the great rebirth debate

An open and inclusive investigation into Buddhism and spiritual cultivation
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Aloka
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Re: Rebirth? Really?

Postby Aloka » Mon Jun 23, 2014 8:17 am

callmetheseeker wrote:I've been a Buddhist for nearly 6 years and the idea of rebirth seemed perfectly normal to me, even before coming into contact with Buddhism. Lately I've become confused, though. Probably because I don't meditate so much, or at all. I feel that death seems like falling into nothingness. Even if there is rebirth, we can't experience like in the movie Groundhog Day. Why can't we be like: 'Okay, I screwed up my last life, I shouldn't have done this, I should've done that. This life I'll try to do better'?? Wouldn't it be easier? I mean, of course it wouldn't be necessary for us to remember everything from the last life, just a continuation of consciouness would be nice. 'I've died now, wonder how my new life is gonna be....' Then after a bit of early infancy thin memory, it could be... 'Oh, cool. Now I'm French and have two siblings. My parents seem nice.' Does anyone follow me? Why can't it be like Groundhog Day? Things would be kind of awesome. Or maybe not? If that was the case, we could become messed up from so much memories, so much lives... I don't know, I just don't want to fall into the nothing.



Hello and welcome, cmts,

I haven't seen 'Groundhog Day' and so it seems as though you are just speculating about someone else's movie theme instead of paying attention to what's going on in the present.

Nobody knows exactly what happens at death so "falling into the nothing" is how you're imagining it to be. In my humble opinion it would be better to just try to live your life here and now according to the Buddha's teachings for lay practitioners and whatever happens after death will take care of itself.

With kind regards,

Aloka

walkart
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Re: Rebirth? Really?

Postby walkart » Mon Jun 23, 2014 8:24 am

lyndon taylor wrote:actually reincarnation and rebirth are simply two different translations of the same pali word, the reason therevada translators use rebirth is to distinguish it from the hindu concept of reincarnation, which they oppose.

As i understand, rebirth mean that there is death and rebirth of à whole being, and reincarnation mean that something like soul still alife after death and is reincarnated without changing. So to me rebirth is a better word. But it's very subjective.

SarathW
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Re: Rebirth? Really?

Postby SarathW » Mon Jun 23, 2014 8:47 am

Hi Seeker
Good question.
What if, you become an animal in your next birth.
Please read the attached on rebirth, to get a basic knowledge about rebirth.

http://www.urbandharma.org/udharma14/budcourse.html

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mikenz66
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Re: Rebirth? Really?

Postby mikenz66 » Mon Jun 23, 2014 8:50 am

There does seem to be a convention among some Theravada writers to use "rebirth" and "reincarnation" to mean two different things. However, a brief consultation of any English dictionary will show that the rest of the planet considers them to be synonyms...

Better to explain clearly what Buddhists mean by "rebirth" than to try to change the English language, if you ask me... :reading:

:anjali:
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Re: Rebirth? Really?

Postby Spiny Norman » Mon Jun 23, 2014 8:54 am

mikenz66 wrote:There does seem to be a convention among some Theravada writers to use "rebirth" and "reincarnation" to mean two different things. However, a brief consultation of any English dictionary will show that the rest of the planet considers them to be synonyms...


I think it's a useful convention, though I agree it's important to explain the difference.
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Re: Rebirth? Really?

Postby TheNoBSBuddhist » Mon Jun 23, 2014 9:49 am

callmetheseeker, I am currently working my way through this text, which is extremely interesting.
Give it a go; Some time ago I would have said it was too wordy for me to attempt, bu I'm more comfortable with the 'level' of instruction now.

I hope you can read it and gain something from it...
:namaste:

You will not be punished FOR your 'emotions'; you will be punished BY your 'emotions'.



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Pay attention, simplify, and (Meditation instruction in a nutshell) "Mind - the Gap."
‘Absit invidia verbo’ - may ill-will be absent from the word. And mindful of that, if I don't respond, this may be why....

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Re: Rebirth? Really?

Postby Digity » Tue Jun 24, 2014 4:09 am

Rebirth isn't meant to be "nice" or "awesome". It's fueled by greed, ill will and aversion. These are not good things and craving keeps us trapped in this cycle of samsara. The ultimate goal is to be released from this cycle. Rebirth is something to be looked down upon. It's rooted in defilements. Instead of coming up with cool version of rebirth you should focus your attention on what the Buddha said was needed to escape it all together.

