Beginner's question about reincarnation.

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Beginner's question about reincarnation.

Postby Riverbend » Sun Jun 20, 2010 4:34 pm

As I wrote in the Introduction section, I have recently a renewed appreciation for Buddhism after about a decade immersed in Taoism. I have a question about reincarnation/re-birth. First of all, are they the same thing? But mostly, I read somewhere recently that the idea we are re-born as animals is an over-simplification of the truth, which is that we are re-born into various states of mind; that our consciousness disperses at death and reforms as a new life. Is that accurate?

RB
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Re: Beginner's question about reincarnation.

Postby Moggalana » Sun Jun 20, 2010 5:05 pm

I'm sure others will provide you with good answers and more links. For a start: http://goodquestiongoodanswer.net/gqga_rebirth.html
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Re: Beginner's question about reincarnation.

Postby Riverbend » Sun Jun 20, 2010 5:12 pm

Thank you. That seems to support what I read before. So rather than being reborn as animals we are, in the Buddhist view, reborn into different states. Are these mental states or physical realms we inhabit?
I think the carrot infinitely more fascinating than the geranium. The carrot has mystery. Flowers are essentially tarts. Prostitutes for the bees. There is you'll agree a certain je ne se quoi oh so very special about a firm young carrot. [Uncle Monty -- Withnail & I.]
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Re: Beginner's question about reincarnation.

Postby Moggalana » Sun Jun 20, 2010 5:44 pm

Riverbend wrote:Thank you. That seems to support what I read before. So rather than being reborn as animals we are, in the Buddhist view, reborn into different states. Are these mental states or physical realms we inhabit?


There are different opinions about that. Some buddhists believe that thoese realms are to be taken literal, i.e. 'real'. Others argue that they are pureley mental. There is also a number of buddhists today who discard rebirth altogether. They hold the view that re-birth/re-becomming happens all the time, from one moment to the next, but that this process stops with the death of the physical body.

Two topics you shouid look into: dependent origination and anatta.
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Re: Beginner's question about reincarnation.

Postby Riverbend » Sun Jun 20, 2010 5:55 pm

Did Buddha speak about the matter directly? Where can I find what he said?

(Thanks for your time and efforts answering my questions.)
I think the carrot infinitely more fascinating than the geranium. The carrot has mystery. Flowers are essentially tarts. Prostitutes for the bees. There is you'll agree a certain je ne se quoi oh so very special about a firm young carrot. [Uncle Monty -- Withnail & I.]
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Re: Beginner's question about reincarnation.

Postby Moggalana » Sun Jun 20, 2010 6:01 pm

Riverbend wrote:Did Buddha speak about the matter directly? Where can I find what he said?

(Thanks for your time and efforts answering my questions.)


Unfortunately, I don't know the corresponding suttas in the pali canon, but others do, and I am sure they will tell you.
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Re: Beginner's question about reincarnation.

Postby Stephen K » Sun Jun 20, 2010 6:03 pm

Hi riverbend,

May I recommend these ten lecture series, which I'm sure will be a big help for you as a beginner:

http://www.bodhimonastery.net/bm/about- ... it-is.html



Best wishes.

:smile:
With metta,
Upāsaka Sumana
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Re: Beginner's question about reincarnation.

Postby Riverbend » Sun Jun 20, 2010 6:06 pm

Thank you. My personal feeling is closer to the mental states interpretation. I'd be able to leave it there except for one personal experience that means I can't dismiss the idea of rebirth. Not that it matters really. It won't make any difference to how I try to live the life I have now.

And thanks, Stefan: I'll plough through that information.
I think the carrot infinitely more fascinating than the geranium. The carrot has mystery. Flowers are essentially tarts. Prostitutes for the bees. There is you'll agree a certain je ne se quoi oh so very special about a firm young carrot. [Uncle Monty -- Withnail & I.]
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Re: Beginner's question about reincarnation.

