The Danger of Rebirth

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Re: The Danger of Rebirth

Postby clw_uk » Wed Feb 11, 2009 11:07 pm

The only time I am concerned about how people treat the idea of rebirth is when it makes them uncomfortable and they deny that it has any potential. I think it tends to indicate a very limited and fixed self view. From what is being said above I would not characterize Element and Clw_uk in this way.


Thank you for your understanding, sometimes i think people mistake what I say as views born from aversion which is not the case.

I hold that there cannot be rebirth because of my understanding of emptiness, not because im a modern western buddhist who is adverse to anything spiritual.

I have arrived at my current position through growth in the dhamma, not aversion.
“The Great Way is not difficult for those who have no preferences. When love and hate are both absent, everything becomes clear and undisguised." Verses on the Faith Mind, Sengcan

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Re: The Danger of Rebirth

Postby tiltbillings » Wed Feb 11, 2009 11:08 pm

clw_uk wrote:Tiltbillings, what is the essence of the buddhas teaching, rebirth or emptiness?

The buddha on his awakening realised that in the past all he was doing was clinging to the aggregates as a self and took them up as a self, as an abode.

He didnt look back and just saw rupa being born and dying, this is so basic dont you think for something to be realised when being enlightened?

What is the origin of identitiy? the five aggregates effected by clinging.


Thank you for your response, but if you want me to address your questions, please address mine to you first. That is the polite, reasonable thing to do, it would seem. Show us within MN 36 with a careful, detailed discussion that the language in MN 36 is only to be taken figuratively. or some other way than how it actually reads.
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 Danger of Rebirth

Postby retrofuturist » Wed Feb 11, 2009 11:11 pm

Greetings Craig,

For what it's worth, I understand where you're coming from with this thread. My lack of participation hasn't had to do with lack of interest, merely that I've not seen much opportunity to contribute.

As with most discussion threads on rebirth, this one is abound with straw men. I think it's important for us to concentrate and listen to what others are saying, understand it is as it said, and to not conflate that with other preconceptions we might have about what such views entail.

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 Danger of Rebirth

Postby Prasadachitta » Wed Feb 11, 2009 11:16 pm

Hi Retro,

Who is Craig?


Gabe
"Beautifully taught is the Lord's Dhamma, immediately apparent, timeless, of the nature of a personal invitation, progressive, to be attained by the wise, each for himself." Anguttara Nikaya V.332

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Re: The Danger of Rebirth

Postby clw_uk » Wed Feb 11, 2009 11:19 pm

"When the mind was thus concentrated, purified, bright, unblemished, rid of defilement, pliant, malleable, steady, & attained to imperturbability, I directed it to the knowledge of the passing away & reappearance of beings. I saw — by means of the divine eye, purified & surpassing the human — beings passing away & re-appearing, and I discerned how they are inferior & superior, beautiful & ugly, fortunate & unfortunate in accordance with their kamma: 'These beings — who were endowed with bad conduct of body, speech, & mind, who reviled the noble ones, held wrong views and undertook actions under the influence of wrong views — with the break-up of the body, after death, have re-appeared in the plane of deprivation, the bad destination, the lower realms, in hell. But these beings — who were endowed with good conduct of body, speech & mind, who did not revile the noble ones, who held right views and undertook actions under the influence of right views — with the break-up of the body, after death, have re-appeared in the good destinations, in the heavenly world.' Thus — by means of the divine eye, purified & surpassing the human — I saw beings passing away & re-appearing, and I discerned how they are inferior & superior, beautiful & ugly, fortunate & unfortunate in accordance with their kamma.




What is the origin of Identity, of the self?
Five aggregates effected by clinging, why does this lead to sense of self?

Clinging leads to BECOMING, birth or self. It is important to understand this first.

Here he is seeing how the there is the taking up of self, "beings fare on" means that a sense of self being born in a woeful state in accordance with kamma.

