the great rebirth debate

An open and inclusive investigation into Buddhism and spiritual cultivation

Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby tiltbillings » Sat Jul 23, 2011 9:28 am

Alex123 wrote:Considering how precise the Buddha was making sure that He would not be misinterpreted, is there any clear statement that He was merely talking about momentary mind states?
Dhp 33. Just as a fletcher straightens an arrow shaft, even so the discerning man straightens his mind — so fickle and unsteady, so difficult to guard.

34. As a fish when pulled out of water and cast on land throbs and quivers, even so is this mind agitated. Hence should one abandon the realm of Mara.

35. Wonderful, indeed, it is to subdue the mind, so difficult to subdue, ever swift, and seizing whatever it desires. A tamed mind brings happiness.

36. Let the discerning man guard the mind, so difficult to detect and extremely subtle, seizing whatever it desires. A guarded mind brings happiness.
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: 19584
Joined: Wed Dec 31, 2008 9:25 am

Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby daverupa » Tue Jul 26, 2011 1:50 pm

Bala-pandita Sutta: The Fool & the Wise Person

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.


There's always a bracketed portion in Suttas such as this, which always leaves me wondering - is it a grammatically understood case, is it contextual with respect to idiom, is it some manner of translation bias? I think the sentence reads better without it.

In any event, I agree that the idea of punabhava is here set out very simply, except that 'body' must be broadly understood as it encapsulates even the subtle bodies of devas and other beings, which can have all manner of dimensions and qualities.

I will also add that, as far as I can tell, this does not show that paticcasamuppada is to be understood solely with reference to punabhava, only that punabhava was part of what the Buddha explained to others. A leaf not left on the tree - might be important.
    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting oneself one protects others? By the pursuit, development, and cultivation of the four establishments of mindfulness. It is in such a way that by protecting oneself one protects others.

    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting others one protects oneself? By patience, harmlessness, goodwill, and sympathy. It is in such a way that by protecting others one protects oneself.
- Sedaka Sutta [SN 47.19]
User avatar
daverupa
 
Posts: 4182
Joined: Mon Jan 31, 2011 6:58 pm

Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby Alex123 » Tue Jul 26, 2011 3:05 pm

Hello Tilt,

Can you please explain what you are trying to say in viewtopic.php?f=16&t=41&start=1940#p141427? How do those poetic phrases in Dhammapada relate to lets say MN130 or to technical description of D.O. in SN12.2 or to birth in DN15?


"And what is birth? Whatever birth, taking birth, descent, coming-to-be, coming-forth, appearance of aggregates, & acquisition of [sense] media of the various beings in this or that group of beings, that is called birth.
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html

"If, after descending into the womb, consciousness were to depart, would name-and-form be produced for this world?"
"No, lord."
"If the consciousness of the young boy or girl were to be cut off, would name-and-form ripen, grow, and reach maturity?"
"No, lord."
"Thus this is a cause, this is a reason, this is an origination, this is a requisite condition for name-and-form, i.e., consciousness."
...
"'From birth as a requisite condition come aging and death.' Thus it has been said. And this is the way to understand how from birth as a requisite condition come aging and death. If there were no birth at all, in any way, of anything anywhere — i.e., of devas in the state of devas, of celestials in the state of celestials, of spirits in the state of spirits, of demons in the state of demons, of human beings in the human state, of quadrupeds in the state of quadrupeds, of birds in the state of birds, of snakes in the state of snakes, or of any being in its own state — in the utter absence of birth, from the cessation of birth, would aging and death be discerned?"

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


Was Buddha agnostic regarding post mortem fate?

6. Then the Venerable Ananda approached the Blessed One and, after greeting him respectfully, sat down at one side. And he said to the Blessed One: "Here in Nadika, Lord, there have passed away the bhikkhu Salha and the bhikkhuni Nanda. Likewise there have passed away the layman Sudatta and the laywoman Sujata; likewise the layman Kakudha, Kalinga, Nikata, Katissabha, Tuttha, Santuttha, Bhadda, and Subhadda. What is their destiny, Lord? What is their future state?"

