Reincarnation Question.

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Re: Reincarnation Question.

Postby Tex » Thu Apr 29, 2010 5:03 pm

Gotama would have declined to answer your question:

I have heard that on one occasion the Blessed One was staying in Savatthi, at Jeta's Grove, Anathapindika's monastery. Then the wanderer Vacchagotta went to the Blessed One and, on arrival, exchanged courteous greetings with him. After an exchange of friendly greetings & courtesies, he sat to one side. As he was sitting there he asked the Blessed One: "How is it, Master Gotama, does Master Gotama hold the view: 'The cosmos is eternal: only this is true, anything otherwise is worthless'?"

"...no..."

"Then does Master Gotama hold the view: 'The cosmos is not eternal: only this is true, anything otherwise is worthless'?"

"...no..."

"Then does Master Gotama hold the view: 'The cosmos is finite: only this is true, anything otherwise is worthless'?"

"...no..."

"Then does Master Gotama hold the view: 'The cosmos is infinite: only this is true, anything otherwise is worthless'?"

"...no..."



And a little later in the same sutta:

"Vaccha, the position that 'the cosmos is eternal' is a thicket of views, a wilderness of views, a contortion of views, a writhing of views, a fetter of views. It is accompanied by suffering, distress, despair, & fever, and it does not lead to disenchantment, dispassion, cessation; to calm, direct knowledge, full Awakening, Unbinding.



He goes on to say the same thing about finite and infinite.

From: http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html

This simile is also helpful to understand why Buddha would have declined to answer your question:

"It's just as if a man were wounded with an arrow thickly smeared with poison. His friends & companions, kinsmen & relatives would provide him with a surgeon, and the man would say, 'I won't have this arrow removed until I know whether the man who wounded me was a noble warrior, a priest, a merchant, or a worker.' He would say, 'I won't have this arrow removed until I know the given name & clan name of the man who wounded me... until I know whether he was tall, medium, or short... until I know whether he was dark, ruddy-brown, or golden-colored... until I know his home village, town, or city... until I know whether the bow with which I was wounded was a long bow or a crossbow... until I know whether the bowstring with which I was wounded was fiber, bamboo threads, sinew, hemp, or bark... until I know whether the shaft with which I was wounded was wild or cultivated... until I know whether the feathers of the shaft with which I was wounded were those of a vulture, a stork, a hawk, a peacock, or another bird... until I know whether the shaft with which I was wounded was bound with the sinew of an ox, a water buffalo, a langur, or a monkey.' He would say, 'I won't have this arrow removed until I know whether the shaft with which I was wounded was that of a common arrow, a curved arrow, a barbed, a calf-toothed, or an oleander arrow.' The man would die and those things would still remain unknown to him.

. . .

"It's not the case that when there is the view, 'The cosmos is finite,' there is the living of the holy life. And it's not the case that when there is the view, 'The cosmos is infinite,' there is the living of the holy life. When there is the view, 'The cosmos is finite,' and when there is the view, 'The cosmos is infinite,' there is still the birth, there is the aging, there is the death, there is the sorrow, lamentation, pain, despair, & distress whose destruction I make known right in the here & now.


From: http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... tml#poison
"The serene and peaceful mind is the true epitome of human achievement."-- Ajahn Chah, Living Dhamma

"To reach beyond fear and danger we must sharpen and widen our vision. We have to pierce through the deceptions that lull us into a comfortable complacency, to take a straight look down into the depths of our existence, without turning away uneasily or running after distractions." -- Bhikkhu Bodhi
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Re: Reincarnation Question.

Postby p3rfect » Thu Apr 29, 2010 5:11 pm

So basicly it's a question that can't be fully answered?
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Re: Reincarnation Question.

Postby Tex » Thu Apr 29, 2010 5:21 pm

It's a question that doesn't need to be fully answered. The views "infinite" and "finite" are hindrances.
"The serene and peaceful mind is the true epitome of human achievement."-- Ajahn Chah, Living Dhamma

"To reach beyond fear and danger we must sharpen and widen our vision. We have to pierce through the deceptions that lull us into a comfortable complacency, to take a straight look down into the depths of our existence, without turning away uneasily or running after distractions." -- Bhikkhu Bodhi
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Re: Reincarnation Question.

