the great rebirth debate

An open and inclusive investigation into Buddhism and spiritual cultivation

Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby Alex123 » Wed Aug 03, 2011 3:23 pm

Hello Lazy_Eye,

I personally do not find child-prodigies to be convincing proof. They may have been born with a brain that was wired in such a way that produced such talent.

However, what about occasions when a little child described his/her past life and circumstances (that could not have been known by the child in this life) and it was verified to be true by researchers such as Ian Stevenson?

Kusala's post
. 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.
posting.php?mode=quote&f=16&p=142671#pr142621
"dust to dust...."
User avatar
Alex123
 
Posts: 2960
Joined: Wed Mar 10, 2010 11:32 pm

Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby ancientbuddhism » Wed Aug 03, 2011 4:50 pm

stuka wrote: 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.


Ben wrote: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


What stuka was saying (recklessly perhaps) is essentially one of the things that Buddhadasa Bhikkhu was well known for; claiming that the Buddha’s teaching on rebirth in a life cycle to life cycle context was a metaphor for the mind moment to mind moment birth at ignorant contact.

I remember a thread on Buddhadasa and rebirth on the E-sangha Theravāda forum that went on for pages.
Anuvicca papañca nāmarūpaṃ
ajjhattaṃ bahiddhā ca rogamūlaṃ,
sabbarogamūlabandhanā pamutto
anuvidito tādi pavuccate tathattā
.

“Having known the naming of objects,
With its proliferation, its root in illness – within and without;
One is released from bondage to the root of all illness.
And thus is called the Knowing One – the Such.

– Sn. 3.6 (Sabhiyasuttaṃ)

Secure your own mask before assisting others. – NORTHWEST AIRLINES (Pre-Flight Instruction)

A Handful of Leaves
User avatar
ancientbuddhism
 
Posts: 686
Joined: Fri Apr 01, 2011 12:53 pm
Location: Cyberia

Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby bodom » Wed Aug 03, 2011 6:59 pm

David N. Snyder wrote:It goes round and round, like samsara; proof of rebirth (just kidding).


Is that momentary or lifetime to lifetime rebirth of the thread? :tongue:

: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: 4661
Joined: Fri Jan 09, 2009 6:18 pm
Location: San Antonio, Texas

Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby tiltbillings » Wed Aug 03, 2011 7:22 pm

ancientbuddhism wrote:
What stuka was saying (recklessly perhaps) is essentially one of the things that Buddhadasa Bhikkhu was well known for; claiming that the Buddha’s teaching on rebirth in a life cycle to life cycle context was a metaphor for the mind moment to mind moment birth at ignorant contact.

I remember a thread on Buddhadasa and rebirth on the E-sangha Theravāda forum that went on for pages.
Recklessly. That is being euphemistic. Buddhadasa presented an interpretation, but it is not the interpretation. For some reason some Buddhadasa-wallahs seem to think it necessary to insist that their interpretation of Buddhadasa is the only way to understand the Dhamma and all else is merde.
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.

dheamhan a fhios agam

"We eat cold eels and think distant thoughts." -- Jack Johnson
User avatar
tiltbillings
 
Posts: 20080
Joined: Wed Dec 31, 2008 9:25 am

Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby cooran » Wed Aug 03, 2011 7:50 pm

What would be the point of the Buddha's teachings on Kamma without the 'flux of becoming' continuing on until eradication of defilements and attainment of Nibbana?

Maintaining that there is no llife to life rebirth reduces the Buddha's teachings to just another list of ethics.
---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: 7798
Joined: Tue Jan 06, 2009 11:32 pm
Location: Queensland, Australia

Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby santa100 » Wed Aug 03, 2011 9:52 pm

If there's no rebirth, the concept of Kamma wouldn't even hold. We'd probably all agree that to be born as a child prodigy, whether with exceptional intelligence, exceptional musical talent, exceptional whatever...this is due to good kamma. If there's no rebirth, then when was this good kamma created? Obviously it cannot be during the child's current life time for he/she's just been born! It has to be created BEFORE that. If we deny this "BEFORE that" thingy, that means the child's exceptional IQ must either be a gift from God or just some kind of coincidence by chance, not the work of Kamma!
santa100
 
Posts: 1603
Joined: Fri Jun 10, 2011 10:55 pm

Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby Alex123 » Wed Aug 03, 2011 10:14 pm

Santa100,

You are right. I would also like to add this. If there was no rebirth (ponobhavika) after the death of the body, this would mean that all kamma made would not produce any kind of result (vipāka). So, "one life only" would deny the efficacy of kammavipāka beyond one life. And if one did kamma split second before dying, then it might not have chance to ever ripen if there is only one life. So this implies nihilism (natthikadiṭṭhi a heretical view) beyond death. Furthermore, if we are all liberated from samsara when death (first and last) occurs, then why bother with N8P? Anyone (Buddhist or non-Buddhist. Siddhartha Gotama or Adolf Hitler) would attain parinibbāna simply due to death (if it was final and there were no rebirth). So purification through dying, regardless of what was done. This is another heretical view (purification through wondering on).