7. "The bhikkhu Salha, Ananda, through the destruction of the taints in this very lifetime has attained to the taint-free deliverance of mind and deliverance through wisdom, having directly known and realized it by himself. [17]

"The bhikkhuni Nanda, Ananda, through the destruction of the five lower fetters (that bind beings to the world of the senses), has arisen spontaneously (among the Suddhavasa deities) and will come to final cessation in that very place, not liable to return from that world.

"The layman Sudatta, Ananda, through the destruction of the three fetters (self-belief, doubt, and faith in the efficacy of rituals and observances), and the lessening of lust, hatred, and delusion, has become a once-returner and is bound to make an end of suffering after having returned but once more to this world.

"The laywoman Sujata, Ananda, through the destruction of the three fetters has become a stream-enterer, and is safe from falling into the states of misery, assured, and bound for Enlightenment.

"The layman Kakudha, Ananda, through the destruction of the five lower fetters (that bind beings to the world of the senses), has arisen spontaneously (among the Suddhavasa deities), and will come to final cessation in that very place, not liable to return from that world.

"So it is with Kalinga, Nikata, Katissabha, Tuttha, Santuttha, Bhadda, and Subhadda, and with more than fifty laymen in Nadika. More than ninety laymen who have passed away in Nadika, Ananda, through the destruction of the three fetters, and the lessening of lust, hatred, and delusion, have become once-returners and are bound to make an end of suffering after having returned but once more to this world.

"More than five hundred laymen who have passed away in Nadika, Ananda, through the complete destruction of the three fetters have become stream-enterers, and are safe from falling into the states of misery, assured, and bound for Enlightenment.

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... tml#fnt-17


If there was no rebirth after death, then Buddha wouldn't say that such and such a person has been reborn here or there. If Ananda who knew D.O. would believe only in momentary D.O. that happens within this life, then Ananda would not ask the Buddha such question. Question of post-mortem destiny would not make sense if there were no rebirth for non-Arahants.
”Even the water melting from the snow-capped peaks finds its way to the ocean."
User avatar
Alex123
 
Posts: 2860
Joined: Wed Mar 10, 2010 11:32 pm

Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby Nikaya35 » Tue Jul 26, 2011 7:26 pm

Alex I agree with you . In the Nikayas the Buddha talk about literal karma and rebirth many times . Is clear that is part of his teachings. Claiming that the Buddha never teach both doctrines based in the Nikayas is a mayor BULL.... Infact nihilism ( denying karma and literal rebirth ) is a wrong view according to the Buddha in the Nikayas and eternalism as well. According to the nikayas the Buddha have 3 knowledges .( 1) The destruction of taints . (2) His past lives and (3) how beings get reborn in different destinations according to their karma . His followers asked him about the destination of others persons after death and he answers . In many sutras in the Nikayas the Buddha talk with devas and other Samsara beings . The truth is that Buddhism is a religion . Buddhism is a SPIRITUAL PATH . The teachings of the Buddha have things that can been verified by direct knowledge and experience by everyone and some aspects like Karma and Rebirth that can been verified by few beings . :smile: :smile:
Nikaya35
 
Posts: 103
Joined: Wed Nov 17, 2010 4:36 am

Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby Kenshou » Tue Jul 26, 2011 7:56 pm

If we're going to be picky, I don't think nihilism is the right word. I believe what is often translated as that is ucchedavada, which carries the implication of a self which gets annihilated. It is possible to believe in a lack of literal rebirth without believing that there is a self involved, just as it is possible to hold the view of literal rebirth without a self/soul/atma involved.

http://www.budsas.org/ebud/ebdha263.htm

Anyway, just a nitpick.
Kenshou
 
Posts: 1029
Joined: Sun Nov 15, 2009 12:03 am
Location: Minneapolis, MN

Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby cooran » Tue Jul 26, 2011 8:15 pm

Kenshou wrote:If we're going to be picky, I don't think nihilism is the right word. I believe what is often translated as that is ucchedavada, which carries the implication of a self which gets annihilated. It is possible to believe in a lack of literal rebirth without believing that there is a self involved, just as it is possible to hold the view of literal rebirth without a self/soul/atma involved.

http://www.budsas.org/ebud/ebdha263.htm

Anyway, just a nitpick.


