the great rebirth debate

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notself
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Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby notself » Fri May 07, 2010 10:10 pm

With respect,

If one should not think about what is reborn because it leads to confusion, then why think about anything from any of the suttas? Are we to sink into blind faith? I believe in rebirth. I believe in kamma. I believe in anatta. I believe in anicca. I believe in everything and understand nothing. Heck I might as well be a Christian. :rolleye: :anjali:
Though one may conquer a thousand times a thousand men in battle, yet he is indeed the noblest victor who conquers himself. ---Dhp 103

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Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby acinteyyo » Fri May 07, 2010 10:25 pm

notself wrote:With respect,

If one should not think about what is reborn because it leads to confusion, then why think about anything from any of the suttas? Are we to sink into blind faith? I believe in rebirth. I believe in kamma. I believe in anatta. I believe in anicca. I believe in everything and understand nothing. Heck I might as well be a Christian. :rolleye: :anjali:

Don't get me wrong. I don't say you shouldn't think about the right things, I gave you an advice to not think about the wrong things. Think about birth, death and kamma, these are right things, but don't think about "what is reborn" because "what" does not apply. You act on the assumption of something which will be reborn, but there's no thing which will be reborn, but there is further birth.
If you keep on thinking in terms of "self" you will become more confused. If you ask about a "self" you won't find it, and that's the reason for your confusion. Think about birth, but don't think about someone to be born.

best wishes, acinteyyo
Pubbe cāhaṃ bhikkhave, etarahi ca dukkhañceva paññāpemi, dukkhassa ca nirodhaṃ. (M.22)
Api cāhaṃ, āvuso, imasmiṃyeva byāmamatte kaḷevare, sasaññimhi samanake lokañca paññāpemi lokasamudayañca lokanirodhañca lokanirodhagāminiñca paṭipadan. (AN4.45)

:anjali:

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Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby retrofuturist » Fri May 07, 2010 10:27 pm

Excellent explanation acinteyyo!

:twothumbsup:

As accurate as can be, without becoming bewildering...

Metta,
Retro. :)
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Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby notself » Fri May 07, 2010 11:38 pm

acinteyyo wrote:
notself wrote:With respect,

If one should not think about what is reborn because it leads to confusion, then why think about anything from any of the suttas? Are we to sink into blind faith? I believe in rebirth. I believe in kamma. I believe in anatta. I believe in anicca. I believe in everything and understand nothing. Heck I might as well be a Christian. :rolleye: :anjali:

Don't get me wrong. I don't say you shouldn't think about the right things, I gave you an advice to not think about the wrong things. Think about birth, death and kamma, these are right things, but don't think about "what is reborn" because "what" does not apply. You act on the assumption of something which will be reborn, but there's no thing which will be reborn, but there is further birth.
If you keep on thinking in terms of "self" you will become more confused. If you ask about a "self" you won't find it, and that's the reason for your confusion. Think about birth, but don't think about someone to be born.

best wishes, acinteyyo


Absolutely. What I have been trying to do is to get people to respond and you have. Thank you. The reason it is important to think about what is reborn, if anything, is that people cling to the idea that they will be reborn. Of course this goes against the very idea of anatta.

If you read this entire thread you will find many who cling to self identity when it comes to rebirth. What is the cure for this clinging? It is to examine what is reborn. That is my point.

The thread "Anyone can go to hell, so be heedful" begins with a indication that "I" "We" "They" are reborn. You may want to check it out. The concept that "I" need to be careful because "I" may be reborn in the hell realms perpetuates the clinging to self.
What is reborn does need to be thought about in relation to all the other teachings. As I said in that thread, to discuss rebirth without discussing what is reborn is a futile exercise.

Now, you may disagree, but that is why we are on this forum.

Thoughts?
Though one may conquer a thousand times a thousand men in battle, yet he is indeed the noblest victor who conquers himself. ---Dhp 103

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Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby Reductor » Sat May 08, 2010 1:38 am

notself wrote:What is reborn does need to be thought about in relation to all the other teachings. As I said in that thread, to discuss rebirth without discussing what is reborn is a futile exercise.

Now, you may disagree, but that is why we are on this forum.

Thoughts?


