the great rebirth debate

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Re: Rebirth

Postby robertk » Tue Jul 29, 2014 7:26 am

Your goldfish simile sums it up. Do you think the ignorance of a goldfish is desirable.
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Re: Rebirth

Postby Mkoll » Tue Jul 29, 2014 8:39 am

SN 12.46 wrote:Dwelling at Savatthi... Then a certain brahman went to the Blessed One and, on arrival, exchanged courteous greetings with him. After an exchange of friendly greetings & courtesies, he sat to one side. As he was sitting there he said to the Blessed One: "What now, Master Gotama: Is the one who acts the same one who experiences [the results of the act]?"

[The Buddha:] "[To say,] 'The one who acts is the same one who experiences,' is one extreme."

[The brahman:] "Then, Master Gotama, is the one who acts someone other than the one who experiences?"

[The Buddha:] "[To say,] 'The one who acts is someone other than the one who experiences,' is the second extreme. Avoiding both of these extremes, the Tathagata teaches the Dhamma by means of the middle: From ignorance as a requisite condition come fabrications. From fabrications as a requisite condition comes consciousness. From consciousness as a requisite condition comes name-&-form. From name-&-form as a requisite condition come the six sense media. From the six sense media as a requisite condition comes contact. From contact as a requisite condition comes feeling. From feeling as a requisite condition comes craving. From craving as a requisite condition comes clinging/sustenance. From clinging/sustenance as a requisite condition comes becoming. From becoming as a requisite condition comes birth. From birth as a requisite condition, then aging & death, sorrow, lamentation, pain, distress, & despair come into play. Such is the origination of this entire mass of stress & suffering.

"Now from the remainderless fading & cessation of that very ignorance comes the cessation of fabrications. From the cessation of fabrications comes the cessation of consciousness. From the cessation of consciousness comes the cessation of name-&-form. From the cessation of name-&-form comes the cessation of the six sense media. From the cessation of the six sense media comes the cessation of contact. From the cessation of contact comes the cessation of feeling. From the cessation of feeling comes the cessation of craving. From the cessation of craving comes the cessation of clinging/sustenance. From the cessation of clinging/sustenance comes the cessation of becoming. From the cessation of becoming comes the cessation of birth. From the cessation of birth, then aging & death, sorrow, lamentation, pain, distress, & despair all cease. Such is the cessation of this entire mass of stress & suffering."

When this was said, the brahman said to the Blessed One: "Magnificent, Master Gotama! Magnificent! Just as if he were to place upright what was overturned, to reveal what was hidden, to point out the way to one who was lost, or to carry a lamp into the dark so that those with eyes could see forms, in the same way has Master Gotama — through many lines of reasoning — made the Dhamma clear. I go to Master Gotama for refuge, to the Dhamma, & to the community of monks. May Master Gotama remember me as a lay follower who has gone for refuge from this day forward, for life."
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Re: Rebirth

Postby Sokehi » Tue Jul 29, 2014 9:29 am

Nehemia83 wrote:If I do not have the feeling of being caught in cyclic existence where is the point of trying to get out of it.


This is something that I always wondered about as well. It is a very good question. I have decided to believe in rebirth, not that I really have direct knowing or remembering that could be a basis for that belief, but I found out if I believe in the concept of rebirth that makes my life in the here and now much better and much more wholesome for me and others. Appamado amattapadam. Being more careful about my actions of body, speech and mind. This effect in itself is good enough for me.

But yes this is a very good question and something that most likely will stay with me for this entire lifetime :anjali:
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Re: Rebirth

Postby seeker242 » Tue Jul 29, 2014 11:04 am

Because even if I practice dharma in this life I won´t be aware of it in my next one right?