Yes, no need to cling to a belief in a soul or self - the Buddha’s teachings are about the constant moment by moment arising, changing while standing, and falling away of the stream of cittas - all with blinding speed, which gives the deluded the feel/appearance of a continuing self.
This stream continues onward flavoured/coloured by its baggage of wholesome and unwholesome kamma until enlightenment and cessation is achieved (without a particular constant individual identity attached).

with 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: 7618
Joined: Tue Jan 06, 2009 11:32 pm
Location: Queensland, Australia

Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby tiltbillings » Wed Jul 27, 2011 11:09 am

Alex123 wrote:Hello Tilt,

Can you please explain what you are trying to say in http://www.dhammawheel.com/viewtopic.ph ... 40#p141427? How do those poetic phrases in Dhammapada relate to lets say MN130 or to technical description of D.O. in SN12.2 or to birth in DN15?


Alex123 wrote:Considering how precise the Buddha was making sure that He would not be misinterpreted, is there any clear statement that He was merely talking about momentary mind states?
What do you mean by momentary mind states?
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: 19584
Joined: Wed Dec 31, 2008 9:25 am

Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby daverupa » Wed Jul 27, 2011 12:55 pm

tiltbillings wrote:
Alex123 wrote:Hello Tilt,

Can you please explain what you are trying to say in viewtopic.php?f=16&t=41&start=1940#p141427? How do those poetic phrases in Dhammapada relate to lets say MN130 or to technical description of D.O. in SN12.2 or to birth in DN15?


Alex123 wrote:Considering how precise the Buddha was making sure that He would not be misinterpreted, is there any clear statement that He was merely talking about momentary mind states?
What do you mean by momentary mind states?


:popcorn:
    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting oneself one protects others? By the pursuit, development, and cultivation of the four establishments of mindfulness. It is in such a way that by protecting oneself one protects others.

    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting others one protects oneself? By patience, harmlessness, goodwill, and sympathy. It is in such a way that by protecting others one protects oneself.
- Sedaka Sutta [SN 47.19]
User avatar
daverupa
 
Posts: 4182
Joined: Mon Jan 31, 2011 6:58 pm

Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby Alex123 » Wed Jul 27, 2011 3:55 pm

Kenshou wrote:If we're going to be picky, I don't think nihilism is the right word. I believe what is often translated as that is ucchedavada, which carries the implication of a self which gets annihilated. It is possible to believe in a lack of literal rebirth without believing that there is a self involved, just as it is possible to hold the view of literal rebirth without a self/soul/atma involved.

http://www.budsas.org/ebud/ebdha263.htm

Anyway, just a nitpick.


But even if we reject atta and post-mortem rebirth, then still this idea qualifies as nihilism as it denies the results of kamma after the body falls apart (death).
Last edited by Alex123 on Wed Jul 27, 2011 4:01 pm, edited 1 time in total.
”Even the water melting from the snow-capped peaks finds its way to the ocean."
User avatar
Alex123
 
Posts: 2860
Joined: Wed Mar 10, 2010 11:32 pm

Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby Alex123 » Wed Jul 27, 2011 3:59 pm

tiltbillings wrote:
Alex123 wrote:Considering how precise the Buddha was making sure that He would not be misinterpreted, is there any clear statement that He was merely talking about momentary mind states?
What do you mean by momentary mind states?