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Does rebirth make life less meaningful?

Postby Dr. Dukkha » Sat Jul 12, 2014 3:41 am

If I believed that this was my only life, I'd be a monk Right Now, and I'm 20. It would be my only goal to reach Nibbana and live a peaceful, fruitful life with no suffering. Or I would truly live life on the edge and enjoy. I would be making some serious money right now and dating tons of girls if I didn't believe in rebirth. But because I know that my consciousness will be reborn forever, I'm slacking off with my desire to learn Buddhism because I know I can postpone Nibbana for another time. Do you think that rebirth gives less value to life if I'm just going to get more and more chances?

On that note, if anyone can reach Nibbana, why wouldn't I just be a criminal and then later be a monk and reach Nibbana like that serial killer who the Buddha helped reach Nibbana. :rolleye:

I'm not questioning to offend, I'm questioning to learn, just to clarify. :heart:

:namaste:
"There are only two mistakes one can make along the road to truth; not going all the way, and not starting."

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Re: Does rebirth make life less meaningful?

Postby culaavuso » Sat Jul 12, 2014 4:01 am

Dr. Dukkha wrote:If I believed that this was my only life, I'd be a monk Right Now, and I'm 20. It would be my only goal to reach Nibbana and live a peaceful, fruitful life with no suffering. Or I would truly live life on the edge and enjoy. I would be making some serious money right now and dating tons of girls if I didn't believe in rebirth.


MN 60: Apaṇṇaka Sutta wrote:Now, householders, of those contemplatives & brahmans who hold this doctrine, hold this view — 'There is nothing given, nothing offered, nothing sacrificed. There is no fruit or result of good or bad actions. There is no this world, no next world, no mother, no father, no spontaneously reborn beings; no brahmans or contemplatives who, faring rightly and practicing rightly, proclaim this world and the next after having directly known and realized it for themselves' — it can be expected that, shunning these three skillful activities — good bodily conduct, good verbal conduct, good mental conduct — they will adopt & practice these three unskillful activities: bad bodily conduct, bad verbal conduct, bad mental conduct. Why is that? Because those venerable contemplatives & brahmans do not see, in unskillful activities, the drawbacks, the degradation, and the defilement; nor in skillful activities the rewards of renunciation, resembling cleansing.
...
With regard to this, an observant person considers thus: 'If there is no next world, then — with the breakup of the body, after death — this venerable person has made himself safe. But if there is the next world, then this venerable person — on the breakup of the body, after death — will reappear in a plane of deprivation, a bad destination, a lower realm, hell. Even if we didn't speak of the next world, and there weren't the true statement of those venerable contemplatives & brahmans, this venerable person is still criticized in the here-&-now by the observant as a person of bad habits & wrong view: one who holds to a doctrine of non-existence.' If there really is a next world, then this venerable person has made a bad throw twice: in that he is criticized by the observant here-&-now, and in that — with the breakup of the body, after death — he will reappear in a plane of deprivation, a bad destination, a lower realm, hell. Thus this safe-bet teaching, when poorly grasped & poorly adopted by him, covers (only) one side, and leaves behind the possibility of the skillful.
...
Now, householders, of those contemplatives & brahmans who hold this doctrine, hold this view — 'There is what is given, what is offered, what is sacrificed. There are fruits & results of good & bad actions. There is this world & the next world. There is mother & father. There are spontaneously reborn beings; there are brahmans & contemplatives who, faring rightly & practicing rightly, proclaim this world & the next after having directly known & realized it for themselves' — it can be expected that, shunning these three unskillful activities — bad bodily conduct, bad verbal conduct, bad mental conduct — they will adopt & practice these three skillful activities: good bodily conduct, good verbal conduct, good mental conduct. Why is that? Because those venerable contemplatives & brahmans see in unskillful activities the drawbacks, the degradation, and the defilement; and in skillful activities the rewards of renunciation, resembling cleansing.
...
With regard to this, an observant person considers thus: 'If there is the next world, then this venerable person — on the breakup of the body, after death — will reappear in a good destination, a heavenly world. Even if we didn't speak of the next world, and there weren't the true statement of those venerable contemplatives & brahmans, this venerable person is still praised in the here-&-now by the observant as a person of good habits & right view: one who holds to a doctrine of existence.' If there really is a next world, then this venerable person has made a good throw twice, in that he is praised by the observant here-&-now; and in that — with the breakup of the body, after death — he will reappear in a good destination, a heavenly world. Thus this safe-bet teaching, when well grasped & adopted by him, covers both sides, and leaves behind the possibility of the unskillful.


