the great rebirth debate

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Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby Alex123 » Tue May 11, 2010 6:09 pm

PeterB wrote:So Pannapetar how have you arrived at your very clear view of Rebirth ? Is it as a direct seeing resulting from meditation practice or is it a shared belief ?


I am not Pannapetar but this is my answer.

I believe in Buddha. Some of his things I know and see. There is a lot of validity in other things. I extrapolate this to include belief in literal rebirth, even though I don't have direct experience of it yet. I believe that Buddha has more wisdom than I or some rebirth sceptics, and so I side with Him.

I also apply pascal's wager to the issue of rebirth.


With metta,

Alex
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Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby PeterB » Tue May 11, 2010 6:18 pm

Thanks for your views Alex..
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Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby Pannapetar » Wed May 12, 2010 1:58 am

Bubbabuddhist wrote:...the tendency of some people defining a person's qualifications for being a card-carrying Buddhist by a specific criterion.


Then let's hand out multiple choice forms. Anyone with an A score will be granted saffron icons. F scores will get a 300-pages Bikkhu Bodhi reading assignment. :jumping: :rofl:

In fact, I am not concerned at all about labels and frankly I am not comfortable to to associate myself with any -ism, including Buddhism. I am not a Buddhist. I am a student of the Buddha.

However, if you wish to call yourself a Buddhist and you are not really sure about rebirth, then you are a bit like a Marxist who is not really sure about communism.

Cheers, Thomas
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Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby retrofuturist » Wed May 12, 2010 2:00 am

Greetings Pannapetar,

Pannapetar wrote:However, if you wish to call yourself a Buddhist and you are not really sure about rebirth, then you are a bit like a Marxist who is not really sure about communism.

What do you consider to be the fundamental problem which Buddhism addresses and attempts to solve - dukkha or rebirth?

Metta,
Retro. :)
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Whatever various forms of unease there are in the world, They originate founded in encumbering accumulation. (Pārāyanavagga)


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One who is such, calmed and ever mindful, He has no sorrows! -- Udana IV, 7


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Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby Pannapetar » Wed May 12, 2010 3:48 am

retrofuturist wrote:What do you consider to be the fundamental problem which Buddhism addresses and attempts to solve - dukkha or rebirth?


Dukkha of course. However, dukkha would not really constitute a (soteriological) problem if rebirth did not occur.

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Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby retrofuturist » Wed May 12, 2010 3:54 am

Greetings Pannapetar,

Pannapetar wrote:
retrofuturist wrote:What do you consider to be the fundamental problem which Buddhism addresses and attempts to solve - dukkha or rebirth?


Dukkha of course. However, dukkha would not really constitute a (soteriological) problem if rebirth did not occur.


Is it potential future suffering that is "the problem" or the direct experience of suffering "in the present moment" (which is of course, the only moment that can ever be directly known)?

By conceptually extrapolating beyond the present you may perhaps be giving yourself more incentive and reason to practice, but are you actually getting any closer to solving the problem of dukka, or expanding the extent of direct knowledge and insight you have with regards to suffering?

Metta,
Retro. :)
If you have asked me of the origination of unease, then I shall explain it to you in accordance with my understanding:
Whatever various forms of unease there are in the world, They originate founded in encumbering accumulation. (Pārāyanavagga)


Exalted in mind, just open and clearly aware, the recluse trained in the ways of the sages:
One who is such, calmed and ever mindful, He has no sorrows! -- Udana IV, 7


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Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby Pannapetar » Wed May 12, 2010 4:59 am

retrofuturist wrote:Is it potential future suffering that is "the problem" or the direct experience of suffering "in the present moment" (which is of course, the only moment that can ever be directly known)?


That's not the point. The point is that dukkha cannot be sustained without rebirth. Rebirth and dukkha are interdependent. Without rebirth no dukkha. This can be said for the present moment of experience as well as for any conceptualised spacetime entity. On personal level this would imply, that you are done with suffering when you die, which is what many people believe.

Hence, you can't have dukkha without rebirth in the same way you can't have marxism without communism.

Cheers, Thomas
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Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby retrofuturist » Wed May 12, 2010 5:08 am

Greetings Pannapetar,

Pannapetar wrote:No, that's not the point.


Really? In the following sutta we are told...

AN 6.47: Sanditthika Sutta
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html

the Dhamma is visible in the here-&-now, timeless, inviting verification, pertinent, to be realized by the wise for themselves


The picture of the Dhamma you paint is none of those things. Yours is not focused on the here-and-now, it is certainly not timeless, it invites speculation (and thus, is not pertinent) and cannot be realized by the wise, unless they've developed the ability to see past or future lives.

In short... you've created a virtually unverifiable belief system, despite the Buddha's warnings against it....

