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Question about reincarnation - Dhamma Wheel

Question about reincarnation

A forum for beginners and members of other Buddhist traditions to ask questions about Theravāda (The Way of the Elders). Responses require moderator approval before they are visible.
loft
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Question about reincarnation

Postby loft » Mon Jan 31, 2011 4:14 am

Hi,

I'm new to Buddhism and had a question about reincarnation, which I find very interesting.

Is reincarnation only linear? I mean, does it follow the forward flow of time? In other words, if I were to die today and were reincarnated, would it be in the future? Or is reincarnation in the past possible? So is it possible to die in 2011 and be reincarnated in the year 1450?

Also, when you die, are you reincarnated right away or might you not be reincarnated for fifty more years?

Sorry if my questions are so basic. I just wonder about this a lot....

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retrofuturist
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Re: Question about reincarnation

Postby retrofuturist » Mon Jan 31, 2011 4:25 am

Greetings Loft,

Welcome to Dhamma Wheel.

One fundamental assumption underpinning your question is that there is some "I" or "myself" that is transported throughout these time periods.

In Buddhism, it is recognised that this perception of "I" or "self" is actually a cognitive error, and anything we might think of, or experience as "self" is actually impermanent. This is the teaching of anatta (not-self).

I would recommend investigating anatta in depth before pursuing your current line of enquiry any further, lest you feel into the wrong view of believing there is a consciousness that transmigrates from one life time to the next.

To see how the Buddha responded when people assumed that was his teaching, see...

MN 38: Mahatanhasankhaya Sutta
http://www.leighb.com/mn38.htm

Metta,
Retro. :)
"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

ajahndoe
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Re: Question about reincarnation

Postby ajahndoe » Mon Jan 31, 2011 7:36 am

Reincarnation is not the doctrine of Theravada Buddhism. It is a teaching of Vajrayana, also known as Tibetan Buddhism. Theravada teaches "rebirth", which is the arising of new consciousness based on the clinging of past consciousness. This is not "you", not "self" or "soul".

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tiltbillings
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Re: Question about reincarnation

Postby tiltbillings » Mon Jan 31, 2011 7:53 am


villkorkarma
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Re: Question about reincarnation

Postby villkorkarma » Mon Jan 31, 2011 4:08 pm

there is a self that you can controll your actions of. // buddhas teachings.
one suffer because one hasnt existed long : )

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retrofuturist
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Re: Question about reincarnation

Postby retrofuturist » Mon Jan 31, 2011 9:50 pm

"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

meindzai
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Re: Question about reincarnation

Postby meindzai » Tue Feb 01, 2011 3:45 pm


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Annapurna
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Re: Question about reincarnation

Postby Annapurna » Tue Feb 01, 2011 4:14 pm

So, how do we inherit our own kamma then?
http://www.schmuckzauberei.blogspot.com/

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Refugee
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Re: Question about reincarnation

Postby Refugee » Tue Feb 01, 2011 7:16 pm

My practice is simply this: Avoid evil, do good, and purify the mind.

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kirk5a
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Re: Question about reincarnation

Postby kirk5a » Tue Feb 01, 2011 7:52 pm

"When one thing is practiced & pursued, ignorance is abandoned, clear knowing arises, the conceit 'I am' is abandoned, latent tendencies are uprooted, fetters are abandoned. Which one thing? Mindfulness immersed in the body." -AN 1.230

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Refugee
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Re: Question about reincarnation

Postby Refugee » Tue Feb 01, 2011 8:22 pm

My practice is simply this: Avoid evil, do good, and purify the mind.

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retrofuturist
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Re: Question about reincarnation

Postby retrofuturist » Tue Feb 01, 2011 10:52 pm

Yes - well said Kirk.

:thumbsup:

Metta,
Retro. :)
"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

rowyourboat
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Re: Question about reincarnation

Postby rowyourboat » Wed Feb 02, 2011 10:45 am

To answer the OP, Reincarnation/rebirth is said to be linear- ie there is no mention of anyone being reborn at an earlier period in time, after their death, now.

But it is an interesting question! Some people even suggest that the whole thing is circular- but then that doesnt hold water because there would be no escape from it!

with metta

Matheesha
With Metta

Karuna
Mudita
& Upekkha

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Will
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Re: Question about reincarnation

Postby Will » Wed Feb 02, 2011 6:45 pm

A bodhisattva does not become weary of evil beings nor does he commit the error of bringing forth thoughts inclined to reject them and cast them aside. Avatamsaka Sutra, ch. 25

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Wizard in the Forest
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Re: Question about reincarnation

Postby Wizard in the Forest » Wed Feb 02, 2011 7:55 pm

"One is not born a woman, but becomes one."- Simone de Beauvoir

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Viscid
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Re: Question about reincarnation

Postby Viscid » Wed Feb 02, 2011 7:57 pm

"What holds attention determines action." - William James

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acinteyyo
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Re: Question about reincarnation

Postby acinteyyo » Wed Feb 02, 2011 11:09 pm

Thag 1.20. Ajita - I do not fear death; nor do I long for life. I’ll lay down this body, aware and mindful.

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retrofuturist
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Re: Question about reincarnation

Postby retrofuturist » Wed Feb 02, 2011 11:16 pm

Greetings,

In line with acinteyyo's comment, it would be safest to say that the Buddha did not talk about dying in one time and being reborn before that.

On the other hand, there is an allusion to time dilation in the sense of time periods being different in different realms. E.g. you could go from one realm to another, feel like it was a thousand years, and get back later to find it was only a day you'd been gone.

Suttas or other Theravada materials where such time dilation appears though do not come easily to mind, so if anyone has some links to where such things are discussed it would be appreciated.

Metta,
Retro. :)
"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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Viscid
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Re: Question about reincarnation

Postby Viscid » Thu Feb 03, 2011 12:33 am

"What holds attention determines action." - William James

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retrofuturist
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Re: Question about reincarnation

Postby retrofuturist » Thu Feb 03, 2011 12:39 am

Greetings Viscid,

But that's not "Suttas or other Theravada materials", is it?

Klingon maybe...

:thinking:

Metta,
Retro. :)
"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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