Postby p3rfect » Thu Apr 29, 2010 5:26 pm

Tex wrote:It's a question that doesn't need to be fully answered. The views "infinite" and "finite" are hindrances.


I understand what you're saying and to you the question doesn't have to be answered and it may be a hindrance. But to others who don't share this belief system want an answer using this form of logic.
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Re: Reincarnation Question.

Postby PeterB » Thu Apr 29, 2010 5:32 pm

Well let them supply their own answer then... :smile: Its simply not answerable or relevant to a Buddhist.
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Re: Reincarnation Question.

Postby p3rfect » Thu Apr 29, 2010 5:35 pm

PeterB wrote:Well let them supply their own answer then... :smile: Its simply not answerable or relevant to a Buddhist.



Ok, true, true.

It was a nice discussion though. I am satisfied.

Thanks for the responces.
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Re: Reincarnation Question.

Postby PeterB » Thu Apr 29, 2010 6:13 pm

:anjali:
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Re: Reincarnation Question.

Postby jcsuperstar » Thu Apr 29, 2010 7:06 pm

are breaths finite or infinite, of course you die one day so then that means you will only have so many breaths but there is no set limit, nor is there the same number of breaths for everyone. you'll find, if you pay attention, that the universe doesn't owe us any answers and the ones it does give aren't always to our liking.
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: Reincarnation Question.

Postby Mawkish1983 » Thu Apr 29, 2010 7:23 pm

jcsuperstar wrote:are breaths finite or infinite
I think a better analogue would be the memory of breaths. I can't remember my first breath, nor indeed many many breaths at the beginning. My memory of breaths in the past is unbound... but at the end of this life there will be a final breath. In this body, my last memory of breaths will be of a final breath. The memory of breaths is bound at the end, but unbound at the beginning. Uncountable. Unknowable. Importantly: useless knowledge. All I know is now, this is an in-breath. This is an out-breath. This is an in-breath. This is an out-breath. Etc.

Similarly, this, now, is a birth.
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Re: Reincarnation Question.

Postby Chloe9 » Thu Apr 29, 2010 7:37 pm

If I may add my own insights and personal understandings to this thread:

Hindus believe in reincarnation, transmigration of soul, rebirth, or whatever it's called these days. The basic premise is that something living inside you [soul/atma] leaves your body and enters a new body, and is reborn life after life. So we end up with this strange picture of all these millions of souls on a merry-go-round that leads nowhere but round in a circle between mortal earthly lives.

The Buddha did not seem to like this idea. He seemed to believe that the idea of a soul was reified. So he countered the Doctrine of Atma [Atma: that which is reborn] with the insight of Anatta [No-Atma]. Basically in very simple terms the Buddha with the doctrine of Anatta directly opposed Brahmanism's belief that an Atma existed in the first place to even reincarnate. This was a very bold move, because in Buddha's days, Brahmanism was the reigning religion. It would be like a person challenging the Church's doctrines and teachings in the 1400's in Europe you see.

In place of reincarnation [as the meme is used and understood in Brahmanism and the Upanishadic Traditions] the Buddha taught two interconnected insights. I use the word "Insight" as opposed to "doctrine" in respect to what the Buddha taught because the word Doctrine has a feel that if you challenge it, you are a heretic, when the Buddha himself reminded us to use our own thinking to figure things out and to even challenge what he taught. Enlightenment does come from following and believing blindly in another persons teachings. Following and believing in another persons ideas actually goes against the concept of Sama Sambuddhi: The Self Enlightening Itself; or One Enlightening Oneself.

The two Insights the Buddha gave are not commonly studied by Buddhists. And when they are known and understood, the two are rarely put together. It's when you learn to put the two Insights together that you begin to see the bigger picture.