What I had in mind was:
The idea that birth is only metaphorical description of a moment when the mind takes on some identity, and death is metaphorical description of the cessation of that momentary mind state. Where did the Buddha explicitly taught this and denied birth & death as is commonly known?
”Even the water melting from the snow-capped peaks finds its way to the ocean."
User avatar
Alex123
 
Posts: 2860
Joined: Wed Mar 10, 2010 11:32 pm

Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby tiltbillings » Wed Jul 27, 2011 5:35 pm

Alex123 wrote:
tiltbillings wrote:
Alex123 wrote:Considering how precise the Buddha was making sure that He would not be misinterpreted, is there any clear statement that He was merely talking about momentary mind states?
What do you mean by momentary mind states?


What I had in mind was:
The idea that birth is only metaphorical description of a moment when the mind takes on some identity, and death is metaphorical description of the cessation of that momentary mind state. Where did the Buddha explicitly taught this and denied birth & death as is commonly known?
Since that is not what I was talking about, this is not a discussion of interest to me.
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: 19584
Joined: Wed Dec 31, 2008 9:25 am

Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby Kusala » Sun Jul 31, 2011 10:34 pm

stuka wrote:
Ben wrote:My personal opinion is that the Buddha talked about literal rebirth. It accords with my reading of the Suttas and Venerable Bodhi's 'A comprehensive manual of the Abhidhamma'.
However, I think the real issue is not so much whether rebirth exists or doesn't exist, is what is it that wanders on. And for me, this is the million dollar question. Not only understanding paticcasamuppada, understanding anatta, the process of becoming (and unbecoming) from an intellectual point, but developing naana, (insight/knowledge) with regards to the reality of rebirth and anatta directly through bhavana.
Kind regards

Ben



He talked about reincarnation to those who clearly could not accept his own radical teachings. The true issue that he dealt with was human suffering through ignorance. Part of finding that release was ridding oneself off speculative view. The Buddha's teaching of Anatta had nothing to do with pre-Buddha notions of reincarnation. Nor did he teach "rebirth", which was a later post-Buddha attempt to force pre-Buddha reincarnation speculative view into the Buddha's teachings.


How do we explain this:

"...In England, a 5 year old girl said she could remember her other mother and father and she talked vividly about what sounded like the events in the life of another person. Parapsychologists were called in and asked her hundreds of questions to which she gave answers. She spoke of living in a particular village, in what appeared to be Spain. She gave the name of the village, the name of the street she lived in, her neighbours’ names and details about her everyday life there. she also tearfully spoke of how she had been struck by a car and died of her injuries two days later.

When these details were checked, they were found to be accurate. There was a village in Spain with the name the child had given. There was a house of the type she had described in the street she had named. What is more, it was found that a 23 year old woman living in the house had been killed in a car accident five years before...Now how is it possible for a five year old living in England who had never been to Spain to know all these details?"
Image

Homage to the Buddha
Thus indeed, is that Blessed One: He is the Holy One, fully enlightened, endowed with clear vision and virtuous conduct, sublime, the Knower of the worlds, the incomparable leader of men to be tamed, the teacher of gods and men, enlightened and blessed.

Homage to the Teachings
The Dhamma of the Blessed One is perfectly expounded; to be seen here and now; not delayed in
time; inviting one to come and see; onward leading (to Nibbana); to be known by the wise, each for himself.
User avatar
Kusala
 
Posts: 450
Joined: Sun Jan 23, 2011 11:02 am

Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby bodom » Sun Jul 31, 2011 10:51 pm

Hi kusula.

There are many examples such as the above:

It is perhaps quite true that a direct proof for rebirth cannot be given. We have, however, the authentic reports about children in Burma and elsewhere, who sometimes are able to remember quite distinctly (probably in dreams) events of their previous life. By the way, what we see in dreams are mostly distorted reflexes of real things and happenings experienced in this or a previous life. And how could we ever explain the birth of such prodigies as Jeremy Bentham, who already in his fourth year could read and write Latin and Greek; or John Stuart Mill, who at the age of three read Greek and at the age of six wrote a history of Rome; or Babington Macaulay, who in his sixth year wrote a compendium of world history; or Beethoven, who gave public concerts when he was seven; or Mozart, who already before his sixth year had written musical compositions; or Voltaire, who read the fables of Lafontaine when he was three years old. Should all these prodigies and geniuses, who for the most part came from illiterate parents, not already in previous births have laid the foundations to their extraordinary faculties? "Natura non facit saltus: nature makes no leaps." - Nyanatiloka Mahathera


