Not believing in life after death

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Not believing in life after death

Postby zooropa1844 » Thu Nov 12, 2009 9:46 pm

Can you be a follower of the Noble Eithtfold Path and the Fourth Noble Truths and at the same time not believing in any kind of life after death or any other different worlds from the one we live in? And the same question not believing in any kind of literal rebirth whatsoever?

Are there any of you that consider himself/herself a sound buddhist and doesn't believe in those other worlds or literal rebirth? Can anyone be a theravada buddhist without believing in life after death.

Regards

Javi
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Re: Not believing in life after death

Postby mikenz66 » Thu Nov 12, 2009 10:03 pm

Welcome Javi,

There is already a long thread on this subject here:
viewtopic.php?f=16&t=41

Metta
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Re: Not believing in life after death

Postby Bhikkhu Pesala » Thu Nov 12, 2009 11:01 pm

zooropa1844 wrote:Can you be a follower of the Noble Eightfold Path and the Fourth Noble Truths and at the same time not believing in any kind of life after death or any other different worlds from the one we live in? And the same question not believing in any kind of literal rebirth whatsoever?

One should first try to understand the difference between belief and knowledge. Whether you believe that there is literal rebirth after death, or no literal rebirth after death, you're still stuck with a belief. One view might be right while another may be wrong, but attachment to views causes suffering, so it is better to keep an open mind. Understanding cannot arise while clinging to views.

Then one should study to gain mundane right view, and practise seriously to gain the insight knowledge that leads to supramundane right view.

To follow the Noble Eightfold Path, one needs to avoid the extreme wrong views of Eternalism (I will be reborn after death) and Nihilism (I will not be reborn after death).

Three kinds of craving must be abandoned: sensual craving (kāmataṇhā), craving for existence (bhavataṇhā), and craving for non-existence (vibhavataṇhā).
"This, monks, is the noble truth of the cause of suffering: this craving that leads to repeated becoming (punabhavo), taking delight now here, now there, namely: craving for sensual pleasures, craving for existence, and craving for non-existence."

Craving for existence means the extreme view of eternalism; craving for non-existence means the extreme view of Nihilim (this is not, as some think, the wish to commit suicide, but the wish to enjoy life without contemplating one's inevitable death and the consequences of one's own actions in this life after death).
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Re: Not believing in life after death

Postby BlackBird » Fri Nov 13, 2009 1:56 am

Bhikkhu Pesala wrote:To follow the Noble Eightfold Path, one needs to avoid the extreme wrong views of Eternalism (I will be reborn after death) and Nihilism (I will not be reborn after death).


This is something I have quite some trouble with. I'm sorry to the OP for the hijack, but I'm keen to learn where (or if) I'm going wrong.

My understanding thus far, is that it is the illusion of a self (if you will) that is reborn. So speaking in the conventional sense, it is us that will experience either the states of woe or (if we work very hard at this) the fortunate states such as human realm or the heavens, in that regard in a cosmic sense - we have an extremely important impetus to practice, if we slip through the net and fall into the lower realms it could be many eons before we get another chance at this. The issue from the Dhamma perspective is that there is nothing that transmigrates in reality, the kammic process gives rise to a new set of khandas and with it more greed hatred delusion, craving and clinging and thus more dukkha. The problem being we don't see it that way - I don't see it that way... I mean it sounds great in theory and I want to see it, but it's not something you can just conceptually understand and go "great, now I know anatta" it's something that must be understood through deep insight meditation. Furthermore we have to be careful that just because these 5 khanda that 'we have now will not transmigrate, that we do not identify with these khanda intellectually, and fall into the wrong view of annihilationism ie. 'I am not the one who will experience the fruit of my kamma in a future existence, because it will be another 5 khanda and thus another being.'

Am I on the right track with this?

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Re: Not believing in life after death

Postby A Medic » Fri Nov 13, 2009 2:31 am

My personal belief on life after death is I don't have any idea, and I don't care. I just don't think it is worth my time to focus, and question life after death. Rebirth makes the most sense to me.
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Re: Not believing in life after death

Postby Dugu » Fri Nov 13, 2009 3:43 am

Life coming into existence in the first place is far more unbelievable than life reappearing after death.
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Re: Not believing in life after death

Postby pink_trike » Fri Nov 13, 2009 3:53 am

Dugu wrote:Life coming into existence in the first place is far more unbelievable than life reappearing after death.

What makes life appearing after death more believable?
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Re: Not believing in life after death

Postby Dugu » Fri Nov 13, 2009 4:11 am

pink_trike wrote:
Dugu wrote:Life coming into existence in the first place is far more unbelievable than life reappearing after death.

What makes life appearing after death more believable?


If one has no life to reference to, then life after death would be of no meaning. So life existing in the first place is more significant more unbelievable.
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Re: Not believing in life after death

Postby tiltbillings » Fri Nov 13, 2009 4:32 am

zooropa1844 wrote:Can you be a follower of the Noble Eithtfold Path and the Fourth Noble Truths and at the same time not believing in any kind of life after death or any other different worlds from the one we live in? And the same question not believing in any kind of literal rebirth whatsoever?

