To be Buddhist you must accept kamma and rebirth?

An open and inclusive investigation into Buddhism and spiritual cultivation

To be Buddhist you must accept kamma and rebirth?

Yes
29
67%
No
12
28%
Not Sure
2
5%
 
Total votes : 43

Re: To be Buddhist you must accept kamma and rebirth?

Postby Ngawang Drolma. » Sat Mar 28, 2009 6:47 pm

It seems like Peter is usually making the same point: keep your eye on the ball.
Is it useful? What is the logical outcome of x, y or z? All the while keeping practice and progress in mind.

I like it :reading:

I admit that I haven't read through this whole thread, just a few of Peter's posts. But this suggestion, to consider what is useful and practical seems much more useful than the endless poking at rebirth. I wrote this in another forum and I believe it's true:

If you don't believe in rebirth, hurry up and focus on the here and now! It's all you have, so make the most of it. If you do believe in rebirth, meditate like your hair was on fire! This is a rare opportunity. The same urgency applies in both cases.

:namaste:
User avatar
Ngawang Drolma.
 
Posts: 805
Joined: Wed Dec 31, 2008 7:38 pm

Re: To be Buddhist you must accept kamma and rebirth?

Postby DarkDream » Sat Mar 28, 2009 10:52 pm

retrofuturist wrote:An extract from MN 60 - Apannaka Sutta
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html

A. "There are some brahmans & contemplatives who hold this doctrine, hold this view: 'There is nothing given, nothing offered, nothing sacrificed. There is no fruit or result of good or bad actions. There is no this world, no next world, no mother, no father, no spontaneously reborn beings; no priests or contemplatives who, faring rightly and practicing rightly, proclaim this world and the next after having directly known and realized it for themselves.'1

B. "Some brahmans & contemplatives, speaking in direct opposition to those brahmans & contemplatives, say this: 'There is what is given, what is offered, what is sacrificed. There are fruits & results of good & bad actions. There is this world & the next world. There is mother & father. There are spontaneously reborn beings; there are priests & contemplatives who, faring rightly & practicing rightly, proclaim this world & the next after having directly known & realized it for themselves.'

"What do you think, householders? Don't these brahmans & contemplatives speak in direct opposition to each other?"

"Yes, lord."

A1. "Now, householders, of those brahmans & contemplatives who hold this doctrine, hold this view — 'There is nothing given, nothing offered, nothing sacrificed. There is no fruit or result of good or bad actions. There is no this world, no next world, no mother, no father, no spontaneously reborn beings; no priests or contemplatives who, faring rightly and practicing rightly, proclaim this world and the next after having directly known and realized it for themselves' — it can be expected that, shunning these three skillful activities — good bodily conduct, good verbal conduct, good mental conduct — they will adopt & practice these three unskillful activities: bad bodily conduct, bad verbal conduct, bad mental conduct. Why is that? Because those venerable brahmans & contemplatives do not see, in unskillful activities, the drawbacks, the degradation, and the defilement; nor in skillful activities the rewards of renunciation, resembling cleansing.

. . .

B1. "Now, householders, of those brahmans & contemplatives who hold this doctrine, hold this view — 'There is what is given, what is offered, what is sacrificed. There are fruits & results of good & bad actions. There is this world & the next world. There is mother & father. There are spontaneously reborn beings; there are priests & contemplatives who, faring rightly & practicing rightly, proclaim this world & the next after having directly known & realized it for themselves' — it can be expected that, shunning these three unskillful activities — bad bodily conduct, bad verbal conduct, bad mental conduct — they will adopt & practice these three skillful activities: good bodily conduct, good verbal conduct, good mental conduct. Why is that? Because those venerable brahmans & contemplatives see in unskillful activities the drawbacks, the degradation, and the defilement; and in skillful activities the rewards of renunciation, resembling cleansing.