How do you mean futile?

The basic problem with identity view is that it assumes there is manner by which kamma finds the right place and time to ripen, as if that right place and time were definite things in the world, and that this right time and place just so happens to be filled by the proper recipient. So person A dies, person B is born, supposedly because A was reborn as B. So, how did all that kamma of A find the right time and place to be born as B, and how does the old kamma of A continue to find B over and over again during B's life?

The assumption is that kamma is flowing to some particular spot, like a river over dry land flows to the ocean. It is not correct, as kamma that gives rise to B is not a stream which is localized and flowing, but is actually the overall conditions of samsara necessary for B to born at all. The relationship between A's kamma and B's existence is not a linear one, but rather a case of A's action contributing to the conditions of samsara which allow B to be born.

The exact mechanisms that link the last moments of A's life to the first of B's is somewhat unclear. But because the round of 'birth and death' is something that can be terminated, that necessitates that A's last moments are responsible for consciousness arising in B - but it doesn't necessitate that a substance 'consciousness' leaves from one and enters into the other. The link between the two may simply be a single moment where the last being is aware of the next long enough for consciousness to be established in the next's nama-rupa, and for the vital processes of that being to start, after which the being is self sustaining (no pun intended).

... By removing the assumption of self it also removes another vexing problem, and that is the notion that the last mind state of a being determines the kind of birth. If a self is assumed, this is easy enough to understand, as that self could be seen as migrating to the proper birth. But in absence of a self, or soul/essence, the question becomes 'how did all those conditions of B's birth happen to ripen just as A died, seemingly predicting the last mind state of A?' If we see sankhara as the general conditions of samsara as opposed to a local stream flowing in a set direction, the answer is easier to fathom: the conditions exist for any number of beings, all of which are supported by the conditionality of samsara, all that is needed is that last spark where the dying A kicks B's consciousness into gear, and the being that A is momentarily linked to is determined by the kind of phenomenon/mind-state that he is clinging to.

Of course, trying to unravel where a being is going to be 'reborn', and the conditions working toward that birth and how they relate back to the birth which is ending, is indeed maddening.

Was this little post futile, interesting, or completely crazy? :rolleye: let me know.
Michael

The thoughts I've expressed in the above post are carefully considered and offered in good faith.

And friendliness towards the world is happiness for him who is forbearing with living beings. -- Ud. 2:1
To his own ruin the fool gains knowledge, for it cleaves his head and destroys his innate goodness. -- Dhp 72


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Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby Modus.Ponens » Sat May 08, 2010 1:47 am

notself wrote:
acinteyyo wrote:Don't get me wrong. I don't say you shouldn't think about the right things, I gave you an advice to not think about the wrong things. Think about birth, death and kamma, these are right things, but don't think about "what is reborn" because "what" does not apply. You act on the assumption of something which will be reborn, but there's no thing which will be reborn, but there is further birth.
If you keep on thinking in terms of "self" you will become more confused. If you ask about a "self" you won't find it, and that's the reason for your confusion. Think about birth, but don't think about someone to be born.

best wishes, acinteyyo


Absolutely. What I have been trying to do is to get people to respond and you have. Thank you. The reason it is important to think about what is reborn, if anything, is that people cling to the idea that they will be reborn. Of course this goes against the very idea of anatta.

If you read this entire thread you will find many who cling to self identity when it comes to rebirth. What is the cure for this clinging? It is to examine what is reborn. That is my point.

The thread "Anyone can go to hell, so be heedful" begins with a indication that "I" "We" "They" are reborn. You may want to check it out. The concept that "I" need to be careful because "I" may be reborn in the hell realms perpetuates the clinging to self.
What is reborn does need to be thought about in relation to all the other teachings. As I said in that thread, to discuss rebirth without discussing what is reborn is a futile exercise.

Now, you may disagree, but that is why we are on this forum.

Thoughts?


Without wanting to change the discussion into the existence of an intermediate period between births, I have to mention it.

In the process of dying and reborning, that is what it is, a process without any self to be encountered. But that doesn't mean it's nothing there to be seen. Just as I am a living interdependent process, the person who dies, passes through the intermediate state and is reborn is a process too, but we cannot say that there's nothing there. There is something, it's just not a self.
And the Blessed One addressed the bhikkhus, saying: "Behold now, bhikkhus, I exhort you: All compounded things are subject to vanish. Strive with earnestness!"

