Is Rebirth Speculation?

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Is Rebirth Speculation?

Postby DarkDream » Sun Mar 15, 2009 2:28 am

[Moderators: I believe this post is appropriate in this sub-forum because I am presenting the view of a modern Therevada practioner. If you see otherwise and it should be in the "Dhamma Free for All" by all means move it.]

In Ajahn Sumedho's book The Sound of Silence there is a chapter named, "Questions About Awareness and Rebirth" (http://books.google.com/books?id=TqKbrmljVdwC&dq=the+sound+of+silence+sumedho&printsec=frontcover&source=bl&ots=kYk_AxIYfK&sig=eu02HpKqQDRSjIwVW2Qa-TodotU&hl=en&ei=V2W8SZ_9EomMsAOa5PmdAg&sa=X&oi=book_result&resnum=1&ct=result#PPA237,M1) where Ajahn Sumedho states:

"Rebirth," like "reincarnation," is a term that's used generally referring to having gone through a series of different lives, and then there are various views about whether once you get reincarnated into human form where you can go, become a frog again or something like that. . . . But the truth of the matter is, nobody really knows.

The historical Buddha refers to previous lives in the scriptures and things like this, but for me these things are speculative.

Do you guys agree with Ajahn Sumedho's view that rebirth is speculative? If you do or do not, then why?

--DarkDream
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Re: Is Rebirth Speculation?

Postby retrofuturist » Sun Mar 15, 2009 2:31 am

Greetings DarkDream,

He says, they're speculative for him, because he cannot personally prove or disprove them.

Certainly, rebirth is a view... it just happened to be one that the Buddha classified as Right View.

Metta,
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Whatever various forms of unease there are in the world, They originate founded in encumbering accumulation. (Pārāyanavagga)


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One who is such, calmed and ever mindful, He has no sorrows! -- Udana IV, 7


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Re: Is Rebirth Speculation?

Postby David N. Snyder » Sun Mar 15, 2009 2:38 am

DarkDream wrote:Do you guys agree with Ajahn Sumedho's view that rebirth is speculative? If you do or do not, then why?
--DarkDream

That quote you have is from the beginning of that chapter. At the end of the same paragraph, the Ajahn writes about Ajahn Chah and his teachings on rebirth and then Ajahn Sumedho writes:

"rebirth in this sense is actually provable."
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Re: Is Rebirth Speculation?

Postby Dhammanando » Sun Mar 15, 2009 2:50 am

Hi DarkDream,

DarkDream wrote:Do you guys agree with Ajahn Sumedho's view that rebirth is speculative?


It may be for some, but not for others. So it's not intrinsically speculative.

If you do or do not, then why?


Ven. Sumedho makes too sweeping a statement. If one who accepts rebirth has arrived at his view through speculation, then for him it’s speculative. If he’s arrived at his view out of confidence in the Buddha’s teaching, then for him it’s an object of faith. If he’s arrived at his view through recall of former lives (whether spontaneously or by jhānic cultivation) then it’s an object of knowledge and there’s nothing speculative about it.

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Re: Is Rebirth Speculation?

Postby DarkDream » Sun Mar 15, 2009 3:20 am

TheDhamma wrote:
DarkDream wrote:Do you guys agree with Ajahn Sumedho's view that rebirth is speculative? If you do or do not, then why?
--DarkDream

That quote you have is from the beginning of that chapter. At the end of the same paragraph, the Ajahn writes about Ajahn Chah and his teachings on rebirth and then Ajahn Sumedho writes:

"rebirth in this sense is actually provable."


I think you are taking this quote out of context. The preceding sentences are as follows:

How many rebirths have gone through today, mentally? What is born, dies; what arises, ceases. Rebirth in this sense is actually provable.


He is saying that you can prove rebirth "in the sense" of rebirths "mentally." This I, personally, have no issues with. The quote I gave to start this thread is where Ajahn Sumedho is talking about physical rebirth over multiple lives. This, I believe, he thinks is speculation.

--DarkDream
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Re: Is Rebirth Speculation?

Postby tiltbillings » Sun Mar 15, 2009 4:44 am

Do you guys agree with Ajahn Sumedho's view that rebirth is speculative? If you do or do not, then why?


If I were to say that I know that rebirth is a fact, what would it prove? To you, nothing. What is a fact to me is just that, a fact to me, but that carries no weight for you.

If you do not want to believe in rebirth, then don't, but there are those who know that rebirth is a fact.
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.

"We eat cold eels and think distant thoughts." -- Jack Johnson
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Re: Is Rebirth Speculation?

Postby DarkDream » Sun Mar 15, 2009 5:06 am

tiltbillings wrote:If I were to say that I know that rebirth is a fact, what would it prove? To you, nothing. What is a fact to me is just that, a fact to me, but that carries no weight for you.

If you do not want to believe in rebirth, then don't, but there are those who know that rebirth is a fact.


Tiltbillings, I would disagree that rebirth is a fact. According to Wikipedia, a fact is the following (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fact):

A fact is a pragmatic truth, a statement that can, at least in theory, be checked and either confirmed or denied. Facts are often contrasted with opinions and beliefs, statements which are held to be true, but are not amenable to pragmatic confirmation or denial.


By this definition, I don't think rebirth is a fact as I can not check it nor can it be "amenable to pragmatic confirmation." From this definition it appears that rebirth is exactly the opposite of a fact: an opinion or belief that is "held to be true" but "not amenable to pragmatic confirmation."

Anyway, this post has nothing to do with my opinion or what I believe in. I am simply illiciting opinions on whether they disagree or agree with Ajahn Sumedho's statement.

