acinteyyo wrote: I really don't like punabbhava to be understood as "rebirth", I prefer the more precise meaning of "again becoming", which doesn't imply that much "speculative baggage" like "rebirth".
Do you have any thing more to go on other than what you do not like? Pali is a highly idiomatic language. I have yet to see anything convincing that "again becoming" is not to be taken as it traditionally has been understood as referring to what we call rebirth. Also, rebirth is no more "speculative" than any number of things found in the Buddha's teachings.
I fully agree that Pali is a highly idiomatic language. This is going to be quite difficult. It's already very difficult for me to express my understanding on this in my native language but I try to explain it anyway why "again becoming" is not to be understood as "rebirth" according to my understanding, please be patient and try to understand why I see it the way I do it. I don't call for infallability so if there obviously is something wrong point it out to me.
It depends on how much the understanding of bhava (and actually the teachings at all) is influenced by belief in self (atta-vada) in the first place. Bhava or "being", "becoming" depends on upādāna (clinging). Clinging to what? Clinging to one, more or all of the khandhā (aggregates). Because of this very clinging to the aggregates regarding one, more or all of them as self, gives rise to "being something/someone" or "becoming something/someone". But not actually being or becoming something/one but rather becoming "personality" (sakkāya). Attention! This doesn't mean truly becoming something/one it (sakkāya) means clinging to aggregates! -> pañc'upādānakkhandhā is sakkāya (see MN44
). This leads to birth (jāti). What is birth (MN9
Whatever birth, taking birth, descent, coming-to-be, coming-forth, appearance of aggregates, & acquisition of [sense] spheres of the various beings in this or that group of beings, that is called birth.
Now this understanding of bhava does not include nor imply any kind of self. It is absolutely necessary to understand "being/becoming something/someone" as "personality-view", namely the view
to be in essence somebody which is nothing else but pañc'upādānakkhandhā. In fact the inability to see this delusion is ignorance. I'm not talking about anybody at all. (Hope this important difference can be understood and you're getting the point
So when it comes to punabbhava (puna=again, bhava=being, becoming) it simply means again bhava, again what I explained above, which is to say again clinging to aggregates, again becoming personality. And that is definitely not what has traditionally been understood and is usually called "rebirth". It is not "rebirth" of what so ever after death of this body.
Birth is jāti and to be understood as explained by the Buddha. Why isn't he talking about punajāti then? It seems to me that people tend to think that birth (jāti) has ended, because they are already born but that's not true according to my understanding. As long as there is bhava there is birth, aging and death. The death of this body doesn't even matter at all, this doesn't make an end to bhava nor jāti. It's just death of a body. I don't apply "a certain bhava" and "a certain jāti" particularly to this body and another bhava to another body and so on. This is the way it seems to be commonly understood, like "to me applies my dependent origination and to you applies yours". I really don't see any support for such a view in the teachings of the Buddha.
The problem is, that people think I'm born, I'm aging, I will die. According to my understanding this is delusion. It just shows clinging to aggregates very well. Then they think, when I died I will be reborn, but because of their intellectual understanding of anatta, they try to avoid such formulations still beliefing in self and still not seeing it. The Buddha never taught that "I am born", "I will die" or "I will be reborn" he taught there is birth and death. And this has to be understood by means of dependent origination (see the way the Buddha answers to the questions in SN12.12
). But people still understand, ah okay so I was born, I will die and so on thinking in terms of me, mine and I while conceit and atta-vada are playing a dirty trick.
Hm... as I said quite difficult. I'm not really content with this post but I can't express myself better. Please ask as much as you like so that we may do away with any incomprehensibilities.
best wishes, acinteyyo