The first Insight directly deals with Samsara and is called the Bhavachakka [Bhavachakra in Sanskrit]: The Wheel of Becoming. Samsara in Theravada Buddhism happened in the Bhavachakka, hence the idea of a Cycle of Life, due to the fact that the Bhavachakka is apprehended as a Wheel.

The Bhavachakka has 4 "planes of existence" -
1) Apaya Bhumi
2) Kamasugati Bhumi
3) Rupavachara Bhumi, &
4) Arupavachara Bhumi

Each of these four planes have "realms" or divisions or "worlds" of their own. All together there are about 32 Realms or Planes of Existence in the Bhavachakka. So Samsara happens Bhavachakka-wide.

Depending on your state of being, your "karma," and your level of Chitta/consciousness, when you/we die we "go" to anyone of these 32 places; and any living being in any of these 32 places are also subject to Samsara, meaning that when they "die" they will end up in different places in the Bhavachakka.

So in Buddhism Samsara does not suggest some eternal cycle of birth and death where the soul is trapped on the Earth for thousands of lifetimes. That's a pretty pathetic cosmological model when you have this infinite universe/cosmos but all of its life forms are stuck in some crazy cycle on some arbitrary planet out in the middle of nowhere Milky Way.

The second plane of the Bhavachakka is where our Loka [our physical universe/world] is found. Our realm of causal/physical existence is the lowest of 7 realms of the Kamasugati. The meaning of the Plane of existence we exist in adds insight to the fundamental essence of the Plane we exist in.

Kama as in "kama sutra" which is something we are familiar with. Kama meaning Sensual [having to do with the 5 senses] pleasure. Sugati is the verb form of Sukkha/Suga. Sukkha is the etymological opposite of Dukkha. Sukkha as a meme covers the semantic field of: "The state of being which is devoid of mental worry and trouble." So, put together Kamasugati means the Realm/Bhumi of Sense Delight and Happiness.

Thus, stimulation of the senses and happiness/tranquility [Sukkha] is the fundamental essence our Plane of Existence. If you are experiencing Dukkha [Unpleasantness, worry] then there is something wrong with the way you are living. Hence, the Buddha comes to teach us why we experience Dukkha, and gives us a way to destroy it, so that we may experience life the way it was intended to be.

Each of the 4 planes of existence are progressive in relation to each other with the Apaya Bhumi being the lowest and most primitive. The apaya bhumi - Realm of Misery - is where Dukkha and Papa is experience; not in Kamasugati Bhumi.

Each of the four planes are inhabited by beings [satta] that are likewise progressive in relation to each other.

Sattas - meaning Creature, Being, and "Animal" - exist in the apaya bhumi. Satta-Manussa - human creature/being - dwell in the kamasugati. Satta-Devatta in Form/Rupa exists in the Rupavachara. And Formless Satta-Devattas exist in the highest plane: the Arupavachara.

The word "Devatta" is sometimes mistranslated as "god," or "demi-god," which is not right. The root word DEV in Sanskrit and DEB in Pali means something "Bright," "Shiny," or "Luminescent."

So, these three classes of Sattas shows something peculiar. There exists some sort of evolution or progression of Chitta. Chitta [Consciousness] first begins in a primitive state of Satta [meaning creature]. It then becomes Manussa [human]. The root word in Manussa is MAN which means "To Think," and "Mind." From Manussa, Chitta evolves to become a Deb-Satta or Devatta - a Being of "Light."

This evolution of Chitta then takes us to the second Insight the Buddha taugh: Chitta-Samtana or sometimes called Citta-Santana; which in English is rendered: Mind-Stream, or the Flow of Consciousness.