Dr. Dukkha wrote:But because I know that my consciousness will be reborn forever, I'm slacking off with my desire to learn Buddhism because I know I can postpone Nibbana for another time.


MN 38: Mahātaṇhā­saṅkhaya Sutta wrote:"The Teacher calls you, friend Sāti."

"As you say, friend," the monk Sāti the Fisherman's Son replied. Then he went to the Blessed One and, on arrival, having bowed down to him, sat to one side. As he was sitting there, the Blessed One said to him, "Is it true, Sāti, that this pernicious view has arisen in you — 'As I understand the Dhamma taught by the Blessed One, it is just this consciousness that runs and wanders on, not another'?"

"Exactly so, lord. As I understand the Dhamma taught by the Blessed One, it is just this consciousness that runs and wanders on, not another."

"Which consciousness, Sāti, is that?"

"This speaker, this knower, lord, that is sensitive here & there to the ripening of good & evil actions."

"And to whom, worthless man, do you understand me to have taught the Dhamma like that? Haven't I, in many ways, said of dependently co-arisen consciousness, 'Apart from a requisite condition, there is no coming-into-play of consciousness'? But you, through your own poor grasp, not only slander us but also dig yourself up [by the root] and produce much demerit for yourself. That will lead to your long-term harm & suffering."


AN 6.20: Maraṇasati Sutta wrote:There is the case where a monk, as day departs and night returns, reflects: 'Many are the [possible] causes of my death. A snake might bite me, a scorpion might sting me, a centipede might bite me. That would be how my death would come about. That would be an obstruction for me. Stumbling, I might fall; my food, digested, might trouble me; my bile might be provoked, my phlegm... piercing wind forces [in the body] might be provoked. That would be how my death would come about. That would be an obstruction for me.' Then the monk should investigate: 'Are there any evil, unskillful mental qualities unabandoned by me that would be an obstruction for me were I to die in the night?' If, on reflecting, he realizes that there are evil, unskillful mental qualities unabandoned by him that would be an obstruction for him were he to die in the night, then he should put forth extra desire, effort, diligence, endeavor, undivided mindfulness, & alertness for the abandoning of those very same evil, unskillful qualities. Just as when a person whose turban or head was on fire would put forth extra desire, effort, diligence, endeavor, undivided mindfulness, & alertness to put out the fire on his turban or head, in the same way the monk should put forth extra desire, effort, diligence, endeavor, undivided mindfulness, & alertness for the abandoning of those very same evil, unskillful qualities. But if, on reflecting, he realizes that there are no evil, unskillful mental qualities unabandoned by him that would be an obstruction for him were he to die in the night, then for that very reason he should dwell in joy & rapture, training himself day & night in skillful qualities.


Dr. Dukkha wrote:Do you think that rebirth gives less value to life if I'm just going to get more and more chances?


SN 15.3: Assu Sutta wrote:"This is the greater: the tears you have shed while transmigrating & wandering this long, long time — crying & weeping from being joined with what is displeasing, being separated from what is pleasing — not the water in the four great oceans.

"Long have you (repeatedly) experienced the death of a mother. The tears you have shed over the death of a mother while transmigrating & wandering this long, long time — crying & weeping from being joined with what is displeasing, being separated from what is pleasing — are greater than the water in the four great oceans.

"Long have you (repeatedly) experienced the death of a father... the death of a brother... the death of a sister... the death of a son... the death of a daughter... loss with regard to relatives... loss with regard to wealth... loss with regard to disease. The tears you have shed over loss with regard to disease while transmigrating & wandering this long, long time — crying & weeping from being joined with what is displeasing, being separated from what is pleasing — are greater than the water in the four great oceans.

"Why is that? From an inconstruable beginning comes transmigration. A beginning point is not evident, though beings hindered by ignorance and fettered by craving are transmigrating & wandering on. Long have you thus experienced stress, experienced pain, experienced loss, swelling the cemeteries — enough to become disenchanted with all fabricated things, enough to become dispassionate, enough to be released."


