the great rebirth debate

An open and inclusive investigation into Buddhism and spiritual cultivation

Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby visitin » Sat Feb 08, 2014 9:54 pm

kitztack wrote:smell of sandalwood and smell of rotting corpe are so powerful for me i can recall them as clear as on old friends voice or face

i can recall the taste of old chillum smoke in my mouth at will also..


No you can't, howsoever strong the smell is, if the source of the smell is not in your proximity, you cannot recall its smell. Similarly with the taste.

However you can recall any image, speech and dream that you have came across in the past, in absence of them.
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Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby EndlessStream » Sat Feb 08, 2014 10:37 pm

visitin wrote:Memory of any kind, depends on three senses viz. eyes, ears and mind. There can be the memory of only, what is seen through eyes, heard through ears and imagined through mind.

Are you sure dreams are imaginings of the mind? Or could they be memories of past lives that arise due to the mind being still in deep sleep?

Possibly your mind is too busy thinking (with papanca) to recall past lives.

Ajahn Brahm tells us if our mind can enter the quiet stillness of jhana, we may recall past lives. Ajahn Brahm is Sangha. Buddha taught to have faith in Sangha.

There are some skilful meditators who can remember their past lives, and also those who can recall past lives through other means. Those who recall the passage from their previous life into their present existence are remarkably consistent in their recollection of being drawn irresistibly into their future mother’s womb.

When Does Human Life Begin in This Body? By Ajahn Brahm
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Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby visitin » Sat Feb 08, 2014 10:50 pm

EndlessStream wrote:
visitin wrote:Memory of any kind, depends on three senses viz. eyes, ears and mind. There can be the memory of only, what is seen through eyes, heard through ears and imagined through mind.

Are you sure dreams are imaginings of the mind? Or could they be memories of past lives that arise due to the mind being still in deep sleep?


you can't have the same face, same name and same relatives in your past life, can you?
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Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby EndlessStream » Sat Feb 08, 2014 11:03 pm

visitin wrote:you can't have the same face, same name and same relatives in your past life, can you?

You make it sound like you only dream about your relatives & things you experience during the waking day. Most people's dreams are about things that have little or no basis/reality in their everyday life & waking experience. Your point, above, is moot. You need to do better than that.
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Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby chownah » Sun Feb 09, 2014 3:11 am

visitin wrote:
However you can recall any image, speech and dream that you have came across in the past, in absence of them.

No you can't. You can not remember every letter of every word that you have read or the shape of every grain of rice that you have observed while eating etc. You can't even remember this stuff for a few minutes much less across countless years.
chownah
P.S. What about Alzheimer's?
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Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby visitin » Sun Feb 09, 2014 4:42 am

chownah wrote:
visitin wrote:
However you can recall any image, speech and dream that you have came across in the past, in absence of them.

No you can't. You can not remember every letter of every word that you have read or the shape of every grain of rice that you have observed while eating etc. You can't even remember this stuff for a few minutes much less across countless years.
chownah
P.S. What about Alzheimer's?
chownah


Im talking about the things that you're able to call to your mind in their absence, like someone's face, any song or any dream, not every minor detail that you tends to forget.
Alzheimer's patient loses the ability to think and hence the ability to recall things.
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Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby chownah » Sun Feb 09, 2014 6:02 am

visitin wrote:
chownah wrote:
visitin wrote:
However you can recall any image, speech and dream that you have came across in the past, in absence of them.

No you can't. You can not remember every letter of every word that you have read or the shape of every grain of rice that you have observed while eating etc. You can't even remember this stuff for a few minutes much less across countless years.
chownah
P.S. What about Alzheimer's?
chownah


Im talking about the things that you're able to call to your mind in their absence, like someone's face, any song or any dream, not every minor detail that you tends to forget.
Alzheimer's patient loses the ability to think and hence the ability to recall things.

I'm glad you are clarifying your assertion. When you wrote "the things that you're able to call to your mind in their absence" seems to just be saying that you can remember the things that you can remember......this doesn't seem to be saying much. Let's consider remembering someone's face. If you looked at 100 faces at a gathering and later if I took pictures of everyone's noses do you think that you could identify everyone from just a picture of their nose?....could you do it two years later? I think you could not do it. Then I guess you would say that the nose is a minor detail....and they eye?,,,,and the ear?....and the pattern of freckles?......all these are minor details......but without these minor details it seems unlikely that a face could be accurately remembered.
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Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby visitin » Sun Feb 09, 2014 7:19 am

chownah wrote:but without these minor details it seems unlikely that a face could beaccurately remembered.


Exactly, its the collection of minor details (in contrast with each other) which is remembered, not the single minor detail that don't have any distinguishing feature to tell it apart from another similar minor detail eg. nose
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Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby chownah » Sun Feb 09, 2014 9:30 am

visitin wrote:
chownah wrote:but without these minor details it seems unlikely that a face could beaccurately remembered.