--DarkDream
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Re: Is Rebirth Speculation?

Postby tiltbillings » Sun Mar 15, 2009 5:24 am

Tiltbillings, I would disagree that rebirth is a fact.


You are really not paying attention to what is being said here. Rebirth may be something that I know, based upon my experience, to be true, just as it nibbana or is suffering.

By this definition, I don't think rebirth is a fact as I can not check it nor can it be "amenable to pragmatic confirmation."


Of course it is. You just have to do the work.

I am simply illiciting opinions on whether they disagree or agree with Ajahn Sumedho's statement.


Ven Dhammanando's response covers it quite well, to the point not really much more needs to be said.
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.

"We eat cold eels and think distant thoughts." -- Jack Johnson
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Re: Is Rebirth Speculation?

Postby mikenz66 » Sun Mar 15, 2009 6:25 am

Hi DarkDream,
DarkDream wrote:Anyway, this post has nothing to do with my opinion or what I believe in. I am simply illiciting opinions on whether they disagree or agree with Ajahn Sumedho's statement.

For what purpose?
tiltbillings wrote:Ven Dhammanando's response covers it quite well, to the point not really much more needs to be said.

I agree. It seems to me that those who are uneasy about rebirth waste an inordinate amount of time talking about it. I think there are a lot more useful things to talk about on a Buddhist forum...

Metta
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Re: Is Rebirth Speculation?

Postby clw_uk » Sun Mar 15, 2009 11:49 am

the dhamma

That quote you have is from the beginning of that chapter. At the end of the same paragraph, the Ajahn writes about Ajahn Chah and his teachings on rebirth and then Ajahn Sumedho writes:

"rebirth in this sense is actually provable."


he is refering to ajahn chahs use of rebirth as meaning dependent origination that happens through moments in this life


As for Ajhan Sumedho, i have listened to lots of Dhamma talks by him, and he has said in reguards to clinging that "you can see how this would carry on past death" so i dont think he negates rebirth he is just saying that it can/is very speculative since if you have no knowledge of it, it just comes from thinking and specualtion, from what i can gather from his teachings he is stating that its more important to focus on the here and now and not speculate about the past or future, rebirth is hardly ever mentioned by him


Metta
Open your mind and see, open your mind and rise. Shine the light of wisdom and see, don't wait till the end of time.
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Re: Is Rebirth Speculation?

Postby genkaku » Sun Mar 15, 2009 12:14 pm

With no disrespect towards any, I think that rebirth is just a matter of fact for anyone who cares to observe their lives. A fact is just something like, "the sky is blue." No one sits around all day worrying that the sky is blue or believing that the sky is blue. There are chores to do.

To my mind, yesterday is gone and cannot be grasped or recaptured. Yesterday, I was X, but today I am Y. And the same goes for every moment and even fraction of a moment. And, by extension, if anyone wants to use time to speculate about it, perhaps I was an aardvark or a belly dancer or a tulku with a tall hat in some other time or place. Such speculations or even assured knowledge may support or inform this moment -- may encourage a nourishing and clear-headed lifestyle -- but that lifestyle and effort only occur in this moment ... the moment when the sky is blue.

As I say ... no disrespect towards anyone.
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Re: Is Rebirth Speculation?

Postby clw_uk » Sun Mar 15, 2009 3:23 pm

genkaku wrote:With no disrespect towards any, I think that rebirth is just a matter of fact for anyone who cares to observe their lives. A fact is just something like, "the sky is blue." No one sits around all day worrying that the sky is blue or believing that the sky is blue. There are chores to do.

To my mind, yesterday is gone and cannot be grasped or recaptured. Yesterday, I was X, but today I am Y. And the same goes for every moment and even fraction of a moment. And, by extension, if anyone wants to use time to speculate about it, perhaps I was an aardvark or a belly dancer or a tulku with a tall hat in some other time or place. Such speculations or even assured knowledge may support or inform this moment -- may encourage a nourishing and clear-headed lifestyle -- but that lifestyle and effort only occur in this moment ... the moment when the sky is blue.

As I say ... no disrespect towards anyone.




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Re: Is Rebirth Speculation?

Postby Individual » Mon Mar 16, 2009 10:53 pm

DarkDream wrote:[Moderators: I believe this post is appropriate in this sub-forum because I am presenting the view of a modern Therevada practioner. If you see otherwise and it should be in the "Dhamma Free for All" by all means move it.]

In Ajahn Sumedho's book The Sound of Silence there is a chapter named, "Questions About Awareness and Rebirth" (http://books.google.com/books?id=TqKbrmljVdwC&dq=the+sound+of+silence+sumedho&printsec=frontcover&source=bl&ots=kYk_AxIYfK&sig=eu02HpKqQDRSjIwVW2Qa-TodotU&hl=en&ei=V2W8SZ_9EomMsAOa5PmdAg&sa=X&oi=book_result&resnum=1&ct=result#PPA237,M1) where Ajahn Sumedho states:

"Rebirth," like "reincarnation," is a term that's used generally referring to having gone through a series of different lives, and then there are various views about whether once you get reincarnated into human form where you can go, become a frog again or something like that. . . . But the truth of the matter is, nobody really knows.

The historical Buddha refers to previous lives in the scriptures and things like this, but for me these things are speculative.

Do you guys agree with Ajahn Sumedho's view that rebirth is speculative? If you do or do not, then why?

--DarkDream

It depends on what you mean by rebirth.

If you mean, "Will this self be reborn? How will this self be reborn?" that is speculative. If you mean, "These actions will have effects. These chains of dependent origination will continue through death," that is not speculative.
The best things in life aren't things.

The Diamond Sutra
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