I take exception on this particular sutta. I do not believe it was spoken by the Buddha. First off, the stock passage, "'There is nothing given, nothing offered" and so on was spoken by Ajita Kesakambali and not by the Buddha even though the Buddha is portrayed as saying it. The Buddha never thought that the sacrifice of animals (this was the original meaning spoken by Ajita) was a good thing.

Another thing is that if this view is so bad, why in the Kalama sutta the Buddha allowed for the possibility for those not to believe in life after death?

The funny thing is that there are tons of people in the world who do not believe in "spontaneous reborn beings" and most religions in the world do not believe in "sacrifices" and for atheists no "other world", but not all of them are causing the greatest harm in this world. In truth, it is usually the very religious fanatics who carry out the greatest atrocities (who do believe in an after life).

--DarkDream
DarkDream
 
Posts: 62
Joined: Tue Feb 17, 2009 6:25 am

Re: To be Buddhist you must accept kamma and rebirth?

Postby clw_uk » Sat Mar 28, 2009 11:04 pm

DarkDream


The funny thing is that there are tons of people in the world who do not believe in "spontaneous reborn beings" and most religions in the world do not believe in "sacrifices" and for atheists no "other world", but not all of them are causing the greatest harm in this world. In truth, it is usually the very religious fanatics who carry out the greatest atrocities (who do believe in an after life).



When it containts a view about God, people can think that to kill in God's name is good

There is a difference with Rebirth, no one would think that to get a better rebirth one would have to kill or do any kind of harm

In reguards to the stock passage, i agree with you that it probably wasnt spoken by the Buddha since they are the words of Ajita Kesakambali, however this misses a point i feel. The words arent important but the message it puts accross, that all is pointless and it doesnt matter what you do since there is only a nihilistic life and an annihilation at death

Its the general view of life and also what that leads to that is opposed, not so much the words used
Last edited by clw_uk on Sat Mar 28, 2009 11:08 pm, edited 1 time in total.
“ Your mind is likewise blocked. But the right road awaits you still. Cast out your doubts, your fears and your desires, let go of grief and of hope as well, for where these rule , then the mind is their subject." Boetius
User avatar
clw_uk
 
Posts: 3479
Joined: Sun Jan 11, 2009 2:36 am
Location: Wales, United Kingdom

Re: To be Buddhist you must accept kamma and rebirth?

Postby DarkDream » Sat Mar 28, 2009 11:07 pm

Chris wrote:Hello all,

On the topic of "To be Buddhist you must accept kamma and rebirth?":

To me, it's quite simple. I hold that, if, after studying the Teachings, practising sila and meditation, and discussing with other buddhists, for a long time, - you find you have proven that much of what the Buddha teaches is true - but cannot produce irrefutable proof of kamma and rebirth - then simply set them aside and live "as if" they are true, as everything else you have tested has been found to be. This is what saddha is to me - confidence in the teachings of the Buddha because of what I have found to be true, and acceptance of things which he also teaches which are not provable at my present level of understanding.


Chris, I think this particular perspective is very dangerous. It seems to me that you should test everything, especially the supposidly reported words of the Buddha as captured in the scriptures that was passed down orally for hundreds or years before being written down and for thousands of years copied. In that time it is apparent that some insertions and deletions occurred with various corruptions.

There appears to be a fundamental assumption that everything promulgated by tradition was taught be the Buddha. This is not necessarily so. Another thing, is that one should never just follow a tradition in all its aspects even if the other elements seem ok. For example, what happens if the tradition all of a sudden began teaching that devas were actually aliens from another planet, would one believe that blindly?

The point is that no one should ever just take the word of some body of authority or some scripture. The Buddha made this clear of various occasions. By believing in something just because there is a tradition there is to suspend rational thinking and the ability to really investigate the matter.

--DarkDream
DarkDream
 
Posts: 62
Joined: Tue Feb 17, 2009 6:25 am

Re: To be Buddhist you must accept kamma and rebirth?