Exactly, its the collection of minor details (in contrast with each other) which is remembered, not the single minor detail that don't have any distinguishing feature to tell it apart from another similar minor detail eg. nose

I think that probably different people have different abilities to reconstruct a memory of a past event with some being able to do it with more accuracy than others but I think that it is always a reconstruction rather than a replay of some archival kind of material and thus subject to errors....the accuracy of the reconstruction is probably dependent on the persons mental abilities and the importance of the thing being reconstructed....

It just occurred to me that I am assuming that when you say "recall" or "call to mind" or "remember" you are meaning to sort of playback a scenario from some archive.......perhaps this is not what you mean....perhaps you mean to reconstruct the scenario from an array of details......don't know.

At any rate, I think it is difficult to know the accuracy of what people report when they say they remember and where that memory comes from.......if I say I can remember someone's face how do you know if I am actually remembering it correctly....it might only mean that I have confidence that if you showed me a picture of their face that I would recognize it. I think that quite often people say they remember a face when what they really mean is that they can recognize a face.
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Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby visitin » Sun Feb 09, 2014 11:25 am

chownah wrote:It just occurred to me that I am assuming that when you say "recall" or "call to mind" or "remember" you are meaning to sort of playback a scenario from some archive


That's exactly what I mean, you can even likened the process of "calling to mind" to the "playback of the image, audio and video files on a media player".

if I say I can remember someone's face how do you know if I am actually remembering it correctly....it might only mean that I have confidence that if youshowed me a picture of their face that I would recognize it. I think that quite often people say they remember a face when what they really mean is that they can recognize a face.


An artist, can draw any face he remembers.
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Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby chownah » Sun Feb 09, 2014 3:05 pm

visitin,
Awhile ago you wrote," you can recall any image, speech and dream that you have came across in the past, in absence of them."......I would think that this means that an artist can draw any face that he has seen but now you are saying an artist can draw any face he remembers. Shouldn't you be saying that an artist can draw any face that he has seen?
chownah
P.S. You might want to check out the Wikipedia topic memory and eidetic memory in particular....maybe not....
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Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby kitztack » Sun Feb 09, 2014 3:36 pm

visitin wrote:
kitztack wrote:smell of sandalwood and smell of rotting corpe are so powerful for me i can recall them as clear as on old friends voice or face

i can recall the taste of old chillum smoke in my mouth at will also..


No you can't, howsoever strong the smell is, if the source of the smell is not in your proximity, you cannot recall its smell. Similarly with the taste.

However you can recall any image, speech and dream that you have came across in the past, in absence of them.


no i cant.

i was present when my sister rode her bicycle for the first time. i dont remember the colour of the bike or what she wore and if the day was sunny.

my grandfather told me many stories when he was alive but i remember none.

all these things we talk about are in the past. every individuals memories are subjective. were you and I to watch a movie together, in a month we would have very different memories of it.

as regards to smell and taste im not going to bother argueing my point with you. you seem to be sure that i cannot remember smells and tastes. are you telling me you cannot recall what peppermint smells and tastes like?
Aflame with the fire of passion, the fire of aversion, the fire of delusion.
Aflame, with birth, aging & death, with sorrows, lamentations, pains, distresses, & despairs ......

Seeing thus, the disciple of the Noble One grows disenchanted. SN 35.28
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Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby chownah » Sun Feb 09, 2014 3:51 pm

As to the smell and taste of peppermint......when I think about it I'm not sure if i remember it or if I can just imagine it but I am really sure I can recognize it when I put it on my mouth.
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Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby visitin » Sun Feb 09, 2014 4:08 pm

chownah wrote:visitin,
Awhile ago you wrote," you can recall any image, speech and dream that you have came across in the past, in absence of them."....


any, as in "Have you got any money?" not
as in "Any will do".
Last edited by visitin on Sun Feb 09, 2014 4:40 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby kitztack » Sun Feb 09, 2014 4:09 pm

:jumping:
chownah wrote:As to the smell and taste of peppermint......when I think about it I'm not sure if i remember it or if I can just imagine it but I am really sure I can recognize it when I put it on my mouth.
chownah
Aflame with the fire of passion, the fire of aversion, the fire of delusion.
Aflame, with birth, aging & death, with sorrows, lamentations, pains, distresses, & despairs ......

Seeing thus, the disciple of the Noble One grows disenchanted. SN 35.28
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Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby culaavuso » Sun Feb 09, 2014 4:41 pm

chownah wrote:I think that quite often people say they remember a face when what they really mean is that they can recognize a face.


And even to this degree, people are often wrong about their ability to recognize a face. This overconfidence in memory leads to serious consequences for the justice system.

