the great rebirth debate

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Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby clw_uk » Mon Jan 27, 2014 2:21 pm

Spiny Norman wrote:
clw_uk wrote: I don't know the Buddhas intent, by that I mean I do not know if he meant to use it as a skilfull means to help others aim at wholesome actions (which helps to then lead them to his own teachings) or if he taught it as being an empirical fact, that he either believed or knew about.


There is no way of knowing for sure, but I find it difficult to believe that the Buddha would have made stuff up in order to reach a wider audience.




Maybe it's true, I don't know

However the aim for me is nibbana, so if there is rebirth or not I would practice the same


Subjectively, If somehow I knew there was rebirth or not, I would still practice Dhamma

I think thats Buddhisms biggest strength, that it has real value regardless of metaphysics

I take Buddhism as a set of tools to help me be free from unnecessary pain, not as a set of doctrines to believe in as such
“Happy is the man who has broken the chains which hurt the mind, and has given up worrying once and for all.” Ovid
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Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby Pondera » Tue Jan 28, 2014 12:54 am

http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=tbruPR3o0Zc&desktop_uri=%2Fwatch%3Fv%3DtbruPR3o0Zc - this is a short animation of how the universe might expand and contract if space-time were doughnut shaped. If you add total determinism (or near total determinism) into the mix, you have a pretty good argument for your life repeating over and over again. Doesn't help much connecting one birth to another.

Is there evidence that space-time is donut shaped? Apparently "it's flat". But then, if our focal point is on .... I don't really understand how scientists measure space-time. I wish I did. I think the donut shaped universe is a comforting model and I'd like to argue for it (in some other place and time).
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Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby Alex123 » Tue Jan 28, 2014 12:59 am

Pondera wrote:your life repeating over and over again. Doesn't help much connecting one birth to another.



If
a) Your consciousness and sense of identity is entirely product of material causes (brain with certain pattern of brain activity).
b) There are infinite amount of Universes (as in cyclical or other models) .

Then after enough big bangs/big crunches either this situation will repeat again and you will be reborn, or some creature/person can be born with similar type of brain and brain activity so that there is birth of you again. This all hinges on physicalism and infinite amount of universes model.
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Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby AJungianIdeal » Tue Jan 28, 2014 2:45 am

My understanding of post-mortem rebirth is that it isn't rebirth of a person per se but more the rebirth of experiencing or awareness. Is that wrong?
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Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby SamKR » Tue Jan 28, 2014 3:20 am

AJungianIdeal wrote:My understanding of post-mortem rebirth is that it isn't rebirth of a person per se but more the rebirth of experiencing or awareness. Is that wrong?

I think it's not wrong. Rebirth (jati) is the formation of new aggregates of experiences, due to a renewed becoming (bhava), along with ignorance and self-identification, etc. The set of experiences before death (the present loka) "changes to" a new set of experiences (the future loka) - and these experiences, like present or past experiences, are ruled by sankhara. That is how I understand a rebirth.
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Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby Spiny Norman » Tue Jan 28, 2014 9:37 am

SamKR wrote:I think it's not wrong. Rebirth (jati) is the formation of new aggregates of experiences, due to a renewed becoming (bhava), along with ignorance and self-identification, etc. The set of experiences before death (the present loka) "changes to" a new set of experiences (the future loka) - and these experiences, like present or past experiences, are ruled by sankhara. That is how I understand a rebirth.


I think that's a good explanation. I usually think about rebirth as a dependent re-arising of consciousness, but it amounts to the same.
Well, oi dunno...
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Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby Pondera » Wed Jan 29, 2014 1:57 am

Pretty sure Tibetan Book of the Dead talks about the consciousness of the knower descending into the mind of the fetus at a very particular instance in the fetal development. The descent, I believe, is from heaven (or "limbo" I think is a better term).
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Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby Pondera » Wed Jan 29, 2014 1:58 am

Alex123 wrote:
Pondera wrote:your life repeating over and over again. Doesn't help much connecting one birth to another.



If
a) Your consciousness and sense of identity is entirely product of material causes (brain with certain pattern of brain activity).
b) There are infinite amount of Universes (as in cyclical or other models) .