Postby clw_uk » Sat Mar 28, 2009 11:13 pm

DarkDream


especially the supposidly reported words of the Buddha as captured in the scriptures that was passed down orally for hundreds or years before being written down and for thousands of years copied. In that time it is apparent that some insertions and deletions occurred with various corruptions.



Do you believe that memebers of the Sangha would allow such changes and deletions? I agree that some corruptions would have crept naturaly but i doubt it would have been to any serious degree, maybe a few words or the setting etc

I have read somewhere that Theravada, at least, added some things later, but they never deleted anything they already had
“ Your mind is likewise blocked. But the right road awaits you still. Cast out your doubts, your fears and your desires, let go of grief and of hope as well, for where these rule , then the mind is their subject." Boetius
User avatar
clw_uk
 
Posts: 3479
Joined: Sun Jan 11, 2009 2:36 am
Location: Wales, United Kingdom

Re: To be Buddhist you must accept kamma and rebirth?

Postby cooran » Sat Mar 28, 2009 11:38 pm

Hello DarkDream,

One needs to take the context and audience into account when looking at particular suttas, as well as the purpose of the Buddha in giving a particular teaching ... particularly before making statements about Buddhavacana like "I do not believe it was spoken by the Buddha".

I would be very interested to read any scholarly research which would support that remark about this particular sutta, together with links to where I can read it.

In this sutta on The Incontrovertible Teaching, the Buddha gives a group of Brahmin householders from Sālā who had met him before, (see MN 41 where they asked about causes for particular rebirths) an "incontrovertible teaching" that will help them steer clear of the tangle of contentious views and the Buddha explores some of the implications of different views.

metta
Chris
---The trouble is that you think you have time---
---Worry is the Interest, paid in advance, on a debt you may never owe---
---It's not what happens to you in life that is important ~ it's what you do with it ---
User avatar
cooran
 
Posts: 7605
Joined: Tue Jan 06, 2009 11:32 pm
Location: Queensland, Australia

Re: To be Buddhist you must accept kamma and rebirth?

Postby tiltbillings » Sun Mar 29, 2009 12:03 am

It seems to me that you should test everything, especially the supposidly reported words of the Buddha as captured in the scriptures that was passed down orally for hundreds or years before being written down and for thousands of years copied. In that time it is apparent that some insertions and deletions occurred with various corruptions.


Yes, yes, those monks slipping in rebirth into this very large, complext body of text, weaving it into the fabric of the Buddha's teachings so that it is an integral part of what we now have as his teachings. Nefarious monks, clever monks, fooling us with their Hindu ways. Thank gawd for the clear sighted Dark Dream seeing through this ruse, telling us what is truly what and what we should do about it. We are the lucky ones, and let us not forget that the Buddha truly taught that there is a God, a God-of-gods, Creator of all things to whom we should pray, to whom we should worship, but those monks, those nefarious clever and naughty, smirking monks, they altered the texts to meet their atheistic agenda to make the Buddha look foolish, to undermine allegiance to him by presenting him as an atheist. Thank God, Dark Dream has made us aware of of this rebirth conspiracy which opens the door so we really know the truly true teachings of the Buddha, which is that Jesus is our true Lord and only by Him are we saved. Now, were is my tinfoil hat?
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
User avatar
tiltbillings
 
Posts: 19559
Joined: Wed Dec 31, 2008 9:25 am

Re: To be Buddhist you must accept kamma and rebirth?

Postby tiltbillings » Sun Mar 29, 2009 12:11 am

It seems to me that you should test everything, especially the supposidly reported words of the Buddha as captured in the scriptures that was passed down orally for hundreds or years before being written down and for thousands of years copied. In that time it is apparent that some insertions and deletions occurred with various corruptions.


And you, Dark Dream, have tested this? Your experience tell you that there is no rebirth? How so? What would count as proof?

My experience tells me otherwise, very much so.
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
User avatar
tiltbillings
 
Posts: 19559
Joined: Wed Dec 31, 2008 9:25 am

Re: To be Buddhist you must accept kamma and rebirth?