AN 6.63: Nibbedhika Sutta wrote:There are some cases in which a person overcome with pain, his mind exhausted, grieves, mourns, laments, beats his breast, & becomes bewildered. Or one overcome with pain, his mind exhausted, comes to search outside, 'Who knows a way or two to stop this pain?' I tell you, monks, that stress results either in bewilderment or in search. This is called the result of stress.


SN 56.48: Chiggala Sutta wrote:"Monks, suppose that this great earth were totally covered with water, and a man were to toss a yoke with a single hole there. A wind from the east would push it west, a wind from the west would push it east. A wind from the north would push it south, a wind from the south would push it north. And suppose a blind sea-turtle were there. It would come to the surface once every one hundred years. Now what do you think: would that blind sea-turtle, coming to the surface once every one hundred years, stick his neck into the yoke with a single hole?"

"It would be a sheer coincidence, lord, that the blind sea-turtle, coming to the surface once every one hundred years, would stick his neck into the yoke with a single hole."

"It's likewise a sheer coincidence that one obtains the human state. It's likewise a sheer coincidence that a Tathagata, worthy & rightly self-awakened, arises in the world. It's likewise a sheer coincidence that a doctrine & discipline expounded by a Tathagata appears in the world. Now, this human state has been obtained. A Tathagata, worthy & rightly self-awakened, has arisen in the world. A doctrine & discipline expounded by a Tathagata appears in the world.

"Therefore your duty is the contemplation, 'This is stress... This is the origination of stress... This is the cessation of stress.' Your duty is the contemplation, 'This is the path of practice leading to the cessation of stress.'"


Dr. Dukkha wrote:On that note, if anyone can reach Nibbana, why wouldn't I just be a criminal and then later be a monk and reach Nibbana like that serial killer who the Buddha helped reach Nibbana.


MN 75: Māgandiya Sutta wrote:Now suppose that there was a leper covered with sores & infections, devoured by worms, picking the scabs off the openings of his wounds with his nails, cauterizing his body over a pit of glowing embers. The more he cauterized his body over the pit of glowing embers, the more disgusting, foul-smelling, & putrid the openings of his wounds would become, and yet he would feel a modicum of enjoyment & satisfaction because of the itchiness of his wounds. In the same way, beings not free from passion for sensual pleasures — devoured by sensual craving, burning with sensual fever — indulge in sensual pleasures. The more they indulge in sensual pleasures, the more their sensual craving increases and the more they burn with sensual fever, and yet they feel a modicum of enjoyment & satisfaction dependent on the five strings of sensuality.

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Re: Does rebirth make life less meaningful?

Postby Zadok » Sat Jul 12, 2014 8:17 pm

Dr. Dukkha wrote:If I believed that this was my only life, I'd be a monk Right Now, and I'm 20. It would be my only goal to reach Nibbana and live a peaceful, fruitful life with no suffering. Or I would truly live life on the edge and enjoy. I would be making some serious money right now and dating tons of girls if I didn't believe in rebirth. But because I know that my consciousness will be reborn forever, I'm slacking off with my desire to learn Buddhism because I know I can postpone Nibbana for another time. Do you think that rebirth gives less value to life if I'm just going to get more and more chances?

On that note, if anyone can reach Nibbana, why wouldn't I just be a criminal and then later be a monk and reach Nibbana like that serial killer who the Buddha helped reach Nibbana. :rolleye:

I'm not questioning to offend, I'm questioning to learn, just to clarify. :heart:

:namaste:


Truly it is up to your own discretion whether you wish to follow the path in this life or another. The Buddhas teachings are for those who seek to end suffering, if you personally are ok with continued suffering then you are completely free to make that decision. Inevitably you will reach enlightenment and become a Buddha, even if it's 1 trillion lifetimes from now. Buddha was merely offering an escape for those who do not wish to experience heaven, hell, and the realm of desire any further.

The great mistake I perceive in others is that they come to understand that there truly is no self and all of these experiences are merely illusions but they still grasp suffering itself as real, which is false. If all of manifestation is an illusion, a vast emptiness, then unmistakably all perceptions, including suffering, are illusions as well.

My understanding has come to this conclusion:

All beings are manifestations of mental constructs, mere ideas taking form. All external perceptions are mere projections from the mind that manifested the ideas. All of creation is mere idea experiencing idea, mind experiencing mind. Therefore you do not exist but are merely a construct of ideas that the mind is mistakenly yet not mistakenly grasping as it's "self". Thus the Way/the Path is the process of de-programming or deleting the construct of ideas that continually reincarnate within samsara and therefore freeing the ultimate awareness behind that very mind that created the idea, which is Nibbana, or also known as the True Nature, God, the Source, Emptiness.

