What is the Theravadan Aim for Rebirth?

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shjohnk
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What is the Theravadan Aim for Rebirth?

Postby shjohnk » Wed Jul 15, 2009 5:07 am

In 'Pure Land' mahayana Buddhism, the clear goal for practitioners is rebirth in Amitabha Buddha's Western Pureland, so they are taught to chant Amitabha's title whilst dying,and then rebirth in the 'Pureland' is guaranteed. I have heard talks given by Western Theravadan teachers where comments are made that seem to suggest that most people listening to the talk will be reborn as humans, so there doesn't seem to be any real urgency to practice. This is confusing for me because the Buddha described birth in the human realm as being incredibly rare, and talks I have heard by Chinese Mahayana monks also emphasize that the majority of people who do not practice Buddhadhamma are destined for lower realm rebirth. So, my question is, what should be the rebirth aim for a Theravadan? Should we be aiming for rebirth as a human or a Deva? This seems unwise, as these beings will still be trapped in Samsara and we may not meet the Dhamma again in the next life. So is the best aim to become a 'Stream Winner' (Sotapanna) in this life? Sorry for the longwinded question and thanks for any answers! Metta.

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Ngawang Drolma.
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Re: What is the Theravadan Aim for Rebirth?

Postby Ngawang Drolma. » Wed Jul 15, 2009 5:11 am



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Ben
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Re: What is the Theravadan Aim for Rebirth?

Postby Ben » Wed Jul 15, 2009 5:32 am

“No lists of things to be done. The day providential to itself. The hour. There is no later. This is later. All things of grace and beauty such that one holds them to one's heart have a common provenance in pain. Their birth in grief and ashes.”
- Cormac McCarthy, The Road

Learn this from the waters:
in mountain clefts and chasms,
loud gush the streamlets,
but great rivers flow silently.
- Sutta Nipata 3.725

(Buddhist aid in Myanmar) • •

e: [email protected]..

shjohnk
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Re: What is the Theravadan Aim for Rebirth?

Postby shjohnk » Wed Jul 15, 2009 5:50 am

Hi Ben, thanks for the confirmation: i figured the goal was stream entry. It would be good to hear more talks where this is stressed: the urgency of achieving this in THIS life. It seems to me that many talks by popular Western theravadan teachers are too 'touchy feely'. After you listen to them, you think 'Well, that's OK then. I may be full of defilements but i can get rid of those in my next life!'. The catch is if you don't practice with urgency now, the chances are you are going to be spinning through the lower realms for the next few aeons! Sort of like missing a bus and then seeing that the next one is scheduled to arrive in 100 trillion years, and the weather has just turned nasty... I think people need to remember that the Buddha was not a new age hippy! He taught that Samasara is suffering and you need to get out NOW! OK, rant over. :) Thanks again, Ben, and drolma, for your answers! Metta.

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retrofuturist
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Re: What is the Theravadan Aim for Rebirth?

Postby retrofuturist » Wed Jul 15, 2009 5:57 am

"Do not force others, including children, by any means whatsoever, to adopt your views, whether by authority, threat, money, propaganda, or even education." - Ven. Thich Nhat Hanh

"The uprooting of identity is seen by the noble ones as pleasurable; but this contradicts what the whole world sees." (Snp 3.12)

"To argue with a person who has renounced the use of reason is like administering medicine to the dead" - Thomas Paine

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cooran
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Re: What is the Theravadan Aim for Rebirth?

Postby cooran » Wed Jul 15, 2009 6:01 am

Hello shjohnk, all,

From the Sutta teachings of the Buddha:

How to recognise a Lay Stream Enterer
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html

How to recognise and become a Person of Integrity
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html

The Way to Stream-entry
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/study/stream.html

Stream-entry and After
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/study/stream2.html


metta
Chris
---The trouble is that you think you have time---
---Worry is the Interest, paid in advance, on a debt you may never owe---
---It's not what happens to you in life that is important ~ it's what you do with it ---

shjohnk
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Re: What is the Theravadan Aim for Rebirth?

Postby shjohnk » Wed Jul 15, 2009 6:13 am

Cheers Chris! I'll read that info.
Retro: :lol: don't want to come over as a fanatic or something, I'm not - But I think some people, westerners mostly, DO have that idea of Buddhism, that its a philosophy where everything is OK, when actually the Buddha's final words before parinibbana were used to exhort his disciples to strive with urgency on their salvation.