Postby DarkDream » Sun Mar 29, 2009 12:14 am

clw_uk wrote:In reguards to the stock passage, i agree with you that it probably wasnt spoken by the Buddha since they are the words of Ajita Kesakambali, however this misses a point i feel. The words arent important but the message it puts accross, that all is pointless and it doesnt matter what you do since there is only a nihilistic life and an annihilation at death

Its the general view of life and also what that leads to that is opposed, not so much the words used

But Chris I do think this is the point. Historically, such passages are understood way too literally by the tradition, so if you don't happen to believe in a "other world" or hell beings, that you do not have right view. The tradition, in my opinion, has understood it be the letter and not the spirit. To take it by the letter would mean that anyone who does not believe in the pantheon of the largely Brahmanic cosmology is not practicing right view.

The spirit of the passage, which I do agree with you is how it should be interpreted, indicates to me at least that those who do not believe that their actions have effects on themselves and others is a wrong view to have. That's all. This I have no question the Buddha would have agreed and most likely have spoken against.

--DarkDream
DarkDream
 
Posts: 62
Joined: Tue Feb 17, 2009 6:25 am

Re: To be Buddhist you must accept kamma and rebirth?

Postby kc2dpt » Sun Mar 29, 2009 12:40 am

It seems to me the argument that we can't know what the Buddha actually taught is besides the point of asking what makes a Buddhist. A Buddhist practices the teachings of Buddhism - the teachings of the Buddha as they have come down to us. If you want to say "Maybe the Buddha didn't teach rebirth" then you are creating something new, something having nothing to do with any Buddhist tradition, something not Buddhism.

Fact is, you can say this "maybe" about any teaching you don't like. You like indulging in sensual pleasure? Maybe he didn't teach sensual pleasures as like a poisonous snake or falling into debt or like a vine which drags down a large tree.

Like to drink? Maybe he didn't teach abstinence from alcohol. Obviously that was stuck in by later (and uptight) monks.

Maybe he didn't teach liberation at all. Probably that was just made up too. Who knows? :shrug:
- Peter

Be heedful and you will accomplish your goal.
User avatar
kc2dpt
 
Posts: 956
Joined: Thu Jan 01, 2009 3:48 pm

Re: To be Buddhist you must accept kamma and rebirth?

Postby DarkDream » Sun Mar 29, 2009 12:55 am

clw_uk wrote:DarkDream
Do you believe that memebers of the Sangha would allow such changes and deletions? I agree that some corruptions would have crept naturaly but i doubt it would have been to any serious degree, maybe a few words or the setting etc

I have read somewhere that Theravada, at least, added some things later, but they never deleted anything they already had


I do believe in some particular cases that the Sangha would allow changes to occur if they thought a particular sutta did not fit their particular traditional view on things. Please remember that the various early Buddhist schools disagreed on issues and they something edited slightly some of the suttas to fit their particular view point.

While I agree that addition was far more likely (because they did not want to mess with the original scriptures) there is cases to be argued that there were changes made and in the changes essentially deletions of what was originally there.

Just one example I found is from Richard F Gombrich's book, "How Buddhism Began." Here is a snippet of the particular passage that is of interest:

http://books.google.com/books?id=aIOY5g9npMEC&dq=how+buddhism+began&printsec=frontcover&source=bn&hl=en&ei=L8XOSaOlMqWatAPTkIyiAw&sa=X&oi=book_result&resnum=5&ct=result#PPA123,M1

At this point we turn to the Susima Sutta . . . I wish to demonstrate that is is an incoherent reworking of a text which originally made quite different points. This original text, or something like it, is preserved in Chinese translation. . . . It is not difficult to see why the above text should have been changed: it is most uncomplimentary to a group of monks.


--DarkDream
DarkDream
 
Posts: 62
Joined: Tue Feb 17, 2009 6:25 am

Re: To be Buddhist you must accept kamma and rebirth?