Eyewitness Identification
Innocence Project wrote:The most common element in all wrongful convictions later overturned by DNA evidence has been eyewitness misidentification.
...
Research has also demonstrated that when viewing several subjects at once, witnesses tend to choose the person who looks the most like – but may not actually be – the perpetrator.
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Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby visitin » Sun Feb 09, 2014 5:53 pm

chownah wrote:You might want to check out the Wikipedia topic memory and eidetic memory in particular....maybe not....chownah


wait a minute!!! eidetic memory? is it rare? I thought everyone has such memory.

So all this time I was explaining eidetic memory ,thinking everyone has it!!!

from wiki

Eidetic memory ( /aɪˈd ɛt ɪ k/ ), commonly
referred to as photographic memory or total
recall, is a disputed ability to recall images,
sounds or objects in memory with great
precision, and is not acquired through
mnemonics .


Well, anyway, this is the best that can be attained.
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Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby culaavuso » Sun Feb 09, 2014 6:00 pm

visitin wrote:wait a minute!!! eidetic memory? is it rare? I thought everyone has such memory.

So all this time I was explaining eidetic memory ,thinking everyone has it!!!


This is a great example of how using your own experiences as a basis of assumption of what is or is not possible for others leads to incorrect views. Understanding this can lead to a deeper understanding of the fallacy of hasty generalization. Through a deeper understanding of how this applies to the rest of the beliefs you hold it can then become more clear how assuming "only this is true, anything else is worthless" can go wrong when you don't have direct, personal knowledge of other people's experiences. Holding to such hasty generalizations puts severe limits on the capacity to understand correctly.
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Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby visitin » Sun Feb 09, 2014 6:39 pm

culaavuso wrote:
visitin wrote:wait a minute!!! eidetic memory? is it rare? I thought everyone has such memory.

So all this time I was explaining eidetic memory ,thinking everyone has it!!!


This is a great example of how using your own experiences as a basis of assumption of what is or is not possible for others leads to incorrect views. Understanding this can lead to a deeper understanding of the fallacy of hasty generalization. Through a deeper understanding of how this applies to the rest of the beliefs you hold it can then become more clear how assuming "only this is true, anything else is worthless" can go wrong when you don't have direct, personal knowledge of other people's experiences. Holding to such hasty generalizations puts severe limits on the capacity to understand correctly.


But my claim still holds water as there is no surpassing eidetic memory.

Also, as I said earlier, smell, taste and touch cannot be recalled.
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Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby nowheat » Mon Feb 10, 2014 8:07 pm

Aloka wrote:I was originally responding to your comment:
Nowheat wrote: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.

and so I posted a couple of verses from 'Khaggavisana Sutta: A Rhinoceros' because (in my opinion) I don't think the Buddha's aim was to "save all beings" to use the Mahayana phrase.

And where, in the quote that you are responding to, do you find me talking about "save all beings"? Please notice that I said "reduce suffering in the world for all beings" and "liberated or not". I was quite specifically not talking about "saving all beings".

Aloka wrote:
nowheat wrote:And yet, the Buddha points out that if one was constantly engaged in metta practice, one could not do things that would bring dukkha.

I've not read anything that says one can become an arahant just through metta practice.

Is one of the things that defines being an arahant, being liberated from dukkha? If so, how about this:

from AN 10.208 Translated by Thanissaro Bhikkhu wrote:"What do you think, monks: If that youth, from childhood, were to develop the awareness-release through good will, would he do any evil action?"

"No, lord."

"Not doing any evil action, would he touch suffering?"

"No, lord, for when one does no evil action, from where would he touch suffering?"
-- http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html


I agree that I have never found the Buddha saying outright that metta practice alone makes one an arahant. I actually can't recall him saying that any of the practices he recommends can, alone, make one into an arahant. But the above certainly indicates that once fully involved in metta, no deeds that result in dukkha would take place, and I don't see that as different from being an arahant, except in the wording. He puts it a different way, yes, but it comes out to the same thing. I would guess that if one was fully engaged in metta all the time it would be because all the other factors -- insight, right view, and non-delusion among them -- would be right there along with it, just like Rule #1 "Understand Dukkha" actually incorporates the other three points that follow it, because without them, there isn't a full understanding of dukkha.

However, I don't think there's much point in us playing extended "point ping pong" (as you put it) because this is a rebirth thread which continually keeps getting way off topic, so that's all from me for now.

I am not sure why you'd define what we're talking about as being outside a discussion of rebirth, Aloka, and therefore abandon the field of engagement so readily, but how the Buddha envisioned the working of karma is actually important to what I am trying to explain. It is in no way "off topic" that I can see. Case in point:

Bhikkhu Bodhi's notes on the snippet above (he has it as AN 10.219) indicate that he can't work out how the above makes sense within the context of his understanding of the dhamma. I submit that the reason he has this problem is because he is certain that the Buddha, when talking of karma, always intended the karmic system to include carrying the results of deeds from one life to the next, but that this piece, and others like it, show that this was not the Buddha's actual point. Rebirth is used in the Buddha's talks as a frame for his lessons, it isn't the lesson itself.

:namaste:
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