Depends on what you mean by "aware of it". If you mean aware of the actions that you made in a past life, that caused present circumstances, perhaps not. However, you don't need to be aware of what previous action you made in order to experience the fruits of those actions. You will experience the fruit of those actions regardless. So if you practice dharma well right now, it will have beneficial consequences no matter what. It does not matter if you are aware of the link between the action and the consequences or not, you will still experience the consequences either way. Given this, you could say that you will most certainly be "aware of it" in a future life since you will certainly be aware of the fruits of suffering you experience in a future life, when you are in that future life.
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Re: Rebirth

Postby Ananda Thera » Wed Jul 30, 2014 12:45 am

I can totally understand what you are saying. But in order to realize suffering and engender the will to jump out of this suffering, you don't have to know your past lives. Just look at your present sufferings and the reality of birth, death, and rebirth. The Buddha become disgusted with life when he saw the sufferings in this life, not that he saw his endless sufferings he suffered in endless previous lives. Reflection on the three marks of existence may help you. Also, I think that vipassana meditation is a god idea. It is said that the three marks of existence is connected. Only during meditation can you experience it yourself. For example, when you are aware of the tiny changes of your mind and body every moment, like the thoughts and emotions that you think as your self at that moment, rising and ceasing on their own, and the tiny itches on your body that comes and goes... You realize that things are impermanent. Also at the same time, you know that what is impermanent like the thoughts and emotions and the subtle changes in your body that you assert as yourself at that very moment, is not your self. Also, you can know that what is impermanent and not self is also suffering. This may help.

As for rebirths, there is no beginning to the rounds of rebirth. It is not possible to find a beginning point in which your stream of consciousness was activated or created from nothingness. If this was true, it would not make sense because if say all consciousnesses were created at the same time, with no kamma inheritance from a past life and no predispositions left from a past life, we would all start off the same in personality and mental conditions, and logically, we would all do the same actions and so on. We would be in the same realm right now and have the same Kamma, same life, etc.

So since there is no beginning, we can just imagine that we have been in every realm, suffered and enjoyed all the things that we just imagined in this life. Everyone has once killed you before, and everyone has once nurtured you before. It is hard to point out anyone from the street who has not been your mother or friend before. You have been a slave before, a prisoner before, a king before, a deva before, a hell being before, ... Because there is no beginning, there are endless possibilities all of which that you can think of right now has happened to you before in a remote past life. Enough to keep you disenchanted with samsara!!!

Another thing that I want to add is that the sutta on tears explains rebirth that has no beginning, and that the tears you shed from sufferings throughout previous lives gathered together exceeds that of the great oceans.
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Re: Rebirth

Postby SarathW » Wed Jul 30, 2014 1:06 am

To support Ven Ananda's post please read.

The Deva Messengers

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html
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Re: Rebirth

Postby Lostegasa » Wed Jul 30, 2014 9:32 pm

I remember being fed up like for eons since very young.
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Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby clw_uk » Sun Aug 03, 2014 7:19 pm

In response to another thread

spinny-Norman




I still don't see much support in the suttas for the idea of moment-to-moment rebirth. For example the way the nidanas are defined in SN12.2 certainly doesn't support the idea. Also I don't see how the Abhidharmic concept of mind moments is particularly relevant.





"And what is kamma that is dark with dark result? There is the case where a certain person fabricates an injurious bodily fabrication, fabricates an injurious verbal fabrication, fabricates an injurious mental fabrication. Having fabricated an injurious bodily fabrication, having fabricated an injurious verbal fabrication, having fabricated an injurious mental fabrication, he rearises in an injurious world. On rearising in an injurious world, he is there touched by injurious contacts. Touched by injurious contacts, he experiences feelings that are exclusively painful, like those of the beings in hell. This is called kamma that is dark with dark result."


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

In this instance The Buddha is obviously referring to a moment-to-moment view of kamma and d.o since he refers to a being, I.e. another sense of "Me", arising and experiencing the world in a negative way, as if like (but not actually being) a person in hell post mortem
Last edited by clw_uk on Sun Aug 03, 2014 7:57 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby Alex123 » Sun Aug 03, 2014 7:27 pm

clw_uk wrote: he rearises in an injurious world. On rearising in an injurious world, he is there touched by injurious contacts. Touched by injurious contacts, he experiences feelings that are exclusively painful, like those of the beings in hell. This is called kamma that is dark with dark result."


