rebirth, kamma, progress

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rebirth, kamma, progress

Postby being5 » Tue Jun 22, 2010 11:33 am

What possibilities might exist for positive kamma if the life following this one is as, say, a cockroach or a tapeworm or a jellyfish or a tiger or ... etc.

I can't see any.

Does it mean that being born "lower" than a human birth that from there on it's all backwards, away from nibbana (or, at best, no closer)?

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Re: rebirth, kamma, progress

Postby jcsuperstar » Tue Jun 22, 2010 12:11 pm

you never know when kamma may ripen
สัพเพ สัตตา สุขีตา โหนตุ

the mountain may be heavy in and of itself, but if you're not trying to carry it it's not heavy to you- Ajaan Suwat
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Re: rebirth, kamma, progress

Postby retrofuturist » Tue Jun 22, 2010 12:14 pm

Greetings,

jcsuperstar wrote:you never know when kamma may ripen

Sounds like a thinly-veiled threat from a Buddhist gangster film. :tongue:

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: rebirth, kamma, progress

Postby Aloka » Tue Jun 22, 2010 12:26 pm

retrofuturist wrote:Greetings,

jcsuperstar wrote:you never know when kamma may ripen



Sounds like a thinly-veiled threat from a Buddhist gangster film. :tongue:

Metta,
Retro. :)



:rofl:
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Re: rebirth, kamma, progress

Postby Ben » Tue Jun 22, 2010 12:30 pm

Hi being5

Do you have "Manuals of Dhamma"? the collection of works by Ledi Sayadaw?

He likened the scenario facing most people at death like a whirlpool sucking beings down into lower realms from which escape is an extraordinarily very rare occurance. And the further down we go, the greater the chances are that we will continue to keep falling further towards avicci hell in each subsequent rebirth. Escape is possible from one of the lower realms but it is dependent on the ripening of good kamma of the past.

The way I look at it is that we should be focused on attaining (at least) sotapatti in this life. Not just because sotapatti removes the possiblity of rebirth n lower realms but because of the profound positive effect such an attainment will have on our quality of life, and those around us. If recounts of rebirth as an animal, insect, peta or asura helps you to generate the required samvega to maintain your practice - all well and good.
metta

Ben
Learn this from the waters:
in mountain clefts and chasms,
loud gush the streamlets,
but great rivers flow silently.

Taṃ nadīhi vijānātha:
sobbhesu padaresu ca,
saṇantā yanti kusobbhā,
tuṇhīyanti mahodadhī.

Sutta Nipata 3.725


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Re: rebirth, kamma, progress

Postby kc2dpt » Tue Jun 22, 2010 5:35 pm

being5 wrote:What possibilities might exist for positive kamma if the life following this one is as, say, a cockroach or a tapeworm or a jellyfish or a tiger or ... etc.

I can't see any.

There isn't much.

Does it mean that being born "lower" than a human birth that from there on it's all backwards, away from nibbana (or, at best, no closer)?

It seems you are assuming the cause for where you are born in the next life must come from this life, that each life determines the very next one. This isn't so. The cause for where you are born next MIGHT come form this life OR it might come from ANY PREVIOUS life. So you may be born as an animal for the next 500 lives and you may make nothing but bad choices in all those lives... and yet on that 500th death a choice you made a long time ago might determine your 501st birth.

But the odds are against you. Realizing this, one should strive diligently in this life while they have the chance.

I hope this is helpful.
- Peter

Be heedful and you will accomplish your goal.
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Re: rebirth, kamma, progress

Postby Laurens » Tue Jun 22, 2010 6:23 pm

it's all about this life, don't spend it worrying about what may have happened in a previous life (assuming there is such a thing) or what might happen in the next life...

Focus on this life, its the only one you can be 100% certain of having
"For me, it is far better to grasp the Universe as it really is than to persist in delusion, however satisfying and reassuring."

Carl Sagan
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Re: rebirth, kamma, progress

Postby Aloka » Tue Jun 22, 2010 7:46 pm

Laurens wrote:it's all about this life, don't spend it worrying about what may have happened in a previous life (assuming there is such a thing) or what might happen in the next life...

Focus on this life, its the only one you can be 100% certain of having



Well said, Laurens, this is the important one. :thumbsup:




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Re: rebirth, kamma, progress

Postby PeterB » Tue Jun 22, 2010 7:54 pm

Indeed... :thumbsup: I have no idea whether I have had past lives, ot whether I will have future lives.
I do know that at the moment that I write that this moment and this moment and this are arising.
And thats all I know.
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Re: rebirth, kamma, progress

Postby being5 » Wed Jun 23, 2010 3:44 am

Ben wrote: The way I look at it is that we should be focused on attaining (at least) sotapatti in this life.


I can't honestly believe that I, personally, have even the remotest chance of achieving stream entry in this present lifetime. I feel mocked by the idea. (Not by you, of course, but by the idea - that it is possible for me).

Laurens wrote: Focus on this life, its the only one you can be 100% certain of having


Good advice but I must be practicing wrongly, or something. My efforts at practice have resulted in feelings of isolation, anxiety and being trapped in some cosmic game of chance. Then comes, not equanimity, but a desire to be rid of those feelings.

Peter wrote:It seems you are assuming the cause for where you are born in the next life must come from this life, that each life determines the very next one.


No, I get it. It frightens me.
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Re: rebirth, kamma, progress

Postby retrofuturist » Wed Jun 23, 2010 3:50 am

Greetings being5,

being5 wrote:Good advice but I must be practicing wrongly, or something. My efforts at practice have resulted in feelings of isolation, anxiety and being trapped in some cosmic game of chance. Then comes, not equanimity, but a desire to be rid of those feelings.