MN 2: Sabbasava Sutta
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html

And what are the fermentations to be abandoned by seeing? There is the case where an uninstructed, run-of-the-mill person — who has no regard for noble ones, is not well-versed or disciplined in their Dhamma; who has no regard for men of integrity, is not well-versed or disciplined in their Dhamma — does not discern what ideas are fit for attention or what ideas are unfit for attention. This being so, he does not attend to ideas fit for attention and attends [instead] to ideas unfit for attention.

"And what are the ideas unfit for attention that he attends to? Whatever ideas such that, when he attends to them, the unarisen fermentation of sensuality arises in him, and the arisen fermentation of sensuality increases; the unarisen fermentation of becoming arises in him, and arisen fermentation of becoming increases; the unarisen fermentation of ignorance arises in him, and the arisen fermentation of ignorance increases. These are the ideas unfit for attention that he attends to.

"And what are the ideas fit for attention that he does not attend to? Whatever ideas such that, when he attends to them, the unarisen fermentation of sensuality does not arise in him, and the arisen fermentation of sensuality is abandoned; the unarisen fermentation of becoming does not arise in him, and arisen fermentation of becoming is abandoned; the unarisen fermentation of ignorance does not arise in him, and the arisen fermentation of ignorance is abandoned. These are the ideas fit for attention that he does not attend to. Through his attending to ideas unfit for attention and through his not attending to ideas fit for attention, both unarisen fermentations arise in him, and arisen fermentations increase.

"This is how he attends inappropriately: 'Was I in the past? Was I not in the past? What was I in the past? How was I in the past? Having been what, what was I in the past? Shall I be in the future? Shall I not be in the future? What shall I be in the future? How shall I be in the future? Having been what, what shall I be in the future?' Or else he is inwardly perplexed about the immediate present: 'Am I? Am I not? What am I? How am I? Where has this being come from? Where is it bound?'

"As he attends inappropriately in this way, one of six kinds of view arises in him: The view I have a self arises in him as true & established, or the view I have no self... or the view It is precisely by means of self that I perceive self... or the view It is precisely by means of self that I perceive not-self... or the view It is precisely by means of not-self that I perceive self arises in him as true & established, or else he has a view like this: This very self of mine — the knower that is sensitive here & there to the ripening of good & bad actions — is the self of mine that is constant, everlasting, eternal, not subject to change, and will stay just as it is for eternity. This is called a thicket of views, a wilderness of views, a contortion of views, a writhing of views, a fetter of views. Bound by a fetter of views, the uninstructed run-of-the-mill person is not freed from birth, aging, & death, from sorrow, lamentation, pain, distress, & despair. He is not freed, I tell you, from suffering & stress.


"The well-instructed disciple of the noble ones — who has regard for noble ones, is well-versed & disciplined in their Dhamma; who has regard for men of integrity, is well-versed & disciplined in their Dhamma — discerns what ideas are fit for attention and what ideas are unfit for attention. This being so, he does not attend to ideas unfit for attention and attends [instead] to ideas fit for attention.

"And what are the ideas unfit for attention that he does not attend to? Whatever ideas such that, when he attends to them, the unarisen fermentation of sensuality arises in him, and the arisen fermentation of sensuality increases; the unarisen fermentation of becoming arises in him, and arisen fermentation of becoming increases; the unarisen fermentation of ignorance arises in him, and the arisen fermentation of ignorance increases. These are the ideas unfit for attention that he does not attend to.

"And what are the ideas fit for attention that he does attend to? Whatever ideas such that, when he attends to them, the unarisen fermentation of sensuality does not arise in him, and the arisen fermentation of sensuality is abandoned; the unarisen fermentation of becoming does not arise in him, and the arisen fermentation of becoming is abandoned; the unarisen fermentation of ignorance does not arise in him, and the arisen fermentation of ignorance is abandoned. These are the ideas fit for attention that he does attend to. Through his not attending to ideas unfit for attention and through his attending to ideas fit for attention, unarisen fermentations do not arise in him, and arisen fermentations are abandoned.

"He attends appropriately, This is stress... This is the origination of stress... This is the cessation of stress... This is the way leading to the cessation of stress. As he attends appropriately in this way, three fetters are abandoned in him: identity-view, doubt, and grasping at precepts & practices. These are called the fermentations to be abandoned by seeing.


Metta,
Retro. :)
If you have asked me of the origination of unease, then I shall explain it to you in accordance with my understanding:
Whatever various forms of unease there are in the world, They originate founded in encumbering accumulation. (Pārāyanavagga)


Exalted in mind, just open and clearly aware, the recluse trained in the ways of the sages:
One who is such, calmed and ever mindful, He has no sorrows! -- Udana IV, 7


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Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby Pannapetar » Wed May 12, 2010 6:03 am

Cheers Retro,

The picture of the Dhamma you paint is none of those things. Yours is not focused on the here-and-now, it is certainly not timeless, it invites speculation (and thus, is not pertinent) and cannot be realized by the wise, unless they've developed the ability to see past or future lives.