Postby DarkDream » Sun Mar 29, 2009 1:31 am

Chris wrote: I would be very interested to read any scholarly research which would support that remark about this particular sutta, together with links to where I can read it.


Chris, I haven't done a lot of research but it is interesting in this light that Thanissaro in his comment of the sutta says the following http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/mn/mn.060.than.html:
It is noteworthy that the arguments in A2 and B2 are not safe-bet arguments, for they assume that A is wrong and B is right. Whether these arguments date from the Buddha or were added at a later date, no one knows.

The "A2" and "B2" arguments are the arguments that definitely say that there is a "next world." Even this great translator and a Buddhist monk has some doubts on whether the A2 and B2 arguments are authentic.

--DarkDream
DarkDream
 
Posts: 62
Joined: Tue Feb 17, 2009 6:25 am

Re: To be Buddhist you must accept kamma and rebirth?

Postby Ngawang Drolma. » Sun Mar 29, 2009 2:34 am

Again, Peter made me chuckle! Please listen to him for goodness sakes.

It is as useful as you're willing to apply it. Whatever it is that you're doubting, rebirth, 8FP, liberation, etc.

If you've had the good fortune to have a dharma teacher, this is the kind of response you get with esoteric questions. You get pulled back to what you're doing right now, and directed towards what you can do right now. You usually don't get big mystical answers :clap:
User avatar
Ngawang Drolma.
 
Posts: 805
Joined: Wed Dec 31, 2008 7:38 pm

Re: To be Buddhist you must accept kamma and rebirth?

Postby Ngawang Drolma. » Sun Mar 29, 2009 2:46 am

I have read this thread (and endless other threads about rebirth) and I fail to see the hang-up.

We know that sentient beings arise. When you die, which you will, your aggregates will break up and "you" will cease to exist. "You" will be gone. Another being will arise. If you could have compassion for a stranger on the street, afflicted with dukkha, hunger, sickness, whatever, it is the same with "future self." It won't resemble you. It is a stranger. But if you can have compassion for that stranger on the street, have compassion for that future being that will arise with afflictions and a new set of clinging aggregates that you've helped to "create." This is why we attempt to create conditions that will benefit that future sentient.

If you doubt it, just go to the labor and delivery wing of your nearest hospital. Sentients are arising every moment. At some undetermined time you will die, lose your "self," entirely, including your thoughts, your desires, your attachments, etc. and be one of those helpless little human babies, or animals, or any number of things that suffers terribly.

Have compassion for that stranger. Create conditions.

/\
User avatar
Ngawang Drolma.
 
Posts: 805
Joined: Wed Dec 31, 2008 7:38 pm

Re: To be Buddhist you must accept kamma and rebirth?

Postby pink_trike » Sun Mar 29, 2009 3:15 am

Peter wrote:Maybe he didn't teach sensual pleasures as like a poisonous snake or falling into debt or like a vine which drags down a large tree.

That's a lot of metaphor...

...which might support the idea that the references to a literally-described rebirth may actually be describing possible mind-states *like* being reborn as an animal, or "as if" being reborn. etc... for example, engaging in excessive indulgences that condition the mind to operate from lower areas of the brain that preserve our animal-like reactivity would be *like* being reborn as an animal (re-creating oneself in the *like*ness of an animal). Perhaps "rebirth" is actually (and only) reactive re-creation that is cumulative, moment by moment in this life.

Metaphor was commonly used in oral tradition and premodern writing as a container...a way of conveying abstractions to a simple people, and as a way of having sophisticated knowledge preserved by the largest number of people in the absence of writing and/or reliable preservation of written materials. Over time, cultural amnesia may have resulted in people only being able to see the container and forgetting what was being contained. It's worth considering.
Vision is Mind
Mind is Empty
Emptiness is Clear Light
Clear Light is Union
Union is Great Bliss

- Dawa Gyaltsen

---

Disclaimer: I'm a non-religious practitioner of Theravada, Mahayana/Vajrayana, and Tibetan Bon Dzogchen mind-training.
User avatar
pink_trike
 
Posts: 1038
Joined: Wed Dec 31, 2008 7:29 am

Re: To be Buddhist you must accept kamma and rebirth?