Are there any of you that consider himself/herself a sound buddhist and doesn't believe in those other worlds or literal rebirth? Can anyone be a theravada buddhist without believing in life after death.

Regards

Javi

You can get into all sorts of convoluted and endless and fruitless discussions over this, but by far the best thing to do is to do the practice. The question will take care of itself in time.
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.

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Re: Not believing in life after death

Postby Sanghamitta » Fri Nov 13, 2009 8:48 am

tiltbillings wrote:
zooropa1844 wrote:Can you be a follower of the Noble Eithtfold Path and the Fourth Noble Truths and at the same time not believing in any kind of life after death or any other different worlds from the one we live in? And the same question not believing in any kind of literal rebirth whatsoever?

Are there any of you that consider himself/herself a sound buddhist and doesn't believe in those other worlds or literal rebirth? Can anyone be a theravada buddhist without believing in life after death.

Regards

Javi

You can get into all sorts of convoluted and endless and fruitless discussions over this, but by far the best thing to do is to do the practice. The question will take care of itself in time.

That was my experience. I had a number of objections to the idea of Rebith , largely formed as part of a rejection of Christianity and in fact of religion in general. Over time and after time spent in meditation practice, rather than thinking things through which just led round and round in circles, I could see that all of the Buddhas teaching formed a seamless whole, and the problem was no longer a problem. This in actuality happened over several years of heart searching and study.
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Re: Not believing in life after death

Postby zooropa1844 » Fri Nov 13, 2009 9:12 am

Thank you all of you for your advise and opinions (and the link). They have been really helpful. I've gathered some gems in your posts and that's enough for the moment to overcome my concern on this issue and keep on discovering the Dhamma.

Javi
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Re: Not believing in life after death

Postby clw_uk » Fri Nov 13, 2009 2:00 pm

Can you be a follower of the Noble Eithtfold Path and the Fourth Noble Truths and at the same time not believing in any kind of life after death or any other different worlds from the one we live in? And the same question not believing in any kind of literal rebirth whatsoever?


Seeing as how the Four Noble Truths and the NEFP dont have rebirth within them I would say yes you dont have to take up a view of rebirth after death. The Buddha advised us to let go of all views


And how is there the yoke of views? There is the case where a certain person does not discern, as it actually is present, the origination, the passing away, the allure, the drawbacks, & the escape from views. When he does not discern, as it actually is present, the origination, the passing away, the allure, the drawbacks, & the escape from views, then — with regard to views — he is obsessed with view-passion, view-delight, view-attraction, view-infatuation, view-thirst, view-fever, view-fascination, view-craving. This is the yoke of sensuality, the yoke of becoming, & the yoke of views.


http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... html#views

Are there any of you that consider himself/herself a sound buddhist and doesn't believe in those other worlds or literal rebirth? Can anyone be a theravada buddhist without believing in life after death.


I dont take the view of rebirth post mortem and I practice the NEFP, take refuge etc. There are also some monks that do the same and yes you can be a Theravada Buddhist without the view just as you can with the view


In general though the important thing is practice, the 4 noble truths/ Noble Eight Fold Path, 3 marks and four foundations of mindfulness etc dont worry about if's buts and maybes about death




The following is by Ajahn Sumedho


The only thing that’s certain about the future—the death of the body—is something we try to ignore. Just thinking about the word death stops the mind, doesn’t it? It does for me. It’s not particularly polite or politically correct to speak of death in casual conversation. What is death? What will happen when I die? Not knowing upsets us. But it is unknown, isn’t it? We don’t know what will happen when the body dies.We have various theories—like reincarnation or being rewarded by a better rebirth or being punished by a worse birth. Some people speculate that once you’ve attained human birth, you may still be reborn as a lower creature. And then there’s the school that says no, once you’ve taken birth in the human form, then you cannot be reborn as a lower creature. Or the belief in oblivion—once you’re dead, you’re dead. That’s it. Nothing left. Finito. The truth of the matter is that nobody really knows. So we often just ignore it or suppress it.

But this is all happening in the now. We’re thinking of the concept of death in the present. The way the word death affects consciousness is like this. This is knowing not knowing in the now. It’s not trying to prove any theory. It’s knowing: the breath is like this; the body like this; the moods and mental states are like this. This is developing the path. Saying “like this” is just a way of reminding oneself to see this moment as it is rather than to be caught in some idea that we’ve got to do something or find something or control something or get rid of something.



http://www.what-buddha-taught.net/Books ... nd_Now.htm


Hope this helps

metta
Last edited by clw_uk on Fri Nov 13, 2009 4:10 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Not believing in life after death

Postby tiltbillings » Fri Nov 13, 2009 3:36 pm

clw_uk wrote:
Can you be a follower of the Noble Eithtfold Path and the Fourth Noble Truths and at the same time not believing in any kind of life after death or any other different worlds from the one we live in? And the same question not believing in any kind of literal rebirth whatsoever?