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Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby Pannapetar » Sat May 08, 2010 2:05 am

acinteyyo wrote:I gave you an advice to not think about the wrong things.


Perhaps this is phrased a little enigmatically. The problem is that you cannot really stop asking or thinking about the "wrong" question until you have realised that it is in fact the wrong question. This means some sort of realisation must occur first.

To ask "what is reborn" is a meaningless question in the same sense the questions "what was before time" or "what is outside the universe" are meaningless.

The question implies that there is a substance or an inherently existing thing and this implication is misguided. For example, if you light one candle with another you can: ask what is reborn? Well, the candle flame is reborn; that is obvious. It would be absurd to imply that there is an entity that supports candle flames.

The only weakness of this comparison is that the transfer of the flame from one candle to another can be explained in terms of physical processes, while rebirth of a sentient being cannot be explained in terms of physical processes.

Cheers, Thomas

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Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby tiltbillings » Sat May 08, 2010 2:23 am

notself wrote:Absolutely. What I have been trying to do is to get people to respond and you have. Thank you. The reason it is important to think about what is reborn, if anything, is that people cling to the idea that they will be reborn. Of course this goes against the very idea of anatta.
The problem with this line of thinking is that until there is an actual insight into anatta, one going to think in terms of a self, which is why there are the precepts and the various practices to help "tame" the sense of self. And you cannot think your way out of a sense of self.

If you read this entire thread you will find many who cling to self identity when it comes to rebirth. What is the cure for this clinging? It is to examine what is reborn.
While one might come to some sor of intellectual understanding (which may or may not reflect the way things really are), one is still going to have to deal with a sense of of a self that we think we really are.

What is reborn does need to be thought about in relation to all the other teachings. As I said in that thread, to discuss rebirth without discussing what is reborn is a futile exercise.
Now you are somewhat contradicting yourself; you seemed to indicate that you wanted people's own thoughts on this in their own words. The Buddha's teachings certainly do not contrdict the idea of rebirth.
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond.
SN I, 38.

Ar scáth a chéile a mhaireas na daoine.
People live in one another’s shelter.

dheamhan a fhios agam

"We eat cold eels and think distant thoughts." -- Jack Johnson

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Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby notself » Sat May 08, 2010 4:46 am

tiltbillings wrote:
notself wrote:Absolutely. What I have been trying to do is to get people to respond and you have. Thank you. The reason it is important to think about what is reborn, if anything, is that people cling to the idea that they will be reborn. Of course this goes against the very idea of anatta.
The problem with this line of thinking is that until there is an actual insight into anatta, one going to think in terms of a self, which is why there are the precepts and the various practices to help "tame" the sense of self. And you cannot think your way out of a sense of self.

If you read this entire thread you will find many who cling to self identity when it comes to rebirth. What is the cure for this clinging? It is to examine what is reborn.
While one might come to some sor of intellectual understanding (which may or may not reflect the way things really are), one is still going to have to deal with a sense of of a self that we think we really are.

What is reborn does need to be thought about in relation to all the other teachings. As I said in that thread, to discuss rebirth without discussing what is reborn is a futile exercise.
Now you are somewhat contradicting yourself; you seemed to indicate that you wanted people's own thoughts on this in their own words. The Buddha's teachings certainly do not contrdict the idea of rebirth.


Observing phenomena is a form of thinking. Concentration is a form of thinking if one defines thinking as an activity of the brain. If one cannot think one's way out of a sense of self, then how does one go beyond self?

I don't understand your second comment.

I never said that Buddha's teachings contradict the idea of rebirth. I am trying to convey my thoughts that thinking about what is reborn in light of anatta, dependent origination and rebirth is a deeper more complex approach.

Buddha did speak to laypeople as if they, their personality, would be reborn. Just look at the suttas about soldiers or actors. In both the Buddha tells the soldier and the actor that they will be reborn in the hell realms. The laypeople were very upset at the news. What are your thoughts on these suttas?
Though one may conquer a thousand times a thousand men in battle, yet he is indeed the noblest victor who conquers himself. ---Dhp 103

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Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby Pannapetar » Sat May 08, 2010 5:16 am

notself wrote:Observing phenomena is a form of thinking.


