yajnavalkya plays a big part. I find the Buddha, and the people he encounters, talking about the same issues they are talking about there. Kings ask questions of their guests about rituals. Answers are given and Yajnavalkya always wins the point. There is discussion of karma, of sacrifice, and of the self and the world. Much of the discussion I find reflected in the Buddha's talks, and in DA.

To address ancientbuddhism's point about language, I find what the Buddha is saying matches up to (in particular Yajnavalkya's) portions of the Upanisads in language in the suttas. I first encountered this in MN 117's tainted right view, and batted around my earliest surprise with the way tradition reads the language versus the way I would read it -- even prior to having any useful knowledge of Vedism -- right here in this forum ( viewtopic.php?f=16&t=2599 ) four years ago. Since then, I've found much of the language about views represented in that sutta in language in the BrUpanisad. The first paper I presented to Professor Gombrich was on that subject, came back to me with requests for more explanations, and has since blossomed well-beyond the likelihood of it fitting into size requirements for "a paper" -- I think it is trying to become a book.

I can try to round up and toss in a few such citations here, but without the full argument I'm trying to make, I don't expect they'll actually be enough to convince any already set mind to see things a different way. But I'm willing, if it's what you're asking.

:namaste:

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clw_uk
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Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby clw_uk » Fri Aug 23, 2013 5:50 pm

lyndon taylor » Thu Aug 22, 2013 10:14 pm

I could say likewise is belief in Nibbana essential to practice Buddhism? No, but it sure helps,


Nibbana is essential because without it Buddhism loses a lot of meaning. However Nibbana not being true is highly unlikely IMO, it is also more easily demonstrated than rebirth

Buddhism doesnt lose a lot of meaning though if rebirth is true or not

just like believing in rebirth helps a lot of people practice Buddhism,


Of course it doesnt, however it doesnt mean that rebirth needs to be true for Dhamma practice

But if it helps you, then use it :)

there's probably little doubt that you are being honest when you say it doesn't matter TO YOU whether you believe in rebirth or not, but to think your own belief is so important that it applies to everyone else, that no one can have a stronger practice because they believe in rebirth, is just going way, way to far.....


That you perception of what I am doing, which is incorrect


If rebirth belief can help someone become a better person, then great. Also if it help motivate people, at the start anyway, to practice Buddhism then this is also wholesome

However I do raise an eyebrow when people start saying things like "To be a Buddhist you must believe in rebirth. If you dont believe in rebirth you dont understand Kamma, D.O. or the four noble truths. If you dont believe in rebirth your a materialist"

These I dont agree with


Well speaking for myself, my belief in rebirth is ESSENTIAL to my buddhist practice


If that works for you

maybe I'm the only one, but without a belief in rebirth I doubt I'd be a buddhist and or sober today.


I can see how it would help you, and no one here is trying to take that from you. However can you not see the strength in being sober and practising Dhamma even if there was no rebirth.

What I am saying is that the foundation of the practice is stronger when its not entirely based on faith on an unknown theory of what happens after death, which is open to crisis's of faith an potentially falling away from Dhamma practice


The point is The Buddha taught rebirth, why would you want to devote so much time and effort on a Buddhist forum to tell people that what the Buddha taught(rebirth) is not important, one way or the other, to believe. If it wasn't important, why did the Buddha bother to teach it???


All I can give are opinions on why he taught it, even if he did. As I said before, to me it doesn't matter if he did or not.

What possible benefit can you have online convincing people that what the Buddha taught, rebirth, is not important to believe, Better just to make a simple statement, like "I don't understand the Buddha's teaching of rebirth" and leave it at that.



To show that Dhamma practice does not have to depend on speculations about an afterlife

"I don't understand the Buddha's teaching of rebirth"


Thats doesnt apply to me, I understand very well what it entails ... I used to believe it


" clw_uk » Mon Jan 12, 2009 7:29 pm

I think rebirth is expounded quite well in the 4 Noble Truths.

In the first truth the buddha says:
Birth is suffering, aging is suffering, sickness is suffering, death is suffering, sorrow and lamentation, pain, grief and despair are suffering; association with the loathed is suffering, dissociation from the loved is suffering, not to get what one wants is suffering — in short, suffering is the five categories of clinging objects."


The Second Truth states the the origin of dukka is craving

Therefore if birth is dukka then its origin is craving

If Craving Condtions birth then there must have been an existence before where there was craving and that same craving will lead to more dukkha in the future, i.e birth."



I just dont see it as essential, and so dont have any need of it anymore


How about we talk about what is the relevence of rebirth at your death, which I assume is inevitable??


What would you like to discuss?
“The Great Way is not difficult for those who have no preferences. When love and hate are both absent, everything becomes clear and undisguised." Verses on the Faith Mind, Sengcan


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