Woeful states are psychological (you can take them as real places as well if you wish.)

Remember as well there are different translations that make a lot of difference.


When the mind was thus concentrated, purified, bright, unblemished, rid of defilement, pliant, malleable, steady, & attained to imperturbability, I directed it to the knowledge of recollecting my past lives. I recollected my manifold past lives, i.e., one birth, two...five, ten...fifty, a hundred, a thousand, a hundred thousand, many eons of cosmic contraction, many eons of cosmic expansion, many eons of cosmic contraction & expansion: 'There I had such a name, belonged to such a clan, had such an appearance. Such was my food, such my experience of pleasure & pain, such the end of my life. Passing away from that state, I re-arose there. There too I had such a name, belonged to such a clan, had such an appearance. Such was my food, such my experience of pleasure & pain, such the end of my life. Passing away from that state, I re-arose here.' Thus I remembered my manifold past lives in their modes & details.



"Passing away from that state, I re-arose there"

How doeds the sense of "I" come about? The sense of I comes about through contact leading to becoming, birth or self. The new "i" arose. This happens all the time.

Also this sutta is a dicussion with a jain who holds views of self and rebirth.
Last edited by clw_uk on Wed Feb 11, 2009 11:28 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: The Danger of Rebirth

Postby clw_uk » Wed Feb 11, 2009 11:20 pm

As with most discussion threads on rebirth, this one is abound with straw men. I think it's important for us to concentrate and listen to what others are saying, understand it is as it said, and to not conflate that with other preconceptions we might have about what such views entail.


:goodpost:


Im Craig :hello: lol


:namaste:
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Re: The Danger of Rebirth

Postby clw_uk » Wed Feb 11, 2009 11:30 pm

Since I have provided suttas to back my points, can anyone show me a sutta where rebirth is taught as supermundane, connected with emptiness and liberation?

Can any one show me a sutta where it states Rebirth view does not have effluents?


Thank you for your response, but if you want me to address your questions, please address mine to you first. That is the polite, reasonable thing to do, it would seem. Show us within MN 36 with a careful, detailed discussion that the language in MN 36 is only to be taken figuratively. or some other way than how it actually reads.


I have answered, could you please answer mine.

what is the essence of the buddhas teaching, rebirth or emptiness?

The buddha on his awakening realised that in the past all he was doing was clinging to the aggregates as a self and took them up as a self, as an abode.

He didnt look back and just saw rupa being born and dying, this is so basic dont you think for something to be realised when being enlightened?

What is the origin of identitiy? the five aggregates effected by clinging.
Last edited by clw_uk on Wed Feb 11, 2009 11:33 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: The Danger of Rebirth

Postby Ngawang Drolma. » Wed Feb 11, 2009 11:32 pm

That lots of people hold rebirth as a centerpiece in their practice might be a strawman.
Peter has said this before and I agreed: the only time rebirth is really discussed a lot is when someone is objecting to it.

:namaste:

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Re: The Danger of Rebirth

Postby tiltbillings » Wed Feb 11, 2009 11:32 pm

clw_uk wrote:
Also this sutta is a dicussion with a jain who holds views of self and rebirth.


But, there is nothing in what you have said shows us that we need to take the words other than how they are spoken. That the Buddha was talking to a Jain does not change that fact. You are pushing into Mahayana territory of the Buddha lying to speak the truth, a claim soundly rejected in the Pali suttas.

Since I have provided suttas to back my points, can anyone show me a sutta where rebirth is taught as supermundane, connected with emptiness and liberation?

Can any one show me a sutta where it states Rebirth view does not have effluents?


MN 36.
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 Danger of Rebirth

Postby clw_uk » Wed Feb 11, 2009 11:34 pm

Drolma wrote:That lots of people hold rebirth as a centerpiece in their practice might be a strawman.
Peter has said this before and I agreed: the only time rebirth is really discussed a lot is when someone is objecting to it.