http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/auth ... 4.html#ch2

:anjali:
The heart of the path is SO simple. No need for long explanations. Give up clinging to love and hate, just rest with things as they are. That is all I do in my own practice. Do not try to become anything. Do not make yourself into anything. Do not be a meditator. Do not become enlightened. When you sit, let it be. When you walk, let it be. Grasp at nothing. Resist nothing. Of course, there are dozens of meditation techniques to develop samadhi and many kinds of vipassana. But it all comes back to this - just let it all be. Step over here where it is cool, out of the battle. - Ajahn Chah
User avatar
bodom
 
Posts: 4617
Joined: Fri Jan 09, 2009 6:18 pm
Location: San Antonio, Texas

Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby Nikaya35 » Mon Aug 01, 2011 6:04 am

Kusala wrote:
stuka wrote:
Ben wrote:My personal opinion is that the Buddha talked about literal rebirth. It accords with my reading of the Suttas and Venerable Bodhi's 'A comprehensive manual of the Abhidhamma'.
However, I think the real issue is not so much whether rebirth exists or doesn't exist, is what is it that wanders on. And for me, this is the million dollar question. Not only understanding paticcasamuppada, understanding anatta, the process of becoming (and unbecoming) from an intellectual point, but developing naana, (insight/knowledge) with regards to the reality of rebirth and anatta directly through bhavana.
Kind regards

Ben



He talked about reincarnation to those who clearly could not accept his own radical teachings. The true issue that he dealt with was human suffering through ignorance. Part of finding that release was ridding oneself off speculative view. The Buddha's teaching of Anatta had nothing to do with pre-Buddha notions of reincarnation. Nor did he teach "rebirth", which was a later post-Buddha attempt to force pre-Buddha reincarnation speculative view into the Buddha's teachings.


How do we explain this:

"...In England, a 5 year old girl said she could remember her other mother and father and she talked vividly about what sounded like the events in the life of another person. Parapsychologists were called in and asked her hundreds of questions to which she gave answers. She spoke of living in a particular village, in what appeared to be Spain. She gave the name of the village, the name of the street she lived in, her neighbours’ names and details about her everyday life there. she also tearfully spoke of how she had been struck by a car and died of her injuries two days later.

When these details were checked, they were found to be accurate. There was a village in Spain with the name the child had given. There was a house of the type she had described in the street she had named. What is more, it was found that a 23 year old woman living in the house had been killed in a car accident five years before...Now how is it possible for a five year old living in England who had never been to Spain to know all these details?"


What Stuka is saying is complete BULL.......... . He claims that the Buddha doesn't teach or that the Buddha don't really think that Literal Karma and Rebirth is true. And worst he is making those claims based in the Nikayas !!!! Anyone that read the complete 4 nikayas will realize that what he is saying is rubbish and the Nikayas says otherwise.
The nikayas have tons of sutras where the Buddha talk about Karma and Rebirth as part of his teachings .
Nikaya35
 
Posts: 103
Joined: Wed Nov 17, 2010 4:36 am

Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby Ben » Mon Aug 01, 2011 6:52 am

That is a very old friend you dredged up, maitreya31.
Yes, some of us are very familiar with Stuka and his peculiar form of bs.
kind regards

Ben
"One cannot step twice into the same river, nor can one grasp any mortal substance in a stable condition, but it scatters and again gathers; it forms and dissolves, and approaches and departs."