Hmm. Interesting conclusion. I wish I could understand it.

retrofuturist wrote:Really? In the following sutta we are told...


And the point is?

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Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby retrofuturist » Wed May 12, 2010 6:13 am

Greetings Pannapetar,

Pannapetar wrote:And the point is?

... that your "without rebirth no dukkha" claim is speculative and that (unless there's something you haven't told us) you do not directly know this as fact. It's a funny thing to base the centre of your entire religious view around, if you were to ask me, but theists centre their beliefs around unverified speculation all the time, so hey, what do I know? :shrug:

If somehow it was proven that rebirth is false, would there still be a role for the Dhamma? By your logic, no - by my logic, yes. In my opinion, the Dhamma is good for as many "present moments" come to be - it is timeless.

Metta,
Retro. :)
If you have asked me of the origination of unease, then I shall explain it to you in accordance with my understanding:
Whatever various forms of unease there are in the world, They originate founded in encumbering accumulation. (Pārāyanavagga)


Exalted in mind, just open and clearly aware, the recluse trained in the ways of the sages:
One who is such, calmed and ever mindful, He has no sorrows! -- Udana IV, 7


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Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby Pannapetar » Wed May 12, 2010 6:41 am

retrofuturist wrote:... that your "without rebirth no dukkha" claim is speculative


What is speculative about it? I assume that you are familiar with the dependent origination, but perhaps you have a different way of looking at it. Could you be more specific?

retrofuturist wrote:If somehow it was proven that rebirth is false, would there still be a role for the Dhamma?


Taking away rebirth would nullify patticasamupppada. You can probably imagine the consequences for the dhamma. It would still be useful, but it would lack ontological support.

retrofuturist wrote:In my opinion, the Dhamma is good for as many "present moments" come to be - it is timeless.


Have I contradicted that?

Cheers, Thomas
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Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby Shonin » Wed May 12, 2010 6:44 am

Pannapetar wrote: The point is that dukkha cannot be sustained without rebirth. Rebirth and dukkha are interdependent. Without rebirth no dukkha. This can be said for the present moment of experience as well as for any conceptualised spacetime entity. On personal level this would imply, that you are done with suffering when you die, which is what many people believe.

Hence, you can't have dukkha without rebirth in the same way you can't have marxism without communism.


That doesn't follow. It may be true that some people believe 'I will stop suffering' when they die. However, this view is based on a projection of self-view beyond death to a state of hypothetical non-suffering. I would argue that this view was wrong. So, this view is certainly not the only alternative to rebirth. Hence, Buddhism is not dependent on rebirth in the way you argue.
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Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby retrofuturist » Wed May 12, 2010 6:47 am

Greetings Pannapetar,

Pannapetar wrote:Taking away rebirth would nullify patticasamupppada.

No. There are so many problems with that, I barely know where to begin. In short, let's just say, there is (dependently originated) suffering in this lifetime and that is not the slightest bit proof for a doctrine of future lives.

Pannapetar wrote:You can probably imagine the consequences for the dhamma. It would still be useful, but it would lack ontological support.

Ontology? Who needs that? No, seriously. (Like Nathan did before me...I find your empiricism irrelevant and disinteresting... and will leave you to it.

Pannapetar wrote:
retrofuturist wrote:In my opinion, the Dhamma is good for as many "present moments" come to be - it is timeless.

Have I contradicted that?

Yes, and your "taking away rebirth would nullify patticasamupppada" comment seals it.

Metta,
Retro. :)
If you have asked me of the origination of unease, then I shall explain it to you in accordance with my understanding:
Whatever various forms of unease there are in the world, They originate founded in encumbering accumulation. (Pārāyanavagga)


Exalted in mind, just open and clearly aware, the recluse trained in the ways of the sages:
One who is such, calmed and ever mindful, He has no sorrows! -- Udana IV, 7


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Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby PeterB » Wed May 12, 2010 7:25 am

Pannapetar wrote:
Bubbabuddhist wrote:...the tendency of some people defining a person's qualifications for being a card-carrying Buddhist by a specific criterion.


Then let's hand out multiple choice forms. Anyone with an A score will be granted saffron icons. F scores will get a 300-pages Bikkhu Bodhi reading assignment. :jumping: :rofl:

In fact, I am not concerned at all about labels and frankly I am not comfortable to to associate myself with any -ism, including Buddhism. I am not a Buddhist. I am a student of the Buddha.

However, if you wish to call yourself a Buddhist and you are not really sure about rebirth, then you are a bit like a Marxist who is not really sure about communism.