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mikenz66
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Re: What is the Theravadan Aim for Rebirth?

Postby mikenz66 » Wed Jul 15, 2009 10:45 am


Individual
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Re: What is the Theravadan Aim for Rebirth?

Postby Individual » Wed Jul 15, 2009 2:35 pm

Ben summed it up well.
The best things in life aren't things.


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andrewuk
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Re: What is the Theravadan Aim for Rebirth?

Postby andrewuk » Wed Jul 15, 2009 4:05 pm

Meditate, don't be negligent, lest you may later regret it!

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cooran
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Re: What is the Theravadan Aim for Rebirth?

Postby cooran » Wed Jul 15, 2009 7:23 pm

Hello Andrew,

It's AN 5.179 Gihi Sutta: The Householder
I'll try again:

How to recognise a Lay Stream Enterer
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html

metta
Chris
---The trouble is that you think you have time---
---Worry is the Interest, paid in advance, on a debt you may never owe---
---It's not what happens to you in life that is important ~ it's what you do with it ---

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Guy
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Re: What is the Theravadan Aim for Rebirth?

Postby Guy » Thu Jul 16, 2009 12:53 am

Four types of letting go:

1) Giving; expecting nothing back in return
2) Throwing things away
3) Contentment; wanting to be here, not wanting to be anywhere else
4) "Teflon Mind"; having a mind which doesn't accumulate things

- Ajahn Brahm

rowyourboat
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Re: What is the Theravadan Aim for Rebirth?

Postby rowyourboat » Thu Jul 16, 2009 9:13 am

yes having stream entry as a goal cannot be talked of enough. I think a buddhist must be prepared to go to any part of the world at some point in their lives to seek this out if the cant find a path to it easily nearby..
With Metta

Karuna
Mudita
& Upekkha

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Ben
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Re: What is the Theravadan Aim for Rebirth?

Postby Ben » Thu Jul 16, 2009 9:33 am

“No lists of things to be done. The day providential to itself. The hour. There is no later. This is later. All things of grace and beauty such that one holds them to one's heart have a common provenance in pain. Their birth in grief and ashes.”
- Cormac McCarthy, The Road

Learn this from the waters:
in mountain clefts and chasms,
loud gush the streamlets,
but great rivers flow silently.
- Sutta Nipata 3.725

(Buddhist aid in Myanmar) • •

e: [email protected]..

EOD
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Re: What is the Theravadan Aim for Rebirth?

Postby EOD » Mon Sep 14, 2009 10:25 pm


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pink_trike
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Re: What is the Theravadan Aim for Rebirth?

Postby pink_trike » Mon Sep 14, 2009 10:36 pm

Vision is Mind
Mind is Empty
Emptiness is Clear Light
Clear Light is Union
Union is Great Bliss

- Dawa Gyaltsen

---

Disclaimer: I'm a non-religious practitioner of Theravada, Mahayana/Vajrayana, and Tibetan Bon Dzogchen mind-training.

kidd
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Re: What is the Theravadan Aim for Rebirth?

Postby kidd » Tue Sep 15, 2009 3:58 am

Since the Buddha taught that we have no souls and that nothing is permanent, what do you imagine is 'reborn'?

:juggling:

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Guy
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Re: What is the Theravadan Aim for Rebirth?

Postby Guy » Tue Sep 15, 2009 8:35 am

Hi Kidd,

My understanding is that it is the "stream of consciousness" which goes from life to life.This is impermanent since even consciousness momentarily comes and goes and can stop altogether. It is the "desire to be" that perpetuates this cycle of rebirth. Both consciousness and desire are empty/impersonal processes dependant on conditions rather than unchanging and independantly existing objects.

Please anyone correct me if I am wrong about any of this.

With Metta,

Guy
Four types of letting go:

1) Giving; expecting nothing back in return
2) Throwing things away
3) Contentment; wanting to be here, not wanting to be anywhere else
4) "Teflon Mind"; having a mind which doesn't accumulate things

- Ajahn Brahm

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tiltbillings
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Re: What is the Theravadan Aim for Rebirth?

Postby tiltbillings » Tue Sep 15, 2009 9:36 am


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clw_uk
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Re: What is the Theravadan Aim for Rebirth?

Postby clw_uk » Tue Sep 15, 2009 11:26 am

Unbowed, Unbent, Unbroken


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