Postby jcsuperstar » Sun Mar 29, 2009 4:23 am

pink_trike wrote:
Peter wrote:Maybe he didn't teach sensual pleasures as like a poisonous snake or falling into debt or like a vine which drags down a large tree.

That's a lot of metaphor...

...which might support the idea that the references to a literally-described rebirth may actually be describing possible mind-states *like* being reborn as an animal, or "as if" being reborn. etc... for example, engaging in excessive indulgences that condition the mind to operate from lower areas of the brain that preserve our animal-like reactivity would be *like* being reborn as an animal (re-creating oneself in the *like*ness of an animal). Perhaps "rebirth" is actually (and only) reactive re-creation that is cumulative, moment by moment in this life.

Metaphor was commonly used in oral tradition and premodern writing as a container...a way of conveying abstractions to a simple people, and as a way of having sophisticated knowledge preserved by the largest number of people in the absence of writing and/or reliable preservation of written materials. Over time, cultural amnesia may have resulted in people only being able to see the container and forgetting what was being contained. It's worth considering.

we've been through that argument on here a few times i think (by on here i mean dhammawheel not this particular thread) and the monks on here will pointout again and again different suttas where it is made pretty clear that this rebirth the buddha spoke of is post mortum. now you can easily apply a non literal rebirth scheme to the dhamma and i think it's agreat teaching tool (we had it in zen and buddhadasa used it), but everytime that argument is made that this is the way buddha had meant it to be taught, we are shown evidence that it is not.

my only problem with rebirth is i just dont understand how it works, who chooses the next life etc. and if "I" am gone why should i care? things of this nature. but it's not really a topic i spend too much time thinking about.
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
User avatar
jcsuperstar
 
Posts: 1915
Joined: Wed Dec 31, 2008 5:15 am
Location: alaska

Re: To be Buddhist you must accept kamma and rebirth?

Postby jcsuperstar » Sun Mar 29, 2009 4:24 am

Peter wrote:It seems to me the argument that we can't know what the Buddha actually taught is besides the point of asking what makes a Buddhist. A Buddhist practices the teachings of Buddhism - the teachings of the Buddha as they have come down to us. If you want to say "Maybe the Buddha didn't teach rebirth" then you are creating something new, something having nothing to do with any Buddhist tradition, something not Buddhism.

Fact is, you can say this "maybe" about any teaching you don't like. You like indulging in sensual pleasure? Maybe he didn't teach sensual pleasures as like a poisonous snake or falling into debt or like a vine which drags down a large tree.

Like to drink? Maybe he didn't teach abstinence from alcohol. Obviously that was stuck in by later (and uptight) monks.

Maybe he didn't teach liberation at all. Probably that was just made up too. Who knows? :shrug:

i had planned on making this same argument.. thanks for posting it 1st! :toast:
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
User avatar
jcsuperstar
 
Posts: 1915
Joined: Wed Dec 31, 2008 5:15 am
Location: alaska

Re: To be Buddhist you must accept kamma and rebirth?

Postby tiltbillings » Sun Mar 29, 2009 5:16 am

DD:
I do believe in some particular cases that the Sangha would allow changes to occur if they thought a particular sutta did not fit their particular traditional view on things. Please remember that the various early Buddhist schools disagreed on issues and they something edited slightly some of the suttas to fit their particular view point.


That is a long, long way from the conspiracy theory which would require massive editing of the Sutta Pitaka across various schools you are positing in order to discredit the notion of rebirth.
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
User avatar
tiltbillings
 
Posts: 19559
Joined: Wed Dec 31, 2008 9:25 am

Re: To be Buddhist you must accept kamma and rebirth?

Postby kc2dpt » Sun Mar 29, 2009 4:07 pm

pink_trike wrote:That's a lot of metaphor...