Are you sure?

notself wrote:Concentration is a form of thinking if one defines thinking as an activity of the brain.


But one does not normally define all activities of the brain as "thinking". For example, there are the so-called autonomic functions which do not involve any thought at all. In fact, the vast majority of brain activity does not involve thought. The functions that involve consciousness are only the tip of the iceberg.

What is thought then? A good question to ask. I like the following definition: Thought is that part of consciousness that operates with symbols.

notself wrote:Buddha did speak to laypeople as if they, their personality, would be reborn. Just look at the suttas about soldiers or actors. In both the Buddha tells the soldier and the actor that they will be reborn in the hell realms. The laypeople were very upset at the news. What are your thoughts on these suttas?


I am not familiar with those suttas, but I guess that depends on the concrete actions and intentions of the soldier and the actor. I also believe that personality aspects are reborn; in fact it must logically be so, because otherwise liberation would be impossible.

P.S.: Sorry to barge in; I just though these were interesting questions.

Cheers, Thomas

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Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby tiltbillings » Sat May 08, 2010 5:20 am

notself wrote:
Observing phenomena is a form of thinking. Concentration is a form of thinking if one defines thinking as an activity of the brain. If one cannot think one's way out of a sense of self, then how does one go beyond self?
Thinking, generally, is understood to be a conceptual process. Bare attention, as in:

"When for you there will be only the seen in the seen, only the heard in the
heard, only the sensed in the sensed, only the cognized in the cognized,
then, Bahiya, there is no you in terms of that. When there is no you in terms
of that, there is no you there. When there is no you there, you are neither
here nor yonder nor between the two. This, just this, is the end of suffering."

-- Ud I 10
Bare attention in these terms is not a conceptual process.

I don't understand your second comment{/quote]

"While one might come to some sort of intellectual understanding (which may or may not reflect the way things really are), one is still going to have to deal with a sense of of a self that we think we really are." Can't think your way out of samsara. Until we have insight into the rise and fall of what we are, we are going to have to deal with the sense of a self.

I never said that Buddha's teachings contradict the idea of rebirth. I am trying to convey my thoughts that thinking about what is reborn in light of anatta, dependent origination and rebirth is a deeper more complex approach.
Okay, though it is not obvious.

Buddha did speak to laypeople as if they, their personality, would be reborn. Just look at the suttas about soldiers or actors. In both the Buddha tells the soldier and the actor that they will be reborn in the hell realms. The laypeople were very upset at the news. What are your thoughts on these suttas?
Not much one way or the other.
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond.
SN I, 38.

Ar scáth a chéile a mhaireas na daoine.
People live in one another’s shelter.

dheamhan a fhios agam

"We eat cold eels and think distant thoughts." -- Jack Johnson

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Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby notself » Sat May 08, 2010 5:48 am

tiltbillings
"When for you there will be only the seen in the seen, only the heard in the
heard, only the sensed in the sensed, only the cognized in the cognized,
then, Bahiya, there is no you in terms of that. When there is no you in terms
of that, there is no you there. When there is no you there, you are neither
here nor yonder nor between the two. This, just this, is the end of suffering."

-- Ud I 10
Bare attention in these terms is not a conceptual process.


What is described above is perception without mental formations. One is still observing through sight, sound, touch, taste, and cognition. Since cognition is defined as 1. The mental process of knowing, including aspects such as awareness, perception, reasoning, and judgment. 2. That which comes to be known, as through perception, reasoning, or intuition; knowledge, it includes thought even if the thought is "that is a leaf".

Pannapetar, I think this answers your question as well since observation is a form of cognition. What part of personality is reborn and how does that occur? Can you expand on your comments?

I am going on vacation starting this weekend. So I will be gone for at least a week.