:namaste:



I object to it being held as central, as something that someone needs to reach nibbana, not the view itself as long as it is seen as mundane, as view that is still patchy.
“The Great Way is not difficult for those who have no preferences. When love and hate are both absent, everything becomes clear and undisguised." Verses on the Faith Mind, Sengcan

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Re: The Danger of Rebirth

Postby clw_uk » Wed Feb 11, 2009 11:38 pm

tiltbillings wrote:
clw_uk wrote:
Also this sutta is a dicussion with a jain who holds views of self and rebirth.


But, there is nothing in what you have said shows us that we need to take the words other than how they are spoken. That the Buddha was talking to a Jain does not change that fact. You are pushing into Mahayana territory of the Buddha lying to speak the truth, a claim soundly rejected in the Pali suttas.

Since I have provided suttas to back my points, can anyone show me a sutta where rebirth is taught as supermundane, connected with emptiness and liberation?

Can any one show me a sutta where it states Rebirth view does not have effluents?


MN 36.


It is important that the person was a jain. This is because the buddha would know that he held the view of self, of kamma and rebirth.

If he jumped in with emptiness then the jain would mistake him for a annhilationist and would avert from the teachings.


This sutta does not deal with supermundane view only mundane view.

I have stated what is meant by the buddha saying he recalled his past lives, his past sense of self.

:namaste:
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Re: The Danger of Rebirth

Postby Prasadachitta » Wed Feb 11, 2009 11:39 pm

clw_uk wrote:
The only time I am concerned about how people treat the idea of rebirth is when it makes them uncomfortable and they deny that it has any potential. I think it tends to indicate a very limited and fixed self view. From what is being said above I would not characterize Element and Clw_uk in this way.


Thank you for your understanding, sometimes i think people mistake what I say as views born from aversion which is not the case.

I hold that there cannot be rebirth because of my understanding of emptiness, not because im a modern western buddhist who is adverse to anything spiritual.

I have arrived at my current position through growth in the dhamma, not aversion.


Hi Clw_uk,

I dont think we are really that far off except that you are declaring that rebirth cannot be and I see no reason to say such a thing. Your understanding of emptiness has led you to let go of your previous view of rebirth and mine has led me to let go of my previous view of materiality. I have always seen the Niddana chain as describing the arising and passing away of momentary experience but in the last few years I have accepted that I have no real reason to say that this kind of conditionality cant include rebirth.

What concerns me is that the kind of language that you are using will just lead to reinforcing the views of people who are not spiritually inclined. There are ways to express the need to let go of fixed views while reinforcing those which support long term "mundane" benefit. The Buddha did it and I think we should follow his lead.

Metta

Gabe
Last edited by Prasadachitta on Wed Feb 11, 2009 11:43 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: The Danger of Rebirth

Postby clw_uk » Wed Feb 11, 2009 11:41 pm

You are pushing into Mahayana territory of the Buddha lying to speak the truth, a claim soundly rejected in the Pali suttas



The Awakened One, best of speakers,
Spoke two kinds of truths:
The conventional and the ultimate.
A third truth does not obtain.

Therein:
The speech wherewith the world converses is true
On account of its being agreed upon by the world.
The speech which describes what is ultimate is also true,
Through characterizing dhammas as they really are.


Therefore, being skilled in common usage,
False speech does not arise in the Teacher,
Who is Lord of the World,
When he speaks according to conventions.
(Mn. i. 95)



Birth in normal sene means rupa birth, dhamma truth means birth of self, same for death etc.
“The Great Way is not difficult for those who have no preferences. When love and hate are both absent, everything becomes clear and undisguised." Verses on the Faith Mind, Sengcan

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Re: The Danger of Rebirth

Postby clw_uk » Wed Feb 11, 2009 11:47 pm

Hi Clw_uk,

I dont think we are really that far off except that you are declaring that rebirth cannot be and I see no reason to say such a thing. Your understanding of emptiness has led you to let you of your previous view of rebirth and mine has led me to let go of my previous view of materiality. I have always seen the Niddana chain as describing the arising and passing away of momentary experience but in the last few years I have accepted that I have no real reason to say that this kind of conditionality cant include rebirth.