Postby Mukunda » Sun Jun 20, 2010 6:16 pm

Riverbend wrote:Thank you. My personal feeling is closer to the mental states interpretation. I'd be able to leave it there except for one personal experience that means I can't dismiss the idea of rebirth. Not that it matters really. It won't make any difference to how I try to live the life I have now.


I think that's the best approach, neither accepting nor rejecting but merely investigating.
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Re: Beginner's question about reincarnation.

Postby Annapurna » Sun Jun 20, 2010 7:21 pm

Riverbend, a good research site is Accesstoinsight.

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/index-subject.html
http://www.schmuckzauberei.blogspot.com/
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Re: Beginner's question about reincarnation.

Postby cooran » Sun Jun 20, 2010 9:06 pm

Hello Riverbend,

In order to understand the Buddha's teachings on Rebecoming (rebirth), it is necessary to understand His teachings on Anatta.
That is, all that "you" consist of is an everchanging process of kammic accumulations and latent tendencies. No ongoing unchanging self/soul.

Anatta ~ Bhikkhu Bodhi ~ What is it that is 'reborn'?
http://www.beyondthenet.net/dhamma/notself.htm

Does Rebirth Make Sense? - Bhikkhu Bodhi
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/auth ... ay_46.html

Rebirth - Bhikhu Bodhi
http://www.beyondthenet.net/dhamma/rebirth.htm

Dhamma without Rebirth - Bhikkhu Bodhi
http://www.vipassana.com/resources/bodh ... ebirth.php

Rebirth suttas
~The skillfulness of one's actions in life determine one's destination after death: Dhp 17, Dhp 18, Dhp 240
~Causes of favorable or unfavorable ~: MN 135, AN 3.65, Dhp 310, Dhp 316
~How to gain rebirth as an elephant or a horse: AN 10.177
~The laws of kamma and ~ are as inviolable as the law of gravity: SN 42.6
`What's so bad about being reborn?: SN 5.6
~Why not just settle for rebirth among the devas?: SN 5.7
~The preciousness of our human birth: SN 20.2, SN 56.48
~ witnessed by Buddha on the night of his Awakening
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/index-su ... ml#rebirth

with metta
Chris
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Re: Beginner's question about reincarnation.

Postby PeterB » Sun Jun 20, 2010 9:18 pm

Riverbend wrote:As I wrote in the Introduction section, I have recently a renewed appreciation for Buddhism after about a decade immersed in Taoism. I have a question about reincarnation/re-birth. First of all, are they the same thing? But mostly, I read somewhere recently that the idea we are re-born as animals is an over-simplification of the truth, which is that we are re-born into various states of mind; that our consciousness disperses at death and reforms as a new life. Is that accurate?

RB


For an alternative take on these issues Riverbend you might want to google Buddhadasa on Rebirth if you havent already.
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Re: Beginner's question about reincarnation.

Postby Riverbend » Sun Jun 20, 2010 9:37 pm

You're all very helpful. Thank you. I have plenty to be getting on with.

That is, all that "you" consist of is an everchanging process of kammic accumulations and latent tendencies. No ongoing unchanging self/soul.


That, with my Taoist background, I get. :)

I'll get reading and return with thoughts and, without doubt, more questions.
I think the carrot infinitely more fascinating than the geranium. The carrot has mystery. Flowers are essentially tarts. Prostitutes for the bees. There is you'll agree a certain je ne se quoi oh so very special about a firm young carrot. [Uncle Monty -- Withnail & I.]
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Re: Beginner's question about reincarnation.

Postby Zom » Sun Jun 20, 2010 10:45 pm

Venerable Bhikkhu Bodhi is Cool :bow:
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Re: Beginner's question about reincarnation.

Postby retrofuturist » Sun Jun 20, 2010 11:15 pm

Greetings Riverbend,

Riverbend wrote:Thank you. My personal feeling is closer to the mental states interpretation. I'd be able to leave it there except for one personal experience that means I can't dismiss the idea of rebirth. Not that it matters really. It won't make any difference to how I try to live the life I have now.