What about "on rearising" part? It appears that this suggests death and rebirth in hell where one experiences feelings like those of the beings in hell.

Also, "like those of the beings in hell" doesn't say that beings in hell don't exist.


There are simply too many suttas that say "after break up of the body, after death..." . Unless these are somehow added suttas, I don't see how 1 or 2 vague sutta statements can compete.

BTW, I don't reject the idea of moment-by-moment rebirth . Why can't two notions be true (moment by moment and life to life) ?
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Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby Alex123 » Sun Aug 03, 2014 7:28 pm

clw_uk wrote:However it is more beneficial to have a view of having free will :)


Who has will?
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Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby clw_uk » Sun Aug 03, 2014 7:32 pm

Alex123 wrote:
clw_uk wrote:However it is more beneficial to have a view of having free will :)


Who has will?




I guess ultimately no one has, as such


When not fully in the present moment, we think "we" have it
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Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby Alex123 » Sun Aug 03, 2014 7:35 pm

clw_uk wrote:I guess ultimately no one has, as such

When not fully in the present moment, we think "we" have it



SO there really isn't free will because there is no agent who can choose this or that. And even if there was an Agent, still the external and internal conditioning would not make his will , "free".
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Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby clw_uk » Sun Aug 03, 2014 7:41 pm

Alex123 wrote:
clw_uk wrote:I guess ultimately no one has, as such

When not fully in the present moment, we think "we" have it



SO there really isn't free will because there is no agent who can choose this or that. And even if there was an Agent, still the external and internal conditioning would not make his will , "free".



Its a difficult issue, on the one hand you could argue for no free will based on reason and whats apparent. However then you are left with moral nihilism and non-effort, so on a practical level its more beneficial to have a view of free will. This I think was The Buddhas point, which is summed up quite well by Christopher Hitchens "Of course we have free will, we have no choice but to have it".


Once awakened I should think the metaphysical mind maze will lose all meaning, a long with sense of self etc

However in the spirit of trying to stay on topic, perhaps we should discuss this elsewhere?
Last edited by clw_uk on Sun Aug 03, 2014 7:56 pm, edited 3 times in total.
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Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby clw_uk » Sun Aug 03, 2014 7:44 pm

What about "on rearising" part? It appears that this suggests death and rebirth in hell where one experiences feelings like those of the beings in hell.


Yes it does :smile:


Also, "like those of the beings in hell" doesn't say that beings in hell don't exist.


I agree ;)

There are simply too many suttas that say "after break up of the body, after death..." . Unless these are somehow added suttas, I don't see how 1 or 2 vague sutta statements can compete.


I don't disagree :) :reading: :spy:

BTW, I don't reject the idea of moment-by-moment rebirth . Why can't two notions be true (moment by moment and life to life) ?


They can be :group:
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Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby Alex123 » Sun Aug 03, 2014 8:09 pm

clw_uk wrote:Its a difficult issue, on the one hand you could argue for no free will based on reason and whats apparent. However then you are left with moral nihilism and non-effort,


There is effort, but it is not due to will being free. There is cause and effect where bad actions lead to bad results, and good actions lead to good results.


clw_uk wrote: so on a practical level its more beneficial to have a view of free will.


Could be, if it motivates one to practice hard, purify the mind, etc.

But on the other hand, belief in free will might feed belief in a self, and that is an obstruction to the dhamma.

clw_uk wrote:However in the spirit of trying to stay on topic, perhaps we should discuss this elsewhere?


Where can we discuss this, then?
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Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby Mkoll » Sun Aug 03, 2014 8:14 pm

Alex123 wrote:Where can we discuss this, then?