Consider this...

AN 4.77: Acintita Sutta
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html

"There are these four unconjecturables that are not to be conjectured about, that would bring madness & vexation to anyone who conjectured about them. Which four?

"The Buddha-range of the Buddhas is an unconjecturable that is not to be conjectured about, that would bring madness & vexation to anyone who conjectured about it.

"The jhana-range of a person in jhana...

"The [precise working out of the] results of kamma...

"Conjecture about [the origin, etc., of] the world is an unconjecturable that is not to be conjectured about, that would bring madness & vexation to anyone who conjectured about it.

"These are the four unconjecturables that are not to be conjectured about, that would bring madness & vexation to anyone who conjectured about them."

Consider also this...

"If a monk is absorbed in speculation about the other world, then his mind is enthralled" - MN 48

Consider what you can do in the present moment, and learn to accept what you cannot do in the present moment. If you do your best in the present moment to cultivate the path, will you be full of regrets on your deathbed?

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: rebirth, kamma, progress

Postby EricJ » Wed Jun 23, 2010 6:37 am

I was thinking about rebirth in the animal realm today, which lead me to thinking about the fact that billions of insects, spiders, and other egg-laying, short-lived lifeforms are generated and die every year. It's odd to think that this process must be sustained (in some way) by such a massive amount of negative kamma. Which leads me to this question:

Do beings in lower realms generate negative kamma, which perpetuates a cycle of rebirth in lower realms? Or are they merely exhausting kamma from lives as humans and devas? The latter seems so impossible with such a massive amount of life is generated every year.
I do not want my house to be walled in on sides and my windows to be stuffed. I want the cultures of all the lands to be blown about my house as freely as possible. But I refuse to be blown off my feet by any.- Gandhi

With persistence aroused for the highest goal's attainment, with mind unsmeared, not lazy in action, firm in effort, with steadfastness & strength arisen, wander alone like a rhinoceros.

Not neglecting seclusion, absorption, constantly living the Dhamma in line with the Dhamma, comprehending the danger in states of becoming, wander alone like a rhinoceros.
- Snp. 1.3
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Re: rebirth, kamma, progress

Postby Ben » Wed Jun 23, 2010 6:54 am

being5 wrote:
Ben wrote: The way I look at it is that we should be focused on attaining (at least) sotapatti in this life.


I can't honestly believe that I, personally, have even the remotest chance of achieving stream entry in this present lifetime. I feel mocked by the idea. (Not by you, of course, but by the idea - that it is possible for me).


Why not you? Why not any of us?
Anyway, the important thing is to maintain practice day to day. if you do that, you'll get the benefits here and now, as well as the benefits that accrue gradually over time.\
metta

Ben
Learn this from the waters:
in mountain clefts and chasms,
loud gush the streamlets,
but great rivers flow silently.

Taṃ nadīhi vijānātha:
sobbhesu padaresu ca,
saṇantā yanti kusobbhā,
tuṇhīyanti mahodadhī.

Sutta Nipata 3.725


Compassionate Hands Foundation (Buddhist aid in Myanmar) • Buddhist Global ReliefUNHCR
Buddhist Life Stories of Australia

e: ben.dhammawheel@gmail.com
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Re: rebirth, kamma, progress

Postby IanAnd » Sat Jul 03, 2010 7:02 pm

being5 wrote:
Ben wrote: The way I look at it is that we should be focused on attaining (at least) sotapatti in this life.

I can't honestly believe that I, personally, have even the remotest chance of achieving stream entry in this present lifetime. I feel mocked by the idea. (Not by you, of course, but by the idea - that it is possible for me).

Why is it that you "feel" or think that way? Is it because of what you have been told by others and have accepted as belief simply because so many others are telling you this? Or for some other reason?

being5 wrote:
Laurens wrote: Focus on this life, its the only one you can be 100% certain of having

Good advice but I must be practicing wrongly, or something. My efforts at practice have resulted in feelings of isolation, anxiety and being trapped in some cosmic game of chance. Then comes, not equanimity, but a desire to be rid of those feelings.

What you describe here is not abnormal for beginners. Something about what you are doing must be working, or you wouldn't be having these insights into your mental world. And, of course, no one wants to have feelings of isolation or anxiety or of being trapped in some cosmic game of chance. But unless you continue on to observe these phenomena more deeply, you will never find out how to overcome or transcend them.

The best antidote that I can recommend for this is to delve more deeply into a study and reading of the suttas as well as studying the important teachings in more depth. While you can find the discourses online at no cost, I would recommend obtaining the Wisdom Publications editions of the Nikayas (links to which can be found in that post) and reading and studying them one at a time, one sutta a day at a time. The Anguttara Nikaya is not yet fully translated, but the anthology published by Nyanaponika Thera some years ago is still available and very accessible.

What is good about these publications is that there are plenty of excellent explanatary footnotes available which add tremendously to one's correct understanding of these discourses, which footnotes are available nowhere else that I have found. You have to spend the time reading the footnotes in place as you read the suttas for better comprehension. It really is worth the time to do so.

Begin your focus on learning more about and delving deeper into the Five Aggregates. There are some suggestions for reading material in the link above to the Wisdom Publication editions. Once you begin to gain some insight into the workings of the five aggregates and to see how they present in everyday life, the isolation and the anxiety you feel should begin to diminish if not fade away completely. Studying the five aggregates and the teaching on dependent co-arising are two of the most important concepts to be able to grasp if you wish to diminish dukkha. It takes some effort, but once the insights begin to arise, it is well worth it.
"The gift of truth exceeds all other gifts" — Dhammapada, v. 354 Craving XXIV
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