You'll be pleased to know there is no inconsistency between the 'mental state's view of realms of existence, and conventionally understood 'rebirth'.

The key thing to be wary of, is that unless you have developed at least a conceptual understanding of anatta (not-self), any views about post-mortem rebirth have, will inevitably be Wrong View because they involved some "thing" that lives on (eternalism) or some "thing" that is destroyed (annihilationism).

It sounds like you're quite pragmatic, so do try to hold off on thoughts for or against rebirth until you thoroughly investigate anatta first. Any article or talk on the subject of rebirth, by any reputable monk or teacher, will do their best to ensure their audience aren't falling into the two extremes of wrong view mentioned above.

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: Beginner's question about reincarnation.

Postby Nibbida » Mon Jun 21, 2010 12:51 am

retrofuturist wrote:Greetings Riverbend,
The key thing to be wary of, is that unless you have developed at least a conceptual understanding of anatta (not-self), any views about post-mortem rebirth have, will inevitably be Wrong View because they involved some "thing" that lives on (eternalism) or some "thing" that is destroyed (annihilationism).


This is such a good point. It seems to me that anyone who isn't awakened (i.e. stream entry or above) is likely to misunderstand what post-mortem rebirth is. Despite how well one might understand it intellectually, there is always that sneaky underlying sense of self taking comfort in the idea that "I" will continue.
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Re: Beginner's question about reincarnation.

Postby Riverbend » Tue Jun 22, 2010 9:18 am

The key thing to be wary of, is that unless you have developed at least a conceptual understanding of anatta (not-self), any views about post-mortem rebirth have, will inevitably be Wrong View because they involved some "thing" that lives on (eternalism) or some "thing" that is destroyed (annihilationism).


Thanks for your advice. What I understand about anatta I visualise as a whirlpool. The whirlpool has an identity of its own, its own character and even its own name, but it is really just a process of water. When that process ends it is no more; but the same process from the same cause can arise somewhere else. Is that close?

Interestingly, particles of energy that make physical matter are also processes more than they are things.
I think the carrot infinitely more fascinating than the geranium. The carrot has mystery. Flowers are essentially tarts. Prostitutes for the bees. There is you'll agree a certain je ne se quoi oh so very special about a firm young carrot. [Uncle Monty -- Withnail & I.]
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Re: Beginner's question about reincarnation.

Postby retrofuturist » Tue Jun 22, 2010 9:22 am

Greetings Riverbend,

Riverbend wrote:Is that close?

It's hard to say for sure with poetic / graphic descriptions.

Just read suttas on the topic and read what various monks and teachers within the Theravada tradition say about it and you should be fine.

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: Beginner's question about reincarnation.

Postby Nibbida » Sat Jun 26, 2010 4:04 am

Riverbend wrote:
The key thing to be wary of, is that unless you have developed at least a conceptual understanding of anatta (not-self), any views about post-mortem rebirth have, will inevitably be Wrong View because they involved some "thing" that lives on (eternalism) or some "thing" that is destroyed (annihilationism).


Thanks for your advice. What I understand about anatta I visualise as a whirlpool. The whirlpool has an identity of its own, its own character and even its own name, but it is really just a process of water. When that process ends it is no more; but the same process from the same cause can arise somewhere else. Is that close?

Interestingly, particles of energy that make physical matter are also processes more than they are things.



Yes, that is one of the clearer explanations of anatta that I have heard: the self is a process, an interdependent and impermanent activity, rather than a thing.
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Re: Beginner's question about reincarnation.

Postby Riverbend » Sat Jun 26, 2010 11:10 am

It is interesting to see where there are similarities with Taoism. At least in this regard the two overlap.
I think the carrot infinitely more fascinating than the geranium. The carrot has mystery. Flowers are essentially tarts. Prostitutes for the bees. There is you'll agree a certain je ne se quoi oh so very special about a firm young carrot. [Uncle Monty -- Withnail & I.]
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