One life only is a view of Ajita Kesakambalin:
A person is a composite of four primary elements. At death, the earth (in the body) returns to and merges with the (external) earth-substance. The fire returns to and merges with the external fire-substance. The liquid returns to and merges with the external liquid-substance. The wind returns to and merges with the external wind-substance. The sense-faculties scatter into space. Four men, with the bier as the fifth, carry the corpse. Its eulogies are sounded only as far as the charnel ground. The bones turn pigeon-colored. The offerings end in ashes. Generosity is taught by idiots. The words of those who speak of existence after death are false, empty chatter. With the break-up of the body, the wise and the foolish alike are annihilated, destroyed. They do not exist after death.'
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html
Last edited by Alex123 on Wed Aug 03, 2011 10:25 pm, edited 1 time in total.
"dust to dust...."
User avatar
Alex123
 
Posts: 2960
Joined: Wed Mar 10, 2010 11:32 pm

Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby rowboat » Wed Aug 03, 2011 10:25 pm

There's the Pali word similar to pari-something-citta for the citta at the moment or just after the death of the body, heard in one of Ven. Bhikkhu Bodhi's lectures.
Rain soddens what is covered up,
It does not sodden what is open.
Therefore uncover what is covered
That the rain will not sodden it.
Ud 5.5
User avatar
rowboat
 
Posts: 468
Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2010 5:31 am
Location: Brentwood Bay, British Columbia

Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby Alex123 » Wed Aug 03, 2011 10:29 pm

rowboat wrote:There's the Pali word similar to pari-something-citta for the citta at the moment or just after the death of the body, heard in one of Ven. Bhikkhu Bodhi's lectures.


Relinking consciousness (paṭisandhi-citta) which arises in new life after last moment of mind in previous life (cuti-citta).


In any case, during Buddha's time there were MANY different views. Rebirth was not the only one. Ajita Kesakambalin held that death of the body was final and there is no rebirth. So the culture of the Buddha was NOT steeped in rebirth. It had materialists as well.

The Buddha Himself has stated about his vision of Hell:
"``Bhikkhus, I say this not hearing from another recluse or brahmin, this is what I have myself known and seen and so I say it."
http://metta.lk/tipitaka/2Sutta-Pitaka/ ... uta-e.html

So the idea that Buddha borrowed commonly accepted cultural beliefs (of which there were many) merely because they were culturally believed is totally false according to the Suttas.
"dust to dust...."
User avatar
Alex123
 
Posts: 2960
Joined: Wed Mar 10, 2010 11:32 pm

Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby retrofuturist » Wed Aug 03, 2011 10:45 pm

Greetings,
Alex123 wrote:So the idea that Buddha borrowed commonly accepted cultural beliefs (of which there were many) merely because they were culturally believed is totally false according to the Suttas.

He certainly borrowed existing cultural concepts in the interests of teaching and communication.

Whether he believed them, or whether he expected others to believe them is a different question altogether.

Metta,
Retro. :)
If you have asked me of the origination of unease, then I shall explain it to you in accordance with my understanding:
Whatever various forms of unease there are in the world, They originate founded in encumbering accumulation. (Pārāyanavagga)


Exalted in mind, just open and clearly aware, the recluse trained in the ways of the sages:
One who is such, calmed and ever mindful, He has no sorrows! -- Udana IV, 7


Dharma Wheel (Mahayana / Vajrayana forum) -- Open flower ~ Open book (blog)
User avatar
retrofuturist
Site Admin
 
Posts: 14812
Joined: Tue Dec 30, 2008 9:52 pm
Location: Melbourne, Australia

Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby Alex123 » Wed Aug 03, 2011 11:00 pm

Hello Retro,

While the Buddha used language(s) of that time, including certain concepts, He did not base His teaching on what He merely heard.

In MN130 the Buddha clearly states that when it comes to Hell, it was known and seen by Him. He did NOT borrow the idea of Hell because some people in His culture believed in it. And if He had to borrow some ideas popular in His time, why didn't He borrow materialistic ideas (especially regarding rebirth) such as those taught by Ajita Kesakambalin? Buddha would definitely be popular today in the West if He would have borrowed them.