What concerns me is that the kind of language that you are using will just lead to reinforcing the views of people who are not spiritually inclined. There are ways to express the need to let go of fixed views while reinforcing those which support long term "mundane" benefit. The Buddha did it and I think we should follow his lead.

Metta

Gabe



My problem with rebirth in of it self is that it is a teaching of eternalism, that was its intent. In truth there is no rebirth because there is no "I" to be eternal.

"What concerns me is that the kind of language that you are using will just lead to reinforcing the views of people who are not spiritually inclined"

I dont mean to say the buddha didnt teach rebirth, but there must be understanding that rebirth is not central. This is my main point. It is good to start with. But maybe I am putting it accross the wrong way, i am not an arahant or an ajahn so my ability to put accross teachings and insight correctly is limited.

Hope this is free of straw men lol

:namaste:
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Re: The Danger of Rebirth

Postby retrofuturist » Thu Feb 12, 2009 12:00 am

Greetings Craig,

Perhaps you would prefer the term "post-mortem continuance" to "rebirth", because when one understands idappaccayata, it is evident that there is nothing to "re".

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


Dharma Wheel (Mahayana / Vajrayana forum) -- Open flower ~ Open book (blog)

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Re: The Danger of Rebirth

Postby clw_uk » Thu Feb 12, 2009 12:14 am

retrofuturist wrote:Greetings Craig,

Perhaps you would prefer the term "post-mortem continuance" to "rebirth", because when one understands idappaccayata, it is evident that there is nothing to "re".

Metta,
Retro. :)


I dont deny that Lord Buddha taught rebirth, just one needs to remember why he taught it, who he taught it to and what his actual core teachings were.

If dealing with mundane dhamma and discussing it with someone who can only understand the mundane I have no problem with using the term rebirth if i feel they cant understand emptiness. It was meant as an eternalist teaching and who am I to question Lord Buddhas decision to teach it this way but I would never emphasize it.

If refering to supermundane dhamma, I would not use rebirth at all or post mortem continuance. I would say that according to my understanding of emptiness there is no rebirth, no post mortem continuance because there is no "Craig", "I", "you", that gets reborn or continues. To ask if or what gets reborn is not in accord with anatta.

This thread has been about how today many Buddhists start with the mundane and stick to it, not willing to see there is no Rebirth. Not being able to see the distinction between rebirth being taught as mundane, wordly dhamma and the true supermundane dhamma. It has been held up as the centre piece of the buddhadhamma and anyone who tries to show the true dhamma gets accused of not being a buddhist, this I will never accept because it goes against everything that Lord Buddhas higher dhamma taught.

(P.S I dont think of all buddhists in this way just the overwhelming majority that I have encountered)
“The Great Way is not difficult for those who have no preferences. When love and hate are both absent, everything becomes clear and undisguised." Verses on the Faith Mind, Sengcan

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Re: The Danger of Rebirth

Postby retrofuturist » Thu Feb 12, 2009 12:24 am

Greetings Craig,

clw_uk wrote:If refering to supermundane dhamma, I would not use rebirth at all or post mortem continuance. I would say that according to my understanding of emptiness there is no rebirth, no post mortem continuance because there is no "Craig", "I", "you", that gets reborn or continues. To ask if or what gets reborn is not in accord with anatta.


Right View with effluents is still right view... it's tainted only to the extent that it infers a self along with it. As you pointed out earlier, the Buddha does teach that each fares according to their deeds. The Buddha certainly did not teach that vipaka is escaped through death.

According to the suttas, there is continuation after death, but you're right to suggest that the Buddha didn't describe the inner mechanics of the process in any great detail. Therefore I think it is enough to know that it simply is.