Then after enough big bangs/big crunches either this situation will repeat again and you will be reborn, or some creature/person can be born with similar type of brain and brain activity so that there is birth of you again. This all hinges on physicalism and infinite amount of universes model.


Another viable theory. Still doesn't seem to explain linkages between births, however.
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Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby Alex123 » Wed Jan 29, 2014 2:22 am

Pondera wrote:
Alex123 wrote:
Pondera wrote:your life repeating over and over again. Doesn't help much connecting one birth to another.



If
a) Your consciousness and sense of identity is entirely product of material causes (brain with certain pattern of brain activity).
b) There are infinite amount of Universes (as in cyclical or other models) .

Then after enough big bangs/big crunches either this situation will repeat again and you will be reborn, or some creature/person can be born with similar type of brain and brain activity so that there is birth of you again. This all hinges on physicalism and infinite amount of universes model.


Another viable theory. Still doesn't seem to explain linkages between births, however.



There is no link. Just that later being has a brain function similar to the dead person.


We have no evidence of some sort of thing, call it "consciousness", "mind", "gandhabba", or "soul" passing from one body to another.
I was not; I was; I am not; I do not care."
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Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby Pondera » Wed Jan 29, 2014 2:40 am

We have the attainment "knowledge of the passing away and arising of beings according to their kamma". I don't personally have this, but it is included in the doctrine.
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Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby Alex123 » Wed Jan 29, 2014 3:19 am

Pondera wrote:We have the attainment "knowledge of the passing away and arising of beings according to their kamma". I don't personally have this, but it is included in the doctrine.



And Jesus had knowledge of "The Truth" . So what?
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Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby chownah » Wed Jan 29, 2014 4:52 am

Alex123 wrote:

We have no evidence of some sort of thing, call it "consciousness", "mind", "gandhabba", or "soul" passing from one body to another.

Indeed we have no such evidence......but there is ample evidence that DNA and it's associated mechanisms are passed from one body to another and that this transmission contains information which will to a great extent influence (or even determine for some things) the characteristics of the being that is born.....sounds a bit like kamma.....

I think that those who claim knowledge of their past lives do so because some information from what is assumed to be a past life has been transferred to this life......seems like this transfer of information is the essence of that knowledge. We have no evidence of how that information can be transferred to us from before our birth EXCEPT for DNA and it's associated mechanisms (and of course by word of mouth from those who were born before us eg. from our elders).......the striking instincts that many animals are born with is an obvious hint at a previous life and I'm wondering what connection there is between DNA and instincts.....are sheep dogs born with an inate tendency to herd sheep because they all share in a previous life experience or is it because of something in their genetics?
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Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby Pondera » Wed Jan 29, 2014 6:26 am

Alex123 wrote:
Pondera wrote:We have the attainment "knowledge of the passing away and arising of beings according to their kamma". I don't personally have this, but it is included in the doctrine.



And Jesus had knowledge of "The Truth" . So what?


Nothing. No point.
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Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby Alex123 » Wed Jan 29, 2014 12:45 pm

chownah wrote:We have no evidence of some sort of thing, call it "consciousness", "mind", "gandhabba", or "soul" passing from one body to another.

Indeed we have no such evidence......but there is ample evidence that DNA and it's associated mechanisms are passed from one body to another and that this transmission contains information which will to a great extent influence (or even determine for some things) the characteristics of the being that is born.....sounds a bit like kamma..... [/quote]

But this is rebirth of the species, not of a person or stream of consciousness.
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Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby Spiny Norman » Wed Jan 29, 2014 1:33 pm

Alex123 wrote:But this is rebirth of the species, not of a person or stream of consciousness.


Each set of genes is unique, but they derive from the parents' genes. So maybe it's the rebirth of a family line?
Well, oi dunno...
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Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby chownah » Wed Jan 29, 2014 2:53 pm

Alex123 wrote:
chownah wrote:We have no evidence of some sort of thing, call it "consciousness", "mind", "gandhabba", or "soul" passing from one body to another.