Cheers, Thomas

Is your real name ........Malcom ? :smile:
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Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby Aloka » Wed May 12, 2010 7:37 am

PeterB wrote:
Is your real name ........Malcom ? :smile:



Naughty Peter ! :rofl:
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Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby Pannapetar » Wed May 12, 2010 7:44 am

retrofuturist wrote:In short, let's just say, there is (dependently originated) suffering in this lifetime and that is not the slightest bit proof for a doctrine of future lives.


I am getting the impression that you let your bias about the rebirth issue affect your understanding of dependent origination. So, I am trying to phrase this as carefully as I can.

First, dependent origination is an analysis of samsara. It describes how samsara (conditioned existence) arises and how it is held together. Since conditioned existence is characterised by the three marks, dependent origination is likewise an analysis of dukkha, anatta, and anicca, correct?

Second, dependent origination is circular, connected, and interdependent. This is to say that the twelve nidanas are causally connected and that the last nidana links to the first one, correct? Furthermore, if we delete any single nidana of the twelve nidanas then the connection is broken and the model is compromised, correct?

Third, the eleventh nidana is called jati which means birth. It is the point where kamma comes to fruition. Because dependent origination is circular, birth is synonymous with rebirth, correct?

If you can accept these premises then it follows logically that if you take out jati (the eleventh nidana) and remove it from the model of dependent origination, the model becomes compromised. From this follows that the chain is broken, and that there is no more conditioned existence. And from this follows that there is no dukkha, q.e.d.

In other words: rebirth is a requirement for conditioned existence, and since conditioned existence implies dukkha, rebirth is also a requirement for dukkha.

Was that clear?

retrofuturist wrote:Ontology? Who needs that? No, seriously.


Ontology is just a word that philosophers use to classify certain sets of statements. Dukkha, anicca, anatta are ontological statements. Such words make it easier to communicate, and to know what we are talking about. That's all there is to it.

Cheers, Thomas
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Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby PeterB » Wed May 12, 2010 7:49 am

Alex123 wrote:
PeterB wrote:So Pannapetar how have you arrived at your very clear view of Rebirth ? Is it as a direct seeing resulting from meditation practice or is it a shared belief ?


I am not Pannapetar but this is my answer.

I believe in Buddha. Some of his things I know and see. There is a lot of validity in other things. I extrapolate this to include belief in literal rebirth, even though I don't have direct experience of it yet. I believe that Buddha has more wisdom than I or some rebirth sceptics, and so I side with Him.

I also apply pascal's wager to the issue of rebirth.


With metta,

Alex

I have another take on Pascal's wager Alex.
I have no idea if the doctrine of Rebirth refers to a literal post mortem state.
I have been meditating for many years and still have no personal experience of its literal truth or untruth.
Whats more the people who most influnce me in the world of Buddhadhamma will not be drawn on the subject. For example if you ( anyone ) try to get a definitive answer on the subject from Luang Por Sumedho you will be directed back to your cushion...
But what I do know is that I have derived great benefit from meditation..in particular from Vipassana.
Not just relaxation, at times it has been the reverse of that..but in seeing clearly even if in a limited way..the truth of Dukkha, of Anicca, and to some degree of Anatta..
What happens post mortem is at the moment not my concern.
I have quite enough to be getting on with.
So Vipassana is my Pascals Wager..
If literal Rebirth happens then I will have prepared for it in accordance with the Buddhas teaching.
If not then I will have had a richer life.

:anjali:
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Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby Pannapetar » Wed May 12, 2010 7:55 am

PeterB wrote:What happens post mortem is at the moment not my concern. I have quite enough to be getting on with.


Excuses, excuses, excuses... Of course some people have developed the skill of a magician when explaining away the obvious.

However, we all have to come to terms with death. I suggest to start now.

Cheers, Thomas
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Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby PeterB » Wed May 12, 2010 7:57 am

I have done what I vowed never to do again..I have been drawn into another bloody Rebirth debate !!!! :tongue:
Invariably they become "he said she said" Both sides take their stance.. The contrarians then line up to support whichever position is most contrary to the current thread..And its Game On.
Having made my own fuzzy, inadequate, position as clear as I can..I will stick to my vow and withdraw.

Metta to all.

:anjali:
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Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby PeterB » Wed May 12, 2010 7:59 am

Pannapetar wrote:
PeterB wrote:What happens post mortem is at the moment not my concern. I have quite enough to be getting on with.


Excuses, excuses, excuses... Of course some people have developed the skill of a magician when explaining away the obvious.

However, we all have to come to terms with death. I suggest to start now.

Cheers, Thomas

As Thomas, I have an inoperable tumour which is likely to shorten my life, I have a lot of motivation to contemplate death on a daily basis. Just as i have all my adult life.
:anjali:
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