The Buddha did not teach reincarnation, he taught citta-santana. He did use, and you/we will find in the Tipatakas usage of words like "reborn," and past lives, but the usage of these words is a matter of spacio-temporal context and convenience. People living in 500-400BC conditioned inside the memeplex of Brahmanism were already used to the ideation and concept of rebirth and "past lives." To be understood, the Buddha has to use terms the common market [the populous] were thinking in. "Common market" here is used in a marketing and advertising sense: you can't sell an idea to your target market, if the idea makes no sense. If you want to sell a new and innovative idea to the Brahamist Market, you need to dress up your innovative ideas with a coating of something familiar first. One must learn to apprehend Buddhism in certain respects to its native space-time context: that of India, 500BC, dominated by Brahmanism, not 21st century Earth.

Brahmanism's doctrine of Atma - that there is a soul/spirit - does not make any sense in the concept of citta-santana. I will try to explain.

If we took a 30 year old and magically brought out of this 30 year old his 29 year old self, his 28 year old self, his 27 year old self... all the way down to his primitive 1 year old self - and line up all 30 of those "peoples" we would see 30 different Selves/Atma. Each of this hypothetical guy's Selves is very different from the other in mental capability, though process, level of understanding, likes, dislikes, worldviews, beliefs, and so on. Some of these people are very primitive in Consciousness [the 1-5 year olds]; some are childish and are only interested in playing [the 5-12 year old]. Some seem to be only interested in sex and physical interests [the 13-18 year olds].

The question is: are all 30 of these very different "people" actually different beings/atmas or are we seeing/observing a single Consciousness/Chitta in its different grades/states of evolution/Becoming?

The other question is: If all 30 of these people are in fact the same Essence/Consciousness in different manifestations of becoming, then are We all different people... or just the same Essence/Chitta in different states of Becoming? When you try to answer this question, Nibbana/Nirvana/Moksha - the Realization of Liberation will make more sense. Nibbana sometimes is said to be the desolation of the Illusion of "Self," and the Realization of what you really are. It is the Awakening: Buddha.

Now we take that idea and superimpose it on the Bhavachakka, and ask ourselves if the very different beings - Satta, Manussa, and Devatta - are different species of beings, or are they consciousness in a state of Becoming/evolution [Bhava]?

The aim or objective is to escape the Bhavachakka to get to the "other side," which is what the Buddha came to do, so it is said.

People lost inside the Bhavachakka, mentally conditioned to understand only what they perceive and are born inside, become confused with the idea of reincarnation, rebirth, samsara, cycles, and being trapped. It's often asked why we just can't walk away from samsara in the first place?

The same people never stop to realize that while they are asleep and dreaming - while their Consciousness is immerses and entrances in the world of dreams - has no power to walk away from a dream and wake up at will. We are literally stuck inside our dreams until we wake up. If it weren't for the fact that we all naturally wake up in the morning, most of us would be stuck in a coma: unable to Awaken/Buddha.

How many people here have tried to actually Wake up in a dream? It's called Lucid Dreaming. It is possible, but it takes a lot of practice. I can sometimes do it. If it is that hard to learn to Wake up inside a dream; how harder is it to Awaken inside this dream we call Life? We are each stuck in a coma where our Chitta is engrossed with and lost in some cycle of Bhavackakka. The Buddha is like a doctor who tries to wake you/us up. This reminds me of the old move called the Cell and the Matrix, if anybody is familiar with it. Buddha is like Morpheus, and Bikkhus are like Neos. Remember Neo Awoke himself from his digital dream: Sama Sambuddhi - The Self-Awakened One.

I'm not sure if what I explained made any sense. I'm not saying that mortal existence is maya/illusion and fake. It's very real, but it is not the Supreme Real beyond Bhavachakka. We are in essence "trapped" in samsara as we are trapped inside our own dreams at night. We fail to realize that there is anything more to all of this because we were all born and conditioned only in this environment.

It's like old world Europe in the 1500's you see. If you were a person born and raised during that time and era, you would be raised to see and believe that the world is Europe. Your daily activities - what you attach and fixate your mind/chitta on - such as working, finding a mate, raising children or whatever keeps you "karmically" so occupied that you have very little time or interest in sailing a boat beyond the shores of Europe to explore. There is commotion in this hypothetical Europe where some people are now asking themselves if this Europe is the whole world, and if they are eternally stuck in a cycle of birth and death in it.