If you can eradicate the taints from "Right View with effluents" then that's great... but such a transition does not in any way negate the reality of post-mortem continuation as taught in the suttas.

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 Danger of Rebirth

Postby Ben » Thu Feb 12, 2009 12:47 am

clw_uk wrote:
You are pushing into Mahayana territory of the Buddha lying to speak the truth, a claim soundly rejected in the Pali suttas



The Awakened One, best of speakers,
Spoke two kinds of truths:
The conventional and the ultimate.
A third truth does not obtain.

Therein:
The speech wherewith the world converses is true
On account of its being agreed upon by the world.
The speech which describes what is ultimate is also true,
Through characterizing dhammas as they really are.


Therefore, being skilled in common usage,
False speech does not arise in the Teacher,
Who is Lord of the World,
When he speaks according to conventions.
(Mn. i. 95)


Birth in normal sene means rupa birth, dhamma truth means birth of self, same for death etc.


Hi Craig

When using the term 'ultimate reality' paramattha when set against 'conventional' truth or reality sammuti, we should be clear about what they mean. Personally, I think it is a mistake to use the terms 'ultimate' and 'conventional' when discussing the skillful means (Upaya) perceived in the texts.

v2 The fourfold Ultimate Reality (Catudha paramattha)

Tattha vutt'abhidhamattha
Catudha paramatthato
Cittam Cetasikam rupam
Nibannam iti sabbatha.


The things contained in the Abhidhamma, spoken of therin, are altogether fourfold from the standpoint of ultimate reality: consciousness, mental factors, matter, and Nibbana.

-- Cittasangaha in Acariya Anurrudha's Abhiddhammatha Sangaha translated by Bhikkhu Bodhi and Narada Thera


Narada Thera and Bhikkhu Bodhi's notes to the above verse:

Guide to v. 2
From the standpoint of ultimate reality (paramatthato): According to the Abhidhamma philosophy, there are two kinds of realities - the conventional (sammuti) and the ultimate (paramattha). Conventional realities are referents of ordinary conceptual thought (pannatti) and conventional modes of expression (vohara). They include such entities as living beings, persons, men, women, animals, and the apparently stable persisting objects that constitute our unanalyzed picture of the world. The Abhidhamma philosophy maintains that these notions do not possess ultimate validity, for the objects which they signify do not exist in their own right as irreducible realities. Their mode of being is conceptual, not actual. They are the products of mental construction (parikappana) not realities existing by reason of their own nature.
Ultimate realities, in contrast, are things that exist by reason of their own intrinsic nature (sabhava). These are the dhammas: the final, irreducible components of existence, the ultimate entities which result from a correctly performed analysis of experience. Such existents admit no further reduction, but are themselves the final terms of analysis, the true constituents of the complex manifold experience. Hence the word paramattha is applied to them, which is derived from parama = ultimate, highest, final and attha = reality, thing.
The ultimate realities are characterized not only from the ontological angle as the ultimate existents, but also from the epistemological angle as the ultimate objects of right knowledge. As one extracts oil from sesame seed, so one can extract ultimate realities from the conventional realities. For example 'being' and 'man' and 'woman' are concepts suggesting that the things they signify possess irreducible ultimate unity. However, when we wisely investigate these things with the analytical tools of the Abhidhamma, we find that they do not poessess the ultimacy implied by the concepts, but only a conventional reality as an assemblage of impermanent factors, of mental and physical processes. Thus by examining the conventional realities with wisdom, we eventually arrive at the objective actualities that lie behind our conceptual constructs. It is these objective actualities - the dhammas, which maintain their intrinsic natures independently of the mind's constructive functions - that form the ultimate realities of the Abhidhamma.
Although ultimate realities exist as the concrete essences of things, they are so subtle and profound that an ordinary person who lacks training cannot perceive them. Such a person cannot see the ultimate realities because his mind is obscured by concepts, which shape reality into conventionally defined appearences. Only by means of wise or thorough attention to things (yoniso manasikara) can one see beyond the concepts and take the ultimate realities as one's object of knowledge. Thus paramattha is described as that which belongs to the domain of ultimate or supreme knowledge*.