None of us exist, we would like to believe we do but we don't. There is no "I" other than the creator which manifested creation.

Blessings to you dear friend and may happiness guide you forward.

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Re: Does rebirth make life less meaningful?

Postby TheNoBSBuddhist » Sat Jul 12, 2014 8:22 pm

Zadok wrote:None of us exist, we would like to believe we do but we don't. There is no "I" other than the creator which manifested creation.


Adhering to Self is incorrect.
But adhereing to Not-Self is also incorrect.

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/auth ... rategy.pdf
:namaste:

You will not be punished FOR your 'emotions'; you will be punished BY your 'emotions'.



Image

Pay attention, simplify, and (Meditation instruction in a nutshell) "Mind - the Gap."
‘Absit invidia verbo’ - may ill-will be absent from the word. And mindful of that, if I don't respond, this may be why....

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Re: Does rebirth make life less meaningful?

Postby Zadok » Sat Jul 12, 2014 8:25 pm

TheNoBSBuddhist wrote:
Zadok wrote:None of us exist, we would like to believe we do but we don't. There is no "I" other than the creator which manifested creation.


Adhering to Self is incorrect.
But adhereing to Not-Self is also incorrect.


Because neither truly have an existence beyond the mind that constructed them. If the mind is not there to perceive a self, then does that self exist?

TheNoBSBuddhist, your understanding is worthy of praise. Namaste dear brother.

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Re: Does rebirth make life less meaningful?

Postby Alex123 » Sat Jul 12, 2014 8:42 pm

TheNoBSBuddhist wrote:Adhering to Self is incorrect.
But adhereing to Not-Self is also incorrect.


It is attachment is the problem. Eventually one should let go of clinging to all and any views, no matter how "right" they are.
"Life is a struggle. Life will throw curveballs at you, it will humble you, it will attempt to break you down. And just when you think things are starting to look up, life will smack you back down with ruthless indifference..."

Zadok
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Re: Does rebirth make life less meaningful?

Postby Zadok » Sat Jul 12, 2014 9:23 pm

Alex123 wrote:
TheNoBSBuddhist wrote:Adhering to Self is incorrect.
But adhereing to Not-Self is also incorrect.


It is attachment is the problem. Eventually one should let go of clinging to all and any views, no matter how "right" they are.


There resides the issue we all inevitably face. If we perceive there is a right view then we are still clinging to a view. Consequently by us even communicating at this moment we are clinging to the view of separateness and necessity to communicate our understandings. Inevitably when one comes to understand the true nature of existence one is left with the choice whether to cling knowingly or to renounce this entire existence. We still remain shackled to these gross bodies none the less so either choice we make, as long as it's mindful, is the correct and incorrect choice.

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Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby Ron-The-Elder » Sun Jul 13, 2014 10:44 am

Dr. Dukkha wrote:
If I believed that this was my only life, I'd be a monk Right Now, and I'm 20. It would be my only goal to reach Nibbana and live a peaceful, fruitful life with no suffering. Or I would truly live life on the edge and enjoy.


:thinking: Just to build upon what others have already written:

Buddha explained that human form, a type of sentient being, which is capable of discovering, penetrating, understanding, and practicing The Dhamma as he taught it is extremely rare. He likened the odds to that of a blind sea turtle swimming into the sea, diving to the bottom and rising in the middle of the ocean, and, upon surfacing, finding his head and neck in the center of a single collar yoke. Pretty thin odds.


Buddha also pointed out that there are many, many, (.....) many worse opportunities for rebirth.

So, (short version) the idea was to search, discover, learn and practice while we can, as if we were on fire, earnestly looking for a way to end our stay in this sea of dukkha, samsara, a place of searing pain and suffering, while still in this rare form that we currently occupy. Life is short. Time is running out. (tick tock). It may be many eons before we get another shot at it. :reading:

Following is an excerpt for your examination:

2. THE DANGERS PERTAINING TO FUTURE LIVES
A. Objective aspect. Our liability to harm and danger does not end with death. From the perspective of the Buddha's teaching the event of death is the prelude to a new birth and thus the potential passageway to still further suffering. The Buddha teaches that all living beings bound by ignorance and craving are subject to rebirth. So long as the basic drive to go on existing stands intact, the individualized current of existence continues on after death, inheriting the impressions and dispositions accumulated in the previous life. There is no soul to transmigrate from one life to the next, but there is an ongoing stream of consciousness which springs up following death in a new form appropriate to its own dominant tendencies.