And then Christopher Columbus returns and says to everybody: "Hey, guys, I just found a entire New World, Wake up, theres more to all of this than Europe!" Buddha is like Columbus. Bhavachakka is like old world Europe. Nibbana is like the New World. Some of us, due to our misconceptions of what Nibbana is are reluctant to make the voyage. Like the old world people were afraid to make the voyage fearing they would fall of the edge of the world. Like many ill informed Buddhists fear that they will stop existing when they reach Nirvana. They never existed in the first place.

We only assume we exist and are "real." In the same sense that in dreams we believe and "know" that us and everyone and everything around us is real. But that whole dream world, and everybody in it is a manifestation of a single mind between your ears. When you/we Wake up in the morning, and our dream selves and those dream people fade into oblivion, we don't actually stop existing do we? Because who we believed our "selves" to be did not really exist in the first place.

This is one of the reasons why Buddha asked people or taught people to not be so attached to the world. To not fixate your chitta to deeply into the world and hold onto it obsessively. It's like a person in a coma who holds onto his dream form in his dream and refused to let go because he is so fixated in consciousness in his comatose world and comatose Atma/Atta. That grip, hold, obsession, attachment, fixation of one's own consciousness is what keeps you bound in Samsara. It is your/our own fault that we are "stuck" for as long as we are stuck. No body can Awaken you out of this coma but you yourself.
“Do not believe in anything because you have heard it. Do not believe in traditions because they have been handed down for many generations. Do not believe in anything because it is spoken and rumored by many. Do not believe in anything because it is found written in your religious books. Do not believe in anything merely on the authority of your teachers and elders. But after observing and analysis, when you find anything that agrees with reason and is conducive to the good and benefit of one and all then accept it and live up to it.” – Buddha (Anguttara Nikaya, Vol1, 188-193)
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Re: Reincarnation Question.

Postby acinteyyo » Thu Apr 29, 2010 8:44 pm

Tex wrote:Gotama would have declined to answer your question:

I have heard that on one occasion the Blessed One was staying in Savatthi, at Jeta's Grove, Anathapindika's monastery. Then the wanderer Vacchagotta went to the Blessed One and, on arrival, exchanged courteous greetings with him. After an exchange of friendly greetings & courtesies, he sat to one side. As he was sitting there he asked the Blessed One: "How is it, Master Gotama, does Master Gotama hold the view: 'The cosmos is eternal: only this is true, anything otherwise is worthless'?"

"...no..."

"Then does Master Gotama hold the view: 'The cosmos is not eternal: only this is true, anything otherwise is worthless'?"

"...no..."

"Then does Master Gotama hold the view: 'The cosmos is finite: only this is true, anything otherwise is worthless'?"

"...no..."

"Then does Master Gotama hold the view: 'The cosmos is infinite: only this is true, anything otherwise is worthless'?"

"...no..."



And a little later in the same sutta:

"Vaccha, the position that 'the cosmos is eternal' is a thicket of views, a wilderness of views, a contortion of views, a writhing of views, a fetter of views. It is accompanied by suffering, distress, despair, & fever, and it does not lead to disenchantment, dispassion, cessation; to calm, direct knowledge, full Awakening, Unbinding.



He goes on to say the same thing about finite and infinite.

From: http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html

This simile is also helpful to understand why Buddha would have declined to answer your question:

"It's just as if a man were wounded with an arrow thickly smeared with poison. His friends & companions, kinsmen & relatives would provide him with a surgeon, and the man would say, 'I won't have this arrow removed until I know whether the man who wounded me was a noble warrior, a priest, a merchant, or a worker.' He would say, 'I won't have this arrow removed until I know the given name & clan name of the man who wounded me... until I know whether he was tall, medium, or short... until I know whether he was dark, ruddy-brown, or golden-colored... until I know his home village, town, or city... until I know whether the bow with which I was wounded was a long bow or a crossbow... until I know whether the bowstring with which I was wounded was fiber, bamboo threads, sinew, hemp, or bark... until I know whether the shaft with which I was wounded was wild or cultivated... until I know whether the feathers of the shaft with which I was wounded were those of a vulture, a stork, a hawk, a peacock, or another bird... until I know whether the shaft with which I was wounded was bound with the sinew of an ox, a water buffalo, a langur, or a monkey.' He would say, 'I won't have this arrow removed until I know whether the shaft with which I was wounded was that of a common arrow, a curved arrow, a barbed, a calf-toothed, or an oleander arrow.' The man would die and those things would still remain unknown to him.

. . .

"It's not the case that when there is the view, 'The cosmos is finite,' there is the living of the holy life. And it's not the case that when there is the view, 'The cosmos is infinite,' there is the living of the holy life. When there is the view, 'The cosmos is finite,' and when there is the view, 'The cosmos is infinite,' there is still the birth, there is the aging, there is the death, there is the sorrow, lamentation, pain, despair, & distress whose destruction I make known right in the here & now.


From: http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... tml#poison

Great posting! :goodpost:
Pubbe cāhaṃ bhikkhave, etarahi ca dukkhañceva paññāpemi, dukkhassa ca nirodhaṃ. (M.22)
Both formerly, monks, and now, it is just suffering that I make known and the ending of suffering.
Pathabyā ekarajjena, saggassa gamanena vā sabbalokādhipaccena, sotāpattiphalaṃ varaṃ. (Dhp 178)
Sole dominion over the earth, going to heaven or lordship over all worlds: the fruit of stream-entry excels them.

:anjali:
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Re: Reincarnation Question.

Postby Chloe9 » Thu Apr 29, 2010 8:52 pm

Chloe9 wrote:If I may add my own insights and personal understandings to this thread:

Hindus believe in reincarnation, transmigration of soul, rebirth, or whatever it's called these days....

...fixation of one's own consciousness is what keeps you bound in Samsara. It is your/our own fault that we are "stuck" for as long as we are stuck. No body can Awaken you out of this coma but you yourself.


I should clarify myself about bhavachakka and rebirth and everything before I cause confusion:

Chitta-samtana in essence is when consciousness is like a river that constantly flows and is never the same river twice.

What we believe or observe as being "past-lives," "present-lives," and "future-lives," is like us taking a role of film and rather then watching the role of film in MOTION, we look at the role frame by frame, and we designate frames we have seen in the past as "past-frames," frames we see presently as "present-frames," and frames we have yet to see as "future-frames," when in actuality, it just the same "Dhamm" role of film from beginning to end; the role of film being your stream-consciousness; or "roll of consciousness" if you will :)

The four planes of existence of the Bhavachakka are like:
1) Prison;
2) Home;
3) Work; &
4) School

When work time is over and you leave your work place, you don't go back in. You go to a different place: Home for a while. Then you go to school. To go to school, you need to leave your house. When school is over, you don't stay around the school yard and wait around for class to start again the next day. You leave school, and go shopping. When you are down shopping you leave the mall and go someplace else: home again. Then the cycle starts all over the next day. If you are crazy and hurt people or your consciousness is preoccupied with making other peoples llives miserable, you will find yourself in prison to experience your own state of misery until you wise up. Then you can go home.

What causes you/us to move from one place to the next is our "karma," state of mind, and level of conscious development. If you are a sicko and like working a job, that state of mind - consciousness looking for a job - will cause you to leave home and go to work. If you are thinking about getting a higher education, you will leave home and go find a school to attend. If you spend your time karmically hurting people and making their lives unpleasant, you'll find yourself in prison for a while (apaya bhumi).

Sometimes apaya bhumi is translated as "hell," which is inaccurate. The Plane of Misery is a condition of consciosness falling into a deep delusion of own Dhukka and Papa, which it has a hard time crawling out of.