I find it very sad to accept the idea that Buddha would use popular concepts that He knew were false to get more people join the teaching. I also seriously doubt that we need to twist His words in such a flexible way that to make the sutta mean exact opposite of what it clearly states.


Buddha clearly has said that this view ("no rebirth after death") is false:
A person is a composite of four primary elements. At death, the earth (in the body) returns to and merges with the (external) earth-substance. The fire returns to and merges with the external fire-substance. The liquid returns to and merges with the external liquid-substance. The wind returns to and merges with the external wind-substance. The sense-faculties scatter into space. Four men, with the bier as the fifth, carry the corpse. Its eulogies are sounded only as far as the charnel ground. The bones turn pigeon-colored. The offerings end in ashes. Generosity is taught by idiots. The words of those who speak of existence after death are false, empty chatter. With the break-up of the body, the wise and the foolish alike are annihilated, destroyed. They do not exist after death.' http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html

Ananda has said a good rebuke to this idea.
Sandaka a wise man reflects, this good teacher upholds this view and declares. There are no results for gifts-re--and there is nothing after death. If the words of these teachers are true, I should not do anything. I should not live the holy life. After death my teacher and I become equal in our recluseship. I who do not even believe it. We both get anihilated and destroyed after death. Unnecessarily these good teachers went naked and wore a knot on the head, did austerities yoked to standing and pulling out hairs of the head and beard. As for me, I lived surrounded by wife and children, enjoyed wearing Kashmire clothes, bearing flowers and scents, and earning gold and silver. I become equal with these good teachers after death. Knowing what and seeing what should I lead the holy life under these teachers. He knowing this is not a holy life turns away from it. Sandaka, this is the first holy life the Blessed One who knows and sees, is perfect and rightfully enlightened has declared should not be lived, which the wise man if possible does not live, and even if he lives is not convinced that it is merit. http://metta.lk/tipitaka/2Sutta-Pitaka/ ... ka-e1.html



And I strongly disapprove of the potential idea that he taught Rebirth and value of generosity in order for the monks to be fed by laity.
"dust to dust...."
User avatar
Alex123
 
Posts: 2960
Joined: Wed Mar 10, 2010 11:32 pm

Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby plwk » Thu Aug 04, 2011 1:34 am

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).

I was thinking a 6th Nikaya was in the making with this thread... :reading:
Bhikkhus, if you develop and make much this one thing,
it invariably leads to weariness, cessation, appeasement, realization and extinction.
What is it? It is recollecting the Enlightened One.
If this single thing is recollected and made much,
it invariably leads to weariness, cessation, appeasement, realization and extinction.

Anguttara-Nikaya: Ekanipata: Ekadhammapali: Pañhamavagga
VSM VMM WBB TBHT WTBT My Page
plwk
 
Posts: 1170
Joined: Mon Mar 01, 2010 5:14 am

Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby daverupa » Thu Aug 04, 2011 2:11 am

santa100 wrote:If there's no rebirth, the concept of Kamma wouldn't even hold.


Kamma doesn't operate solely across the alleged death-birth barrier, but within one life as well. It has effect in this world, or in the next, or later, per the Suttas.
    "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: 4513
Joined: Mon Jan 31, 2011 6:58 pm

Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby daverupa » Thu Aug 04, 2011 2:21 am

Alex123 wrote:Buddha clearly has said that this view ("no rebirth after death") is false:
A person is a composite of four primary elements. At death, the earth (in the body) returns to and merges with the (external) earth-substance. The fire returns to and merges with the external fire-substance. The liquid returns to and merges with the external liquid-substance. The wind returns to and merges with the external wind-substance. The sense-faculties scatter into space. Four men, with the bier as the fifth, carry the corpse. Its eulogies are sounded only as far as the charnel ground. The bones turn pigeon-colored. The offerings end in ashes. Generosity is taught by idiots. The words of those who speak of existence after death are false, empty chatter. With the break-up of the body, the wise and the foolish alike are annihilated, destroyed. They do not exist after death.' http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html


"They do not exist" is one of the things the Buddha said was wrong view, as was the view "they exist after death". Get atta out of it, in order to understand rebirth according to the Dhamma.
    "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: 4513
Joined: Mon Jan 31, 2011 6:58 pm

Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby Alex123 » Thu Aug 04, 2011 2:29 am

daverupa wrote:
Alex123 wrote:Buddha clearly has said that this view ("no rebirth after death") is false:
A person is a composite of four primary elements. At death, the earth (in the body) returns to and merges with the (external) earth-substance. The fire returns to and merges with the external fire-substance. The liquid returns to and merges with the external liquid-substance. The wind returns to and merges with the external wind-substance. The sense-faculties scatter into space. Four men, with the bier as the fifth, carry the corpse. Its