Free will and Buddhism.
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Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby clw_uk » Sun Aug 03, 2014 8:18 pm

I also forgot this sutta


"... The uninstructed worldling ... regards form as self. That regarding Bhikkhus, is a formation. That formation - what is its source, what is its origin, from what is it born and produced? When the uninstructed worldling is contacted by a feeling born of ignorance-contact, craving arises: thence that formation is born.

This, Bhikkhus, that formation is anicca, conditioned, dependently arisen;

that craving is anicca, conditioned, dependently arisen;

that feeling ..., that contact ..., that ignorance is anicca, conditioned, dependently arisen." SN, page 922 Bhikkhu Bodhi's translation.


So what do we have here

A sense of "I am" arises whenever there is a coming together of contact, ignorance and feeling. This then gives rise to craving, which leads to a sense of "me". As the Buddha said this sense of "me" is "born and produced through craving", which is something we do every moment. This one form of birth in D.O. which the suttas discuss.

When we arent awake, then we are deluded into following our likes and dislikes and grasping things as "mine", and so there is continuous birth of self which identifies with that which is subject to decay, which causes dukkha


D.O. operating in the present moment :smile:
Last edited by clw_uk on Sun Aug 03, 2014 8:24 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby clw_uk » Sun Aug 03, 2014 8:21 pm

There is effort, but it is not due to will being free. There is cause and effect where bad actions lead to bad results, and good actions lead to good results.



Effort implies a will ;)


Could be, if it motivates one to practice hard, purify the mind, etc.

But on the other hand, belief in free will might feed belief in a self, and that is an obstruction to the dhamma.



A lot of teaching in Buddhism starts off with thinking about the "self"

For example, do good and you will be reborn in heaven etc. That doesnt mean they don't have initial use value.


Where can we discuss this, then?


Well if you really want to discuss it, perhaps start another thread?
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Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby Spiny Norman » Mon Aug 04, 2014 3:54 pm

Craig, I've copied this exchange over from another thread so as to keep this discussion in one place, and not clutter up the other thread.


clw_uk wrote:
Spiny Norman wrote:Sorry but I don't see how the Loka Sutta supports the idea of moment-to-moment rebirth.


Because our "world" of "me" is created when there is ignorant based contact, because it generates a sense of self and other :smile:

"I will teach you the origination of the world & the ending of the world. Listen & pay close attention. I will speak."

"As you say, lord," the monks responded to the Blessed One.

The Blessed One said: "And what is the origination of the world? Dependent on the eye & forms there arises eye-consciousness. The meeting of the three is contact. From contact as a requisite condition comes feeling. From feeling as a requisite condition comes craving. From craving as a requisite condition comes clinging/sustenance. From clinging/sustenance as a requisite condition comes becoming. From becoming as a requisite condition comes birth. From birth as a requisite condition, then aging & death, sorrow, lamentation, pain, distress, & despair come into play. This is the origination of the world.



I'm struggling here with your concept of "ignorant based contact". According to the suttas, including this one, contact is just the functional meeting of sense organ, sense object and sense-consciousness - so I don't see how you get ignorance into this equation.

Following your logic then all the nidanas would be ignorant-based, but it's difficult to see how this could apply to all of them. Ignorant feeling? Ignorant birth? Ignorant death? And so on.
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Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby clw_uk » Mon Aug 04, 2014 4:00 pm

But according to DO feeling arises in dependence on contact, and craving arises in dependence on feeling - I'm struggling to understand how you've got from this standard formulation to saying that contact, ignorance and feeling "come together".


because when we are ignorant, we chase after pleasant feeling or advert from painful feelings (this is the function of ignorance, greed and hatred) which leads us to crave things and then cling to them (because we dont see their three marks).

There are suttas that state that when there is ignorance based contact, the following links come to be.

Also, what's the sutta reference for the Buddha saying that "this sense of me is born and produced through craving"? It doesn't sound familiar.



SN, page 922 Bhikkhu Bodhi's translation.


Its a concept that is repeated a lot in the SN
Last edited by clw_uk on Mon Aug 04, 2014 4:24 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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