For example a drug addict or alcoholism. The drug addict has nobody to blame for her addiction but her own attachment and obsession [Tanha] for drugs. That addiction causes karmic results in her life depending on the severity. Her relationships and friendships can be ruined. She will steal to get the next heroin fix. Her life will spiral until she may even end up homeless. This is Dukkha and Papa. This is an example of experience apaya bhumi prematurely. This hypothetical addict can't realize that she is her own worst enemy and that she alone has the power to stop her misery. No god or spirit is keeping her bound in such a state of Papa. When she Awakened from her enthrallment and loss of consciousness in drugs, to Realize that she caused [karma] her own misery and made others miserable, she is free or Liberated from Papa.

The same with people who find themselves in apaya bhumi after their earthly life. Nothing but their own ignorance and self perpetuation of self inflicted Dukkha and Papa keeps these Manussas devolved into sattas in apaya bhumi. When they Awaken to their own ignorance and enthrallment, they are free to go else where and evolve consciously.
Last edited by Chloe9 on Thu Apr 29, 2010 8:53 pm, edited 1 time in total.
“Do not believe in anything because you have heard it. Do not believe in traditions because they have been handed down for many generations. Do not believe in anything because it is spoken and rumored by many. Do not believe in anything because it is found written in your religious books. Do not believe in anything merely on the authority of your teachers and elders. But after observing and analysis, when you find anything that agrees with reason and is conducive to the good and benefit of one and all then accept it and live up to it.” – Buddha (Anguttara Nikaya, Vol1, 188-193)
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Re: Reincarnation Question.

Postby acinteyyo » Thu Apr 29, 2010 8:53 pm

p3rfect wrote:
Modus.Ponens wrote:That's why he's here, to learn the basics of buddhism. One is not expected to know some basic buddhism to be able to post on a buddhism forum.

Exactly.

Since this is the Discovering Theravada-Forum I want to apologize. I might have been a little to harsh.
I'm sorry!
best wishes, acinteyyo
Pubbe cāhaṃ bhikkhave, etarahi ca dukkhañceva paññāpemi, dukkhassa ca nirodhaṃ. (M.22)
Both formerly, monks, and now, it is just suffering that I make known and the ending of suffering.
Pathabyā ekarajjena, saggassa gamanena vā sabbalokādhipaccena, sotāpattiphalaṃ varaṃ. (Dhp 178)
Sole dominion over the earth, going to heaven or lordship over all worlds: the fruit of stream-entry excels them.

:anjali:
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Re: Reincarnation Question.

Postby Goofaholix » Thu Apr 29, 2010 10:41 pm

p3rfect wrote:
Goofaholix wrote:I think you'll find they are uncountable or unknown, not infinite.


There is only two outcomes though.

Either it is infinite or it is finite. If it is finite why isn't there a number stated?
Isn't it unfair to only have a finite number of re-births?
How come we only get a finite number of re-births?

Curious.


Why should there be a number stated?

Why do you want an infinate number of rebirths?
"Proper effort is not the effort to make something particular happen. It is the effort to be aware and awake each moment." - Ajahn Chah
"When we see beyond self, we no longer cling to happiness. When we stop clinging, we can begin to be happy." - Ajahn Chah
"Know and watch your heart. It’s pure but emotions come to colour it." — Ajahn Chah
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Re: Reincarnation Question.

Postby ground » Fri Apr 30, 2010 5:05 am

Hi p3rfect

p3rfect wrote:
Tex wrote:It's a question that doesn't need to be fully answered. The views "infinite" and "finite" are hindrances.


I understand what you're saying and to you the question doesn't have to be answered and it may be a hindrance. But to others who don't share this belief system want an answer using this form of logic.


What "form of logic" are you referring to? On what do you want to base your inferences on? Perception and a conventional form of syllogisms?
You may do this. However even before starting to get skilled in this you may suspect that it will be difficult to perceive "former lives" or to perceive a sign from which consistently and necessarily former and future lives can be inferred. But valid knowledge that there have been former lives is a prerequisite for investigating the question whether there is a finite or an infinite number of lives.

Kind regards
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Re: Reincarnation Question.