...which might support the idea that the references to a literally-described rebirth may actually be describing possible mind-states *like* being reborn as an animal, or "as if" being reborn. etc...

Except we can see the Buddha wasn't that subtle about his metaphors. When he was making a metaphor he said so, plainly and unambiguously. The fact that the suttas are so full of deliberate metaphors coupled with the fact that not even once is rebirth presented as a metaphor seems to me pretty good evidence that rebirth was not intended to be taken as a metaphor.

Over time, cultural amnesia may have resulted in people only being able to see the container and forgetting what was being contained. It's worth considering.

Again, you are assuming a very large conspiracy over many thousands of people, dozens of countries, and a number of languages. Which is more likely? This large conspiracy? Or one person letting their dislike of a teaching, their societal influenced materialism, cloud their thinking and cause them to make up wild and unsupported excuses as to why they refuse to accept this teaching?
- Peter

Be heedful and you will accomplish your goal.
User avatar
kc2dpt
 
Posts: 956
Joined: Thu Jan 01, 2009 3:48 pm

Re: To be Buddhist you must accept kamma and rebirth?

Postby clw_uk » Sun Mar 29, 2009 10:02 pm

Greetings


I think rebirth can be seen as describing reality but it doesnt have to mean past death in some passages. There are some that states "reborn in brahma realm" while refering to someone who is still alive, so obviously it means the state of mind that comes about through meditation

However there are other passages that are harder to explain away as metaphor for what was described above, such as

"What is old kamma? The eye is to be seen as old kamma, fabricated & willed, capable of being felt. The ear... The nose... The tongue... The body... The intellect is to be seen as old kamma, fabricated & willed, capable of being felt. This is called old kamma.

And what is new kamma? Whatever kamma one does now with the body, with speech, or with the intellect. This is called new kamma."



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


and

The Blessed One said, "The ignorance with which the fool is obstructed, the craving with which he is conjoined, through which this body results: that ignorance has not been abandoned by the fool; that craving has not been destroyed. Why is that? The fool has not practiced the holy life for the right ending of stress. Therefore, at the break-up of the body, he is headed for a [new] body. Headed for a body, he is not entirely freed from birth, aging, death, sorrow, lamentation, pain, distress, & despair. I tell you, he is not entirely freed from stress & suffering.

"The ignorance with which the wise person is obstructed, the craving with which he is conjoined, through which this body results: that ignorance has been abandoned by the wise person; that craving has been destroyed. Why is that? The wise person has practiced the holy life for the right ending of stress. Therefore, at the break-up of the body, he is not headed for a [new] body. Not headed for a body, he is entirely freed from birth, aging, death, sorrow, lamentation, pain, distress, & despair. He is, I tell you, entirely freed from stress & suffering."



And

This contemplative Gotama — the leader of a community, the leader of a group, the teacher of a group, honored and famous, esteemed as holy by the mass of people — describes a disciple who has died and passed on in terms of places of rebirth: "That one is reborn there; that one is reborn there."

But when the disciple is an ultimate person, a foremost person, attained to the foremost attainment, the contemplative Gotama does not describe him, when he has died and passed on, in terms of places of rebirth: "That one is reborn there; that one is reborn there." Instead, he describes him thus: "He has cut through craving, severed the fetter, and by rightly breaking through conceit has made an end of suffering & stress."'


"So I was simply befuddled. I was uncertain: How is the teaching of Gotama the contemplative to be understood?"

"Of course you are befuddled, Vaccha. Of course you are uncertain. When there is a reason for befuddlement in you, uncertainty arises. I designate the rebirth of one who has sustenance, Vaccha, and not of one without sustenance. Just as a fire burns with sustenance and not without sustenance, even so I designate the rebirth of one who has sustenance and not of one without sustenance."


"But, Master Gotama, at the moment a flame is being swept on by the wind and goes a far distance, what do you designate as its sustenance then?"

"Vaccha, when a flame is being swept on by the wind and goes a far distance, I designate it as wind-sustained, for the wind is its sustenance at that time."

"And at the moment when a being sets this body aside and is not yet reborn in another body, what do you designate as its sustenance then?"

"Vaccha, when a being sets this body aside and is not yet reborn in another body, I designate it as craving-sustained, for craving is its sustenance at that time."


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

This last one, it could be interpreted as the "I" dying and the sense of "I" coming to be laying claim to the body, however in this sutta it is discussing people after death directly

Vaccha has heard other teachers describing rebirth for their followers be they an ultimate person (i.e. enlightened) or not, however he is confused with the Buddha because he only describes rebirth for those who are not an ultimate person (enlightened) and when an enlightened being dies, he doesnt say they are reborn

There is also these kind of suttas

"Sensing a feeling of pleasure, one discerns that it is fleeting, not grasped at, not relished. Sensing a feeling of pain... Sensing a feeling of neither pleasure nor pain, one discerns that it is fleeting, not grasped at, not relished. Sensing a feeling of pleasure, one senses it disjoined from it. Sensing a feeling of pain... Sensing a feeling of neither pleasure nor pain, one senses it disjoined from it. When sensing a feeling limited to the body, one discerns that 'I am sensing a feeling limited to the body.' When sensing a feeling limited to life, one discerns that 'I am sensing a feeling limited to life.' One discerns that 'With the break-up of the body, after the termination of life, all that is sensed, not being relished, will grow cold right here.'

"Just as an oil lamp burns in dependence on oil & wick; and from the termination of the oil & wick — and from not being provided any other sustenance — it goes out unnourished; even so, when sensing a feeling limited to the body, one discerns that 'I am sensing a feeling limited to the body.' When sensing a feeling limited to life, one discerns that 'I am sensing a feeling limited to life.' One discerns that 'With the break-up of the body, after the termination of life, all that is sensed, not being relished, will grow cold right here.'


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

The last one suggests that unless one has correct wisdom and sees things as they are, there will still be "fuel" and so things wont grow "cold". When things grow cold this is said to be nibbana (fires of greed, hatred and delusion of have put out)


These few suttas i have quoted are harder to dismiss as just metaphor, they imply something else

However slightly off topic but to address rebirth itself, if there is rebirth its anatta anyway, there is no "you" in it just like there isnt now, its not yours, and besides if one wants nibbana they are trying to stop birth and dukkha (and so rebirth after death if it is so)

Im starting to think, Why not practice like there is? If you practice really well and reach nibbana then if there is rebirth, "you" have gone past it, if there isnt then there was an extremely pleasant life full of wisdom

Even if you dont reach nibbana, if there is rebirth it will most likely be pleasant, if there isnt there was still a good and happy life (for most part)
Also if there is rebirth, its the same as this life, marked by Anicca, Anatta and Dukkha so one would have to practice the same again

I think the only time people fall down in practice in reguards to rebirth is when they begin to think of themselves in it, or plan for a better rebirth etc (so seeing it through ignorance etc, not to say anyone here is) but this would be due to a lack of wisdom, if one views it with wisdom i cant see how it can hold one back since one would see any birth, both of "I" in moments in this life and that after death, as Anicca, Anatta and Dukkha

Another point i have just thought of, lets say there is no rebirth at all, the buddha obviously still taught it so it must serve some kind of purpose thats connected with ending dukkha, as he said that all he teaches is benefical and connected with the quenching of dukkha

Metta

:anjali:
“ Your mind is likewise blocked. But the right road awaits you still. Cast out your doubts, your fears and your desires, let go of grief and of hope as well, for where these rule , then the mind is their subject." Boetius
User avatar
clw_uk
 
Posts: 3479
Joined: Sun Jan 11, 2009 2:36 am
Location: Wales, United Kingdom

PreviousNext

Return to Open Dhamma

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Bing [Bot], phil, Sanjay PS and 7 guests