Rebirth, according to Buddhism, can take place in any of six realms of becoming. The lowest of the six is the hells, regions of severe pain and torment where evil actions receive their due expiation. Then comes the animal kingdom where suffering prevails and brute force is the ruling power. Next is the realm of "hungry ghosts" (petavisaya), shadowy beings afflicted with strong desires they can never satisfy. Above them is the human world, with its familiar balance of happiness and suffering, virtue and evil. Then comes the world of the demi-gods (asuras), titanic beings obsessed by jealousy and ambition. And at the top stands the heavenly worlds inhabited by the devas or gods.

The first three realms of rebirth — the hells, the animal kingdom, and the realm of ghosts — together with the asuras, are called the "evil destinations" (duggati) or "plane of misery" (apayabhumi). They receive these names because of the preponderance of suffering found in them. The human world and the heavenly worlds are called, in contrast, the "happy destinations" (sugati) since they contain a preponderance of happiness. Rebirth in the evil destinations is considered especially unfortunate not only because of the intrinsic suffering they involve, but for another reason as well. Rebirth there is calamitous because escape from the evil destinations is extremely difficult. A fortunate rebirth depends on the performance of meritorious actions, but the beings in the evil destinations find little opportunity to acquire merit; thence the suffering in these realms tends to perpetuate itself in a circle very difficult to break. The Buddha says that if a yoke with a single hole was floating at random on the sea, and a blind turtle living in the sea were to surface once every hundred years — the likelihood of the turtle pushing his neck through the hole in the yoke would be greater than that of a being in the evil destinations regaining human status. For these two reasons — because of their inherent misery and because of the difficulty of escaping from them — rebirth in the evil destinations is a grave danger pertaining to the future life, from which we need protection.


source: http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/auth ... el282.html
Last edited by Ron-The-Elder on Sun Jul 13, 2014 10:54 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Does rebirth make life less meaningful?

Postby Spiny Norman » Sun Jul 13, 2014 10:47 am

Alex123 wrote:It is attachment is the problem. Eventually one should let go of clinging to all and any views, no matter how "right" they are.


Yes, even materialist views. :tongue:
"I ride tandem with the random, Things don't run the way I planned them, In the humdrum."
Peter Gabriel lyric

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Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby TheNoBSBuddhist » Sun Jul 13, 2014 11:01 am

Letting go of opinion, is the crux of the matter.

In my opinion.

Seriously.

Hardest thing anyone could ever be asked, or expected to do.

I mean, exactly HOW do you let go of everything you truly believe in?

Exactly?
:namaste:

You will not be punished FOR your 'emotions'; you will be punished BY your 'emotions'.



Image

Pay attention, simplify, and (Meditation instruction in a nutshell) "Mind - the Gap."
‘Absit invidia verbo’ - may ill-will be absent from the word. And mindful of that, if I don't respond, this may be why....

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Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby Dr. Dukkha » Mon Jul 14, 2014 2:28 am

Ron-The-Elder wrote:
Dr. Dukkha wrote:
If I believed that this was my only life, I'd be a monk Right Now, and I'm 20. It would be my only goal to reach Nibbana and live a peaceful, fruitful life with no suffering. Or I would truly live life on the edge and enjoy.


:thinking: Just to build upon what others have already written:

Buddha explained that human form, a type of sentient being, which is capable of discovering, penetrating, understanding, and practicing The Dhamma as he taught it is extremely rare. He likened the odds to that of a blind sea turtle swimming into the sea, diving to the bottom and rising in the middle of the ocean, and, upon surfacing, finding his head and neck in the center of a single collar yoke. Pretty thin odds.


Buddha also pointed out that there are many, many, (.....) many worse opportunities for rebirth.