Indeed we have no such evidence......but there is ample evidence that DNA and it's associated mechanisms are passed from one body to another and that this transmission contains information which will to a great extent influence (or even determine for some things) the characteristics of the being that is born.....sounds a bit like kamma.....

Alex123 also wrote:
"But this is rebirth of the species, not of a person or stream of consciousness."

Not the rebirth of a person???? I could understand that it is not the rebirth of a self but I really do not understand the basis for your saying not a person......of course it depends on the DNA if you get a person or an elephant but a person is surely one of the possibilities.

Rebirth of a species??......maybe you are fabricating some kind of self to go along with this fabricated idea of species. Are you saying that when a child is born it is an entire species which is reborn? It boggles the mind! Des this idea mesh well with evolution?....I think it does not or it really is a stretch to figure out which individual is the last one of the old species and which is the parent of the first individual of a new species........really it boggles....I can see the birth announcements now,"Mr. and Mrs. Blah would like to announce the birth of a species...........weighing 3 kilo........"

As to stream of consciousness.......you are just shooting from the hip on this one....you have no idea whether consciousness is even part of DNA's mechanism......really you don't and no amount of unsupported assertion will establish your opinions as fact.

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Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby Mkoll » Wed Jan 29, 2014 4:19 pm

Biologists use different definition of species depending upon context. Each definition has its strengths and weaknesses. These are the definitions I've learned so far:

biological species concept: a species is a group of populations whose members have the potential to interbreed in nature and produce viable, fertile offspring - but do not produce viable, fertile offspring with members of other such groups

morphological species concept: characterizes a species by body shape and other structural features

ecological species concept: views a species in terms of its ecological niche, the sum of how members of the species interact with the nonliving and living parts of their environment

phylogenetic species concept: defines a species as the smallest group of individuals that share a common ancestor, forming one branch on the tree of life

~

Speciation, an evolutionary process in which one species splits into two or more species, can happen allopatrically or sympatrically. Allopatric speciation happens when gene flow is interrupted when a population is divided into geographically isolated subpopulations. Sympatric speciation occurs when speciation occurs in populations that live in the same geographic area because of various prezygotic and postzygotic reproductive barriers.

Evidence for (biological) speciation is provided by many studies of the past and studies of the present by direct observation.

~

Basically, speciation occurs via reproductive isolation.

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Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby lyndon taylor » Wed Jan 29, 2014 4:34 pm

There are plenty of examples of different species that can interbreed, for instance horse and zebra, many closely related bird species etc, which is not to say that this commonly occurs in nature without human help.
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 Mkoll » Wed Jan 29, 2014 5:28 pm

lyndon taylor wrote:There are plenty of examples of different species that can interbreed, for instance horse and zebra, many closely related bird species etc, which is not to say that this commonly occurs in nature without human help.

Sure, but their offspring will be sterile. Thus they don't meet the requirement of being a biological species, as emphasized below.

a species is a group of populations whose members have the potential to interbreed in nature and produce viable, fertile offspring
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Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby nowheat » Wed Jan 29, 2014 5:56 pm

Alex123 wrote:If there is only one life, then at death arahants and worldlings are all equal at 6 feet under. Not much point in trying to become a stream enterer or higher....
Death would be automatic parinibbana.

Have you ever thought about what a selfish attitude the above represents? Are you thinking that the point of the Buddha's teaching is just to teach each individual that their dukkha is all that matters?

It looks to me as though he is most often talking about how what we do affects others. Yes, he teaches that we should not do things that are morally wrong because doing so has a bad effect on our future, but you might want to notice that the things he's counseling us not to do -- kill, steal, or speak divisively, for example -- are all things that harm others. The Buddha's methods don't seem to me to be aimed at liberating individuals so much as at reducing suffering in the world for all beings, liberated or not.

As someone who neither disbelieves in rebirth nor believes in it, I find there is a great deal of "point" in practicing this path right here, right now. I find it makes the quality of the one life I am certain of -- the one I am living now -- much, much better, in large part because I can see that it makes the effect I have on others a much, much happier one. If it also leads me to a great rebirth, that's just gravy.
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