- Heraclitus


Compassionate Hands Foundation (Buddhist aid in Myanmar) • Buddhist Global ReliefUNHCR
Buddhist Life Stories of Australia

e: ben.dhammawheel@gmail.com
User avatar
Ben
Site Admin
 
Posts: 16146
Joined: Wed Dec 31, 2008 12:49 am
Location: Land of the sleeping gods

Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby Kusala » Wed Aug 03, 2011 12:52 am

bodom wrote:Hi kusula.

There are many examples such as the above:

It is perhaps quite true that a direct proof for rebirth cannot be given. We have, however, the authentic reports about children in Burma and elsewhere, who sometimes are able to remember quite distinctly (probably in dreams) events of their previous life. By the way, what we see in dreams are mostly distorted reflexes of real things and happenings experienced in this or a previous life. And how could we ever explain the birth of such prodigies as Jeremy Bentham, who already in his fourth year could read and write Latin and Greek; or John Stuart Mill, who at the age of three read Greek and at the age of six wrote a history of Rome; or Babington Macaulay, who in his sixth year wrote a compendium of world history; or Beethoven, who gave public concerts when he was seven; or Mozart, who already before his sixth year had written musical compositions; or Voltaire, who read the fables of Lafontaine when he was three years old. Should all these prodigies and geniuses, who for the most part came from illiterate parents, not already in previous births have laid the foundations to their extraordinary faculties? "Natura non facit saltus: nature makes no leaps." - Nyanatiloka Mahathera


http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/auth ... 4.html#ch2

:anjali:


Thanks. From Ven S. Dhammika website http://www.buddhanet.net/3-gqga.htm



...Professor Gust Stromberg, the famous Swedish astronomer, physicist and friend of Einstein also found the idea of rebirth appealing:

"Opinions differ whether human souls can be reincarnated on the earth or not. In 1936 a very interesting case was thoroughly investigated and reported by the government authorities in India. A girl (Shanti Devi from Deli) could accurately describe her previous life (at Muttra, five hundred miles from Deli) which ended about a year before her 'second birth'. She gave the name of her husband and child and described her home and life history. The investigating commission brought her to her former relatives, who verified all her statements. Among the people of India reincarnations are regarded as commonplace; the astonishing thing for them in this case was the great number of facts the girl remembered. This and similar cases can be regarded as additional evidence for the theory of the indestructibility of memory".

Professor Julian Huxley, the distinguished British scientist who was Director General of UNESCO believed that rebirth was quite in harmony with scientific thinking:

"There is nothing against a permanently surviving spirit-individuality being in some way given off at death, as a definite wireless message is given off by a sending apparatus working in a particular ways. But it must be remembered that the wireless message only becomes a message again when it comes in contact with a new, material structure - the receiver. So with our possible spirit-emanation. It would never think or feel unless again "embodied" in some way. our personalities are so based on body that it is really impossible to think of survival which would be in any true sense personal without a body of sorts. I can think of something being given off which could bear the same relation to men and women as a wireless message to the transmitting apparatus for mind".
Image

Homage to the Buddha
Thus indeed, is that Blessed One: He is the Holy One, fully enlightened, endowed with clear vision and virtuous conduct, sublime, the Knower of the worlds, the incomparable leader of men to be tamed, the teacher of gods and men, enlightened and blessed.

Homage to the Teachings
The Dhamma of the Blessed One is perfectly expounded; to be seen here and now; not delayed in
time; inviting one to come and see; onward leading (to Nibbana); to be known by the wise, each for himself.
User avatar
Kusala
 
Posts: 450
Joined: Sun Jan 23, 2011 11:02 am

Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby Lazy_eye » Wed Aug 03, 2011 11:10 am

How could we ever explain the birth of such prodigies as Jeremy Bentham, who already in his fourth year could read and write Latin and Greek; or John Stuart Mill, who at the age of three read Greek and at the age of six wrote a history of Rome; or Babington Macaulay, who in his sixth year wrote a compendium of world history; or Beethoven, who gave public concerts when he was seven; or Mozart, who already before his sixth year had written musical compositions; or Voltaire, who read the fables of Lafontaine when he was three years old. Should all these prodigies and geniuses, who for the most part came from illiterate parents, not already in previous births have laid the foundations to their extraordinary faculties? "Natura non facit saltus: nature makes no leaps.