Interesting conversation.
Though one may conquer a thousand times a thousand men in battle, yet he is indeed the noblest victor who conquers himself. ---Dhp 103

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Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby tiltbillings » Sat May 08, 2010 6:03 am

notself wrote:
tiltbillings
"When for you there will be only the seen in the seen, only the heard in the
heard, only the sensed in the sensed, only the cognized in the cognized,
then, Bahiya, there is no you in terms of that. When there is no you in terms
of that, there is no you there. When there is no you there, you are neither
here nor yonder nor between the two. This, just this, is the end of suffering."

-- Ud I 10
Bare attention in these terms is not a conceptual process.


What is described above is perception without mental formations. One is still observing through sight, sound, touch, taste, and cognition.
What else is there?
Since cognition is defined as 1. The mental process of knowing, including aspects such as awareness, perception, reasoning, and judgment. 2. That which comes to be known, as through perception, reasoning, or intuition; knowledge, it includes thought even if the thought is "that is a leaf".
Defined by whom? Wihin a Buddhist context there can be awareness of mental stuff without loading it down with conceptual stuff.
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond.
SN I, 38.

Ar scáth a chéile a mhaireas na daoine.
People live in one another’s shelter.

dheamhan a fhios agam

"We eat cold eels and think distant thoughts." -- Jack Johnson

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Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby PeterB » Sat May 08, 2010 6:55 am

notself wrote:PeterB,

I am not interested in references. I am interested in what other members think. I am interested in personal opinion based on an individual thought process and conclusion (however tentative) on what is reborn.

Do you not have any of your own thoughts on the subject?

No I have no thoughts of my own on the subject. What do I know. My response was to refer you to Buddhadhasa on this particular topic.
My apologies.
It had not occured to me that what you were asking for is agreement with your present view posited in the posters own words.

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Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby Shonin » Sat May 08, 2010 8:02 am

Here's a thought. If self-view falls away, the idea 'I will be reborn as...' falls away and all that is left is karma - there is this action and this consequence. All sentient beings, all moments of sentience are viewed impartially. It doesn't matter who is the 'owner' or 'receiver' of the consequence or more accurately perhaps it is seen (not just believed) that there is no owner - just actions and consequences. Thus metaphysical speculation about the mechanisms for karma to be 'transmitted into a new life' become irrelevant and even meaningless.

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Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby tiltbillings » Sat May 08, 2010 8:14 am

Shonin wrote:Here's a thought. . . .
It is a good thought, better than I have seen in some while.
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond.
SN I, 38.

Ar scáth a chéile a mhaireas na daoine.
People live in one another’s shelter.

dheamhan a fhios agam

"We eat cold eels and think distant thoughts." -- Jack Johnson

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Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby PeterB » Sat May 08, 2010 8:18 am

Or as someone put it in another thread kamma = dukkha =anatta or dukkha = anatta = kamma. They are the same process.
Everything arises dependantly and that includes time.
That is not my opinion. My opinion is irrelevant. That is a reading of Buddhadasa which resonates for me..
Last edited by PeterB on Sat May 08, 2010 8:21 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby PeterB » Sat May 08, 2010 8:20 am

Shonin wrote:Here's a thought. If self-view falls away, the idea 'I will be reborn as...' falls away and all that is left is karma - there is this action and this consequence. All sentient beings, all moments of sentience are viewed impartially. It doesn't matter who is the 'owner' or 'receiver' of the consequence or more accurately perhaps it is seen (not just believed) that there is no owner - just actions and consequences. Thus metaphysical speculation about the mechanisms for karma to be 'transmitted into a new life' become irrelevant and even meaningless.



:thumbsup:
:namaste:

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Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby tiltbillings » Sat May 08, 2010 8:27 am

PeterB wrote:Or as someone put it in another thread kamma = dukkha =anatta or dukkha = anatta = kamma. They are the same process.
Well, maybe, but for that to really make sense would require lots and lots and lots of explanation.
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond.
SN I, 38.

Ar scáth a chéile a mhaireas na daoine.
People live in one another’s shelter.

dheamhan a fhios agam

"We eat cold eels and think distant thoughts." -- Jack Johnson

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Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby Aloka » Sat May 08, 2010 9:22 am

.

Any views relating to rebirth are always going to be conceptual speculation (other than in a verifiable sense relating to the changes in our day to day lives) - and for me personally they aren't relevant to the practice in the here and now.


_/\_


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