* Paramassa uttamassa nanassa attho gocaro. Vibhv.

-- Compendium of Consciousness inA comprehensive manual of the Abhidhamma, by Bhikkhu Bodhi and Narada Thera


My apologies for the lack of diacritics. Any typological errors are my own.
Metta

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saṇantā yanti kusobbhā,
tuṇhīyanti mahodadhī.

Sutta Nipata 3.725

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Re: The Danger of Rebirth

Postby puthujjana » Thu Feb 12, 2009 7:57 am

clw_uk wrote:Rebirth is an eternalist doctrine that the buddha teached to lay and brahmins.


No. There are many suttas where the Buddha talked to monks about birth after the breakup of the body.

For example MN12 in which the Buddha speaks to Sariputta about the "ten Powers of a Tathagata"

...the Tathagata recollects his manifold past lives... / ...with the divine eye, which is purified and surpasses the human, the Tathagata sees beings passing away and reappearing...

and "the five destinations and nibbana"

...And I also understand how one who has entered this path will, on the dissolution of the body, after death, reappear in a state of...

If you cut rebirth out of the suttas then many of them make no sense anymore. So you have to read the suttas somehow interpretative and say the Buddha talked metaphorically. But when the Buddha gave a metaphor he made it clear: "Suppose, monks,..."

Rebirth is part of the Dhamma and it's not eternalism. It's the middle way.
There were many philosophical theories during the time of the Buddha and you can group them into eternalism and anihilism. The first is the hindu belief: there is a permanent soul etc. The second is the belief that most westerners have today: there is nothing after death.
Rebirth in a buddhist way is the middle way between those beliefs: There are existing phenomena which arise in dependence and pass away in dependence, but there is no soul, no self, no me, no I. And after the breakup of the body there arise further phenomena as long as there are ignorance and craving.

In my opinion there is much more danger if you don't belief in rebirth:
If there is no rebirth then why practice at all? You can sit down and wait for death because after it you are free from dukkha.
Furthermore morality isn't much important because there is no fruit of good or bad actions after death.
Most westerners hold the view that there is only this life and therefore they fall into a form of hedonism and don't even think about practicing the dhamma because it's renunciation.

Samsara is ongoing birth, aging and death as long as there is enough fuel for it. If you see this then there is much more motivation for practice because if you don't end suffering in this life there will be further suffering in the next life.
"Once you understand anatta, then the burden of life is gone. You’ll be at peace with the world. When we see beyond self, we no longer cling to happiness and we can truly be happy."
- Ajahn Chah

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Jechbi
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Re: The Danger of Rebirth

Postby Jechbi » Thu Feb 12, 2009 8:09 am

clw_uk wrote:This thread has been about how today many Buddhists start with the mundane and stick to it, not willing to see there is no Rebirth. Not being able to see the distinction between rebirth being taught as mundane, wordly dhamma and the true supermundane dhamma. It has been held up as the centre piece of the buddhadhamma and anyone who tries to show the true dhamma gets accused of not being a buddhist, this I will never accept because it goes against everything that Lord Buddhas higher dhamma taught.
Sorry, I don't understand why attaining supermundane right view would involve abandoning mundane right view. Are the two somehow incompatible? I think the more likely problem is getting them mixed up. (If this point was made by someone else earlier, I missed it. Apologies in that case.)
:namaste:
Last edited by retrofuturist on Thu Feb 12, 2009 8:11 am, edited 1 time in total.
Reason: corrected attribution of quote
Rain soddens what is kept wrapped up,
But never soddens what is open;
Uncover, then, what is concealed,
Lest it be soddened by the rain.


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