Seeing as how the Four Noble Truths and the NEFP dont have rebirth within them. . . .

Actually, in the one of the several there is/there is not rebirth in the Buddha's teachings threads this statement has been carefully and textually shown not be true. As I said, the discussions around this subject get convoluted and endless and fruitless.

As I said to zooropa1844, do not worry about locking your self into a point of view one way or another. Do the practice, study the texts, and don't get caught up in the opinions of others.

[And as a Moderator note: This thread in not a place to start up these debates all over again. Any one of the several threads that has addressed this issue of there is/there is not rebirth in the Buddha's teachings can be used to further one's argument.]
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond.
SN I, 38.

Ar scáth a chéile a mhaireas na daoine.
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Re: Not believing in life after death

Postby clw_uk » Fri Nov 13, 2009 3:42 pm

Actually, in the one of the several there is/there is not rebirth in the Buddha's teachings threads this statement has been carefully and textually shown not be true. As I said, the discussions around this subject get convoluted and endless and fruitless.



I disagree however as you say this isnt a place to repeat the same old arguments



As I said to zooropa1844, do not worry about locking your self into a point of view one way or another. Do the practice, study the texts, and don't get caught up in the opinions of others.



I agree, being locked into a view is the last thing any of us want (if there is to be nibbana)

And how is there the yoke of views? There is the case where a certain person does not discern, as it actually is present, the origination, the passing away, the allure, the drawbacks, & the escape from views. When he does not discern, as it actually is present, the origination, the passing away, the allure, the drawbacks, & the escape from views, then — with regard to views — he is obsessed with view-passion, view-delight, view-attraction, view-infatuation, view-thirst, view-fever, view-fascination, view-craving. This is the yoke of sensuality, the yoke of becoming, & the yoke of views.



http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... html#views

metta
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Re: Not believing in life after death

Postby BubbaBuddhist » Mon Nov 16, 2009 8:33 pm

I pop into the internet every three months to see if anything new is going on. Nothing ever is. Hello to all my friends! But I have been meditating heavily. So I'll say this: It's foolish to even consider questions like this until one has cultivated IMMENSE wisdom. It's a complete waste of time. Get off the internet; it's the wisest and best move I've ever made since I left my first wife and added ten years to my life!

To the end of suffering, and see you again in three months,

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Re: Not believing in life after death

Postby LauraJ » Mon Nov 16, 2009 9:08 pm

Bubbabuddhist wrote:I pop into the internet every three months to see if anything new is going on. Nothing ever is. Hello to all my friends! But I have been meditating heavily. So I'll say this: It's foolish to even consider questions like this until one has cultivated IMMENSE wisdom. It's a complete waste of time. Get off the internet; it's the wisest and best move I've ever made since I left my first wife and added ten years to my life!

To the end of suffering, and see you again in three months,

John R


Thanks John :bow:
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Re: Not believing in life after death

Postby LauraJ » Mon Nov 16, 2009 9:09 pm

Oops, as to the OP. It's my personal belief that the position one takes on rebirth shouldn't stop someone from practicing.

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Re: Not believing in life after death

Postby zooropa1844 » Mon Nov 16, 2009 11:17 pm

"It's a waste of time (and foolish) to consider those questions before having cultivated immense wisdom"

I'm afraid it's going to be the same after having cultivated immense wisdom. Escaping from Reality can't be good at any point of the way, neither at the beginning nor at the end of the path.

But I respect people who disagree on this point.

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Re: Not believing in life after death

Postby retrofuturist » Tue Nov 17, 2009 12:18 am

Greetings John,

:hello:

Bubbabuddhist wrote:But I have been meditating heavily. So I'll say this: It's foolish to even consider questions like this until one has cultivated IMMENSE wisdom. It's a complete waste of time. Get off the internet


But if we'd been on the Internet, we could have read the Brahmajala Sutta and know this already! ;)

Or as Venerable Nanananda says in Nibbana Sermon 9 (downloadable off the Internet :tongue: )...

The sixty-two wrong views in the Brahmajālasutta are seen to fade away before the light of wisdom coming from the nonmanifestative consciousness of the Buddha. The narrow beams of sixty-two wrong views faded in the broader flood of light that is wisdom.

Those heretics who propounded those wrong views, conceived them by dogmatically holding on to name-and-form. They got entangled in name-and-form, and those views were the product of speculative logic based on it.


Venerable Nanananda is cool. 8-)

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Re: Not believing in life after death

Postby mikenz66 » Tue Nov 17, 2009 2:02 am

retrofuturist wrote:But if we'd been on the Internet, we could have read the Brahmajala Sutta and know this already! ...

Is a bit (or a lot) of reading sufficient to really understand?

Mike
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