Postby Dhammabodhi » Fri Apr 30, 2010 12:54 pm

I used the english dictionary to give people the definition.
You are focusing on a singular word within the definition, when you use definitions who take all the words into account and understanding the definition for that word as a whole.




I'm sorry if my replies were not useful, but I beg to disagree with your views.

It's good that you've found other answers satisfactory!

Be well :anjali:

Dhammabodhi
-Samāhitam cittam yathābhutam pajānāti.

समाहितं चित्तं यथाभूतं पजानाती |

A concentrated mind sees things as they really are.

-Ujuko nāma so maggo, abhayā nāma sā disā.

उजुको नाम सो माग्गो, अभया नाम सा दिसा |

'Straight' is this path, fearlessness is its way.
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Re: Reincarnation Question.

Postby Jason » Sun May 02, 2010 8:48 pm

For what it's worth, here's my answer:

It depends on what you mean by "rebirth." In Buddhism, the closest term is punabhava, literally "again becoming," which is a predominately mental process that's unique to each individual. But however you interpret this term, it can be said that it's infinite as long as the conditions for it's continuation are present, and finite if those conditions cease. In Buddhism, this principle is called this/that conditionality (idappaccayata), the simplest formulation being:

    When this is, that is.
    From the arising of this comes the arising of that.
    When this isn't, that isn't.
    From the cessation of this comes the cessation of that.

Moreover, it's difficult to determine the exact limit of this process on an individual basis because those limits aren't predetermined and depend upon a myriad of factors, the most important being an individual's present actions (kamma). As far as I can see, there's nothing inherently contradictory about this unless you also take a position that effectively denies the efficiency of causation in relation to duration.
"Sabbe dhamma nalam abhinivesaya" (AN 7.58).

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Re: Reincarnation Question.

Postby Sobeh » Sun May 02, 2010 9:02 pm

Jason wrote:...it can be said that it's infinite as long as the conditions for it's continuation are present, and finite if those conditions cease.


No, if something ends at all then it is finite. Something simply lasts as long as its conditions persist; it isn't at all 'infinite' during that period.

What is infinite is samsara, from which we all Rightly Intend to escape. However, samsara isn't a thing or a place, it's a process. "In Pali it is the bhava-cakka or Samsara-cakka, which is variously rendered in English as the Wheel of Life, the Wheel of Becoming or the Wheel of Rebirth." (cite) Thanissaro prefers to translate it as "wandering on" (cite), and otherwise emphasizes this point as can be seen in this quote from that same link:

"This is why the Buddha tried to find the way to stop samsara-ing. Once he had found it, he encouraged others to follow it, too. Because samsara-ing is something that each of us does, each of us has to stop it him or her self alone."

Again, notice how the emphasis is on the process. There is no real thing that is finite or infinite here. I suppose you might be able to claim that samsara is infinite, but even so, the process is in constant flux and never the same from one moment to the next... in other words, any given expression is finite.

So as you can see, there's no use counting how many have come before or will follow after - the point is, here and now, to realize the utter cessation, without remainder, of ignorance, greed, and aversion.
Last edited by Sobeh on Sun May 02, 2010 9:15 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Reincarnation Question.

Postby Jason » Sun May 02, 2010 9:15 pm

Sobeh wrote:
Jason wrote:...it can be said that it's infinite as long as the conditions for it's continuation are present, and finite if those conditions cease.


No, if it ends at all then it is finite. Something simply lasts as long as its conditions persist; it isn't at all 'infinite' during that period.


Nevertheless, if the conditions for its existence persist indefinitely, then its existence is, by definition, infinite (i.e., extending indefinitely), but I think we're just debating semantics at this point.
"Sabbe dhamma nalam abhinivesaya" (AN 7.58).

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Re: Reincarnation Question.

Postby Sobeh » Sun May 02, 2010 9:17 pm

Jason wrote:if the conditions for its existence persist indefinitely


This happens not at all. You are basing your word-play on impossibilities.
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