So, (short version) the idea was to search, discover, learn and practice while we can, as if we were on fire, earnestly looking for a way to end our stay in this sea of dukkha, samsara, a place of searing pain and suffering, while still in this rare form that we currently occupy. Life is short. Time is running out. (tick tock). It may be many eons before we get another shot at it. :reading:

Following is an excerpt for your examination:

2. THE DANGERS PERTAINING TO FUTURE LIVES
A. Objective aspect. Our liability to harm and danger does not end with death. From the perspective of the Buddha's teaching the event of death is the prelude to a new birth and thus the potential passageway to still further suffering. The Buddha teaches that all living beings bound by ignorance and craving are subject to rebirth. So long as the basic drive to go on existing stands intact, the individualized current of existence continues on after death, inheriting the impressions and dispositions accumulated in the previous life. There is no soul to transmigrate from one life to Rebirth, according to Buddhism, can take place in any of six realms of becoming. The lowest of the six is the hells, regions of severe pain and torment where evil actions receive their due expiation. Then comes the animal kingdom where suffering prevails and brute force is the ruling power. Next is the realm of "hungry ghosts" (petavisaya), shadowy beings afflicted with strong desires they can never satisfy. Above them is the human world, with its familiar balance of happiness and suffering, virtue and evil. Then comes the world of the demi-gods (asuras), titanic beings obsessed by jealousy and ambition. And at the top stands the heavenly worlds inhabited by the devas or gods.

The first three realms of rebirth — the hells, the animal kingdom, and the realm of ghosts — together with the asuras, are called the "evil destinations" (duggati) or "plane of misery" (apayabhumi). They receive these names because of the preponderance of suffering found in them. The human world and the heavenly worlds are called, in contrast, the "happy destinations" (sugati) since they contain a preponderance of happiness. Rebirth in the evil destinations is considered especially unfortunate not only because of the intrinsic suffering they involve, but for another reason as well. Rebirth there is calamitous because escape from the evil destinations is extremely difficult. A fortunate rebirth depends on the performance of meritorious actions, but the beings in the evil destinations find little opportunity to acquire merit; thence the suffering in these realms tends to perpetuate itself in a circle very difficult to break. The Buddha says that if a yoke with a single hole was floating at random on the sea, and a blind turtle living in the sea were to surface once every hundred years — the likelihood of the turtle pushing his neck through the hole in the yoke would be greater than that of a being in the evil destinations regaining human status. For these two reasons — because of their inherent misery and because of the difficulty of escaping from them — rebirth in the evil destinations is a grave danger pertaining to the future life, from which we need protection.


source: http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/auth ... el282.html


Are all the realms of conciousness in this Universe? Are they all describing the status of a human or animal or microscopic life? Because Hell could he a thirsty ant in Africa. Or does it mean an actual place where you suffer torment? If the latter, what is it like?

(Sorry I didn't pull out the part of your post that was specific to my question. I don't have Internet at my house so I use my phone.)
"There are only two mistakes one can make along the road to truth; not going all the way, and not starting."

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Spiny Norman
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Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby Spiny Norman » Mon Jul 14, 2014 8:34 am

TheNoBSBuddhist wrote:I mean, exactly HOW do you let go of everything you truly believe in?


I think a good starting point is seeing clearly that opinions are just opinions, views are just views and beliefs are just beliefs. We don't have to take them quite so seriously, and they can be lightly held.
"I ride tandem with the random, Things don't run the way I planned them, In the humdrum."
Peter Gabriel lyric

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Ron-The-Elder
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Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby Ron-The-Elder » Mon Jul 14, 2014 1:04 pm

Dr. Dukkha: "Are all the realms of conciousness in this Universe? Are they all describing the status of a human or animal or microscopic life? Because Hell could he a thirsty ant in Africa. Or does it mean an actual place where you suffer torment? If the latter, what is it like?"


According to Buddha's teachings there are 31 Planes of Existence which are Samsaric, and then there is Nibbana.

Thirty One Planes of Existence -- http://www.accesstoinsight.org/ptf/dham ... /loka.html

Nibbana --- http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html

Dr. Dukkha: "(Sorry I didn't pull out the part of your post that was specific to my question. I don't have Internet at my house so I use my phone.)"


No problem. I can't even read those phone screens as the text is too small for me. :tongue:
What Makes an Elder? :
A head of gray hairs doesn't mean one's an elder. Advanced in years, one's called an old fool.
But one in whom there is truth, restraint, rectitude, gentleness,self-control, he's called an elder, his impurities disgorged, enlightened.
-Dhammpada, 19, translated by Thanissaro Bhikkhu.


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