I don't mean to be negative, but the above is really a bogus argument. Plenty of research has been done on child prodigies and the evidence points to genetics in combination with environmental factors. It's simply not true that the phenomenon is unexplainable without rebirth.

The examples he provides are misleading, to say the least. Mozart and Beethoven came from musical families and were educated by their fathers, who saw an opportunity to make a buck. (Beethoven actually wasn't much of a prodigy and his parents were disappointed). John Stuart Mill was the son of the philosopher James Mill (a friend of Jeremy Bentham) and was subjected to an intense education designed to produce a genius. Macaulay was the son of a governor and prominent anti-slavery activist, and received private tutoring.

If anything, what these cases demonstrate is that family background plays a key role, together with education and a genetic predisposition. Contrary to what is claimed, none of these prodigies came from illiterate parents, except maybe Beethoven.

So what he's saying is just plain inaccurate. And even if it wasn't, the argument "well, we can't explain this, so therefore it must be proof of rebirth" is inherently fallacious. That rebirth proponents resort to such sloppy arguments doesn't, to my mind, make rebirth more plausible. On the contrary, when people can't get their facts straight or show a lack of critical thinking, it makes me question their credibility.

There is nothing against a permanently surviving spirit-individuality being in some way given off at death, as a definite wireless message is given off by a sending apparatus working in a particular ways. But it must be remembered that the wireless message only becomes a message again when it comes in contact with a new, material structure - the receiver.


"Permanently surviving spirit-individuality"?!? Is this even in accord with the Buddha's teachings?
User avatar
Lazy_eye
 
Posts: 835
Joined: Fri Jan 23, 2009 3:23 pm
Location: Laurel, MD

Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby bodom » Wed Aug 03, 2011 2:11 pm

Lazy_eye wrote:Plenty of research has been done on child prodigies and the evidence points to genetics in combination with environmental factors...


Hi Lazy eye

These talks by the Venerable Nyanatiloka Mahathera were given in the 1940's. Such research might not have been available to him.

:anjali:
The heart of the path is SO simple. No need for long explanations. Give up clinging to love and hate, just rest with things as they are. That is all I do in my own practice. Do not try to become anything. Do not make yourself into anything. Do not be a meditator. Do not become enlightened. When you sit, let it be. When you walk, let it be. Grasp at nothing. Resist nothing. Of course, there are dozens of meditation techniques to develop samadhi and many kinds of vipassana. But it all comes back to this - just let it all be. Step over here where it is cool, out of the battle. - Ajahn Chah
User avatar
bodom
 
Posts: 4617
Joined: Fri Jan 09, 2009 6:18 pm
Location: San Antonio, Texas

Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby Lazy_eye » Wed Aug 03, 2011 2:52 pm

bodom wrote:These talks by the Venerable Nyanatiloka Mahathera were given in the 1940's. Such research might not have been available to him.


Hi Bodom! Thanks for clarifying, and sorry if I sounded harsh. I just get irked because I run into contemporary teachers -- who do have access to current information, and should know better -- who trot out the child prodigy argument as "proof of rebirth", when it so clearly isn't. No more than NBA stardom is proof of a past life as a giraffe.
User avatar
Lazy_eye
 
Posts: 835
Joined: Fri Jan 23, 2009 3:23 pm
Location: Laurel, MD

Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby David N. Snyder » Wed Aug 03, 2011 3:14 pm

2227 posts!

I merged some other rebirth threads into this one big one.

I think this is now the longest thread not counting games, daily drops, humor, etc.

It goes round and round, like samsara; proof of rebirth (just kidding).
User avatar
David N. Snyder
Site Admin
 
Posts: 8115
Joined: Tue Dec 30, 2008 4:15 am
Location: Las Vegas, Nevada

PreviousNext

Return to Open Dhamma

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 6 guests