the great rebirth debate

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Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby Aloka » Sat Aug 16, 2014 2:42 pm

Ron-The-Elder wrote:
Since I was a very small child I can recall a longing for the wilderness and for the upper branches of the trees. I can remember as a child when climbing trees, which were plentiful around my home, that I experienced a feeling of being safe, comfortable, at peace, and contented. Of course feelings are not memories, and certainly not confirmation recall of past lives. I often wondered as humans are primates if there was such a thing as a genetic memory, which allowed us at least a rapport with our genetic progenitors.


That reminds me of an article I read on the BBC news website :

'Memories' pass between generations

Behaviour can be affected by events in previous generations which have been passed on through a form of genetic memory, animal studies suggest.

Experiments showed that a traumatic event could affect the DNA in sperm and alter the brains and behaviour of subsequent generations.

Continued: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-25156510


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Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby chownah » Sun Aug 17, 2014 4:17 am

Aloka,
Thanks for the interesting article. When people ask what gets reborn I sometimes answer that it might be dna and the associated genetic machinery.....this article seems to be indicating that this might be worth considering.
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Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby Lazy_eye » Sun Aug 17, 2014 2:21 pm

If trauma can be passed on via genetic memory, I wonder if the same might be true for loving kindness, compassion, sympathetic joy, equanimity. Perhaps cultivating these qualities can also influence the brains and behavior of subsequent generations?
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Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby Spiny Norman » Sun Aug 17, 2014 3:28 pm

chownah wrote:Aloka,
Thanks for the interesting article. When people ask what gets reborn I sometimes answer that it might be dna and the associated genetic machinery.....this article seems to be indicating that this might be worth considering.
chownah


See here for another perspective: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Collective_unconscious
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Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby martinfrank » Sun Aug 17, 2014 8:05 pm

culaavuso wrote:
Lazy_eye wrote:I wonder if these translation choices have the unintended effect of instilling an eternalistic view of kamma and rebirth among readers.


This also possibly points to the ways that language itself tends to condition views. It is difficult in English to form sentences without any articles or possessive pronouns, but such a construction seems to be usual in Pāḷi. For comparison, Ven. Bhikkhu Bodhi translates the same sentence as "Thus with their aspects and particulars I recollected my manifold past lives," while Ven. Sister Uppalavaṇṇā translated it as "Thus I recollect the manifold previous births".

The influence of these differences between English and Pāḷi with regard to linguistic relativity can be interesting.


Buddhism was prevalent in South-India from 4 BCE to 8 CE. People spoke Tamil. Since they were Buddhists, they felt slightly guilty when they said "I want", "I desire", "I like", "I have". Instead they said "[there is a] need", "it catches me", "it is with me" exchanging subject and object and putting the blame on the object. Not "I" am attached to an object. The object attaches to me. Even in today's Hindi such constructs from the Dravidian substratum like "caahie" (need) survive. If we translate from Indian languages we have to render impersonal constructions as impersonal constructions because these constructions were intentionally impersonal.

For educated speakers or listeners words evoked the words' ancestors back to the Vedas and other memorized texts. A modern translation of Pali texts which disregards this depth of meaning may give a rough idea of what Lord Buddha taught but not more. I was shocked to see dukkha translated as "stress".

When, bhikkhus, King Yama has questioned, interrogated, and cross-examined him about the third divine messenger, he falls silent. Then the wardens of hell torture him with the fivefold transfixing. They drive a red-hot iron stake through one hand and another red-hot iron stake through the other hand; they drive a red-hot iron stake through one foot and another red-hot iron stake through the other foot; they drive a red-hot iron stake through the middle of his chest. There he feels painful, racking, piercing feelings, yet he does not die so long as that bad kamma is not exhausted.

Stress?

Next the wardens of hell throw him down and pare him with axes. There he feels painful, racking, piercing feelings, yet he does not die so long as that bad kamma is not exhausted. Next the wardens of hell turn him upside down and pare him with adzes…. Next the wardens of hell harness him to a chariot and drive him back and forth across ground that is burning, blazing, and glowing…. Next the wardens of hell make him climb up and down a great mound of coals that are burning, blazing, and glowing…. Next the wardens of hell turn him upside down and plunge him into a red-hot copper cauldron that is burning, blazing, and glowing. He is cooked there in a swirl of foam. And as he is being cooked there in a swirl of foam, he is swept now up, now down, and now across. There he feels painful, racking, piercing feelings, yet he does not die so long as that bad kamma is not exhausted.

More stress?

Next the wardens of hell throw him into the great hell. Now, bhikkhus, as to that great hell:

“It has four corners and four doors
and is divided into separate compartments;
it is surrounded by iron ramparts
and shut in with an iron roof.

“Its floor as well is made of iron
and heated till it glows with fire.
The range is a full hundred yojanas
which it ever covers pervasively."

Would you call this "stress"?
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Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby Aloka » Sun Aug 17, 2014 8:41 pm

martinfrank wrote:Stress?



Can you give references for your quotes, please Martin ?


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Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby culaavuso » Sun Aug 17, 2014 8:44 pm

Aloka wrote:Can you give references for your quotes, please Martin ?


They all appear to be taken from MN 130: Devadūta Sutta.
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Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby Aloka » Sun Aug 17, 2014 8:48 pm

culaavuso wrote:
Aloka wrote:Can you give references for your quotes, please Martin ?


They all appear to be taken from MN 130: Devadūta Sutta.


Thank you, culaavuso :anjali:
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Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby Lazy_eye » Sun Aug 17, 2014 9:44 pm

Dukkha seems like a particularly difficult term to translate because of the broad spectrum of experiences it covers. It's true that "stress" isn't the appropriate term to describe hellish torments. But "suffering" can also seem inappropriate when used to describe less intense forms of dukkha, such as sadness over impermanence or simply the vague feeling that things are "off'". Not getting what one wants, for instance, is considered a form of dukkha, but to call it suffering might be overkill.

So "stress" and "suffering" might both be accurate terms depending on which flavor of dukkha one talking about, Hells ckearly represent the extreme end of the spectrum.
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Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby Mkoll » Sun Aug 17, 2014 10:30 pm

Lazy_eye wrote:Dukkha seems like a particularly difficult term to translate because of the broad spectrum of experiences it covers. It's true that "stress" isn't the appropriate term to describe hellish torments. But "suffering" can also seem inappropriate when used to describe less intense forms of dukkha, such as sadness over impermanence or simply the vague feeling that things are "off'". Not getting what one wants, for instance, is considered a form of dukkha, but to call it suffering might be overkill.

So "stress" and "suffering" might both be accurate terms depending on which flavor of dukkha one talking about, Hells ckearly represent the extreme end of the spectrum.

:goodpost:

Yes, that's why I think it's better to leave dukkha untranslated and just let people know there are different kinds of dukkha (see below). It's similar in English: one word can mean many different things depending upon the context. For example, there are different kinds of what we could describe as pain. There is the pain of stubbing your toe, the pain of losing a loved one, the pain being stressed out about work, etc. There are lots of other ways one could use the one word.

SN 38.14 wrote:On one occasion Ven. Sariputta was staying in Magadha in Nalaka Village. Then Jambukhadika the wanderer went to Ven. Sariputta and, on arrival, exchanged courteous greetings with him. After this exchange of friendly greetings & courtesies, he sat to one side. As he was sitting there he said to Ven. Sariputta: "'Stress, stress,' it is said, my friend Sariputta. Which type of stress [are they referring to]?"

"There are these three forms of stressfulness, my friend: the stressfulness of pain, the stressfulness of fabrication, the stressfulness of change. These are the three forms of stressfulness."

"But is there a path, is there a practice for the full comprehension of these forms of stressfulness?"

"Yes, there is a path, there is a practice for the full comprehension of these forms of stressfulness."

"Then what is the path, what is the practice for the full comprehension of these forms of stressfulness?"

"Precisely this Noble Eightfold Path, my friend — right view, right resolve, right speech, right action, right livelihood, right effort, right mindfulness, right concentration. This is the path, this is the practice for the full comprehension of these forms of stressfulness."

"It's an auspicious path, my friend, an auspicious practice for the full comprehension of these forms of stressfulness — enough for the sake of heedfulness."
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Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby Aloka » Sun Aug 17, 2014 10:35 pm

Lazy_eye wrote:Dukkha seems like a particularly difficult term to translate because of the broad spectrum of experiences it covers. It's true that "stress" isn't the appropriate term to describe hellish torments. But "suffering" can also seem inappropriate when used to describe less intense forms of dukkha, such as sadness over impermanence or simply the vague feeling that things are "off'". Not getting what one wants, for instance, is considered a form of dukkha, but to call it suffering might be overkill.

So "stress" and "suffering" might both be accurate terms depending on which flavor of dukkha one talking about, Hells ckearly represent the extreme end of the spectrum.


These are the meanings of dukkha written in the glossary at ATI: "Stress; suffering; pain; distress; discontent."

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/glossary.html#d

I've also seen it defined as: "unsatisfactoriness"

.
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Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby daverupa » Sun Aug 17, 2014 10:39 pm

Weltschmerz is a fairly good term for dukkha, or at least similarly-shaped.
    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting oneself one protects others? By the pursuit, development, and cultivation of the four establishments of mindfulness. It is in such a way that by protecting oneself one protects others.

    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting others one protects oneself? By patience, harmlessness, goodwill, and sympathy. It is in such a way that by protecting others one protects oneself.
- Sedaka Sutta [SN 47.19]
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Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby clw_uk » Mon Aug 18, 2014 12:31 am

Then what are you saying one should do? Given your analysis, what is your solution? If one took your analysis to heart, as I assume you do, what do you do differently?



Rest in awareness of not knowing


In other words, be aware and watch how thoughts about like, dislike or doubts about rebirth arise in the mind, and how "me" is created around the mind object (rebirth)


All is anicca (views change), all is dukkha (stressful if clung to "I believe/disbelieve in rebirth) and all is anatta (the idea of rebirth is nothing to do with you, it's a passing mental dhamma).


Observe, watch and let it cease ... :)



""A person who associates himself with certain views, considering them as best and making them supreme in the world, he says, because of that, that all other views are inferior; therefore he is not free from contention (with others). In what is seen, heard, cognized and in ritual observances performed, he sees a profit for himself. Just by laying hold of that view he regards every other view as worthless. Those skilled (in judgment)[1] say that (a view becomes) a bond if, relying on it, one regards everything else as inferior.


Therefore a bhikkhu should not depend on what is seen, heard or cognized, nor upon ritual observances. He should not present himself as equal to, nor imagine himself to be inferior, nor better than, another. Abandoning (the views) he had (previously) held and not taking up (another), he does not seek a support even in knowledge. Among those who dispute he is certainly not one to take sides.

He does not [have] recourse to a view at all. In whom there is no inclination to either extreme, for becoming or non-becoming, here or in another existence, for him there does not exist a fixed viewpoint on investigating the doctrines assumed (by others). Concerning the seen, the heard and the cognized he does not form the least notion. That brahmana[2] who does not grasp at a view, with what could he be identified in the world?

"They do not speculate nor pursue (any notion); doctrines are not accepted by them. A (true) brahmana is beyond, does not fall back on views."



http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .irel.html
“ Your mind is likewise blocked. But the right road awaits you still. Cast out your doubts, your fears and your desires, let go of grief and of hope as well, for where these rule , then the mind is their subject." Boetius
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Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby clw_uk » Mon Aug 18, 2014 12:40 am

"Concerning the seen, the heard and the cognized he does not form the least notion"

The idea of rebirth is a mental dhamma that is cognised, just like the idea of "God"


Concerning mental dhamma, a follower of Dhamma doesn't get involved. It's just observed as a mental event, like a painful pin prick is just observed :)


Nothing is made of it, it is what it is


"He does not form the least notion [of acceptance or of aversion]"


Rebirth is not accepted by him, nor rejected. This is the abandoning of "the flood of views" :)
“ Your mind is likewise blocked. But the right road awaits you still. Cast out your doubts, your fears and your desires, let go of grief and of hope as well, for where these rule , then the mind is their subject." Boetius
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Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby clw_uk » Mon Aug 18, 2014 12:51 am

""Whatever has been brought into being, is fabricated, willed, dependently originated, that is inconstant. Whatever is inconstant is stress. Whatever is stress is not me, is not what I am, is not my self. This is the sort of view I have."

"So, householder, whatever has been brought into being, is fabricated, willed, dependently originated, that is inconstant. Whatever is inconstant is stress. You thus adhere to that very stress, submit yourself to that very stress."

"Venerable sirs, whatever has been brought into being, is fabricated, willed, dependently originated, that is inconstant. Whatever is inconstant is stress. Whatever is stress is not me, is not what I am, is not my self. Having seen this well with right discernment as it actually is present, I also discern the higher escape from it as it actually is present."


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


The escape from the sticky web of metaphysical arguments :)
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Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby Mkoll » Mon Aug 18, 2014 12:57 am

clw_uk wrote:Rest in awareness of not knowing

The penultimate goal of Buddhism is wisdom, i.e. knowing (MN 24). Practicing "not knowing" doesn't lead to knowing.

clw_uk wrote:In other words, be aware and watch how thoughts about like, dislike or doubts about rebirth arise in the mind, and how "me" is created around the mind object (rebirth)

Thinking that '"me" is created around the mind object (rebirth)' is another view.

clw_uk wrote:All is anicca (views change), all is dukkha (stressful if clung to "I believe/disbelieve in rebirth) and all is anatta (the idea of rebirth is nothing to do with you, it's a passing mental dhamma).

The view that everything is anicca, dukkha, and anatta is another view. The view that everything is a "passing mental dhamma" is another view.

~~~

And where is the Noble Eightfold Path? Where's virtue? Where's right concentration?
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Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby clw_uk » Mon Aug 18, 2014 12:57 am

Mkoll wrote:
clw_uk wrote:Rest in awareness of not knowing

The penultimate goal of Buddhism is wisdom, i.e. knowing (MN 24). Practicing "not knowing" doesn't lead to knowing.

clw_uk wrote:In other words, be aware and watch how thoughts about like, dislike or doubts about rebirth arise in the mind, and how "me" is created around the mind object (rebirth)

Thinking that '"me" is created around the mind object (rebirth)' is another view.

clw_uk wrote:All is anicca (views change), all is dukkha (stressful if clung to "I believe/disbelieve in rebirth) and all is anatta (the idea of rebirth is nothing to do with you, it's a passing mental dhamma).

The view that everything is anicca, dukkha, and anatta is another view. The view that everything is a "passing mental dhamma" is another view.

~~~

And where is the Noble Eightfold Path? Where's virtue? Where's right concentration?



Where is your answer to the above sutta? :)
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Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby Mkoll » Mon Aug 18, 2014 12:58 am

clw_uk wrote:Where is your answer to the above sutta? :)

Which one?

And BTW, please answer my questions before I answer yours.
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Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby clw_uk » Mon Aug 18, 2014 12:59 am

The view that everything is anicca, dukkha, and anatta is another view. The view that everything is a "passing mental dhamma" is another view.



Unless you discern the escape, see the above sutta ;)
“ Your mind is likewise blocked. But the right road awaits you still. Cast out your doubts, your fears and your desires, let go of grief and of hope as well, for where these rule , then the mind is their subject." Boetius
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Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby clw_uk » Mon Aug 18, 2014 12:59 am

Mkoll wrote:
clw_uk wrote:Where is your answer to the above sutta? :)

Which one?

And BTW, please answer my questions before I answer yours.



Have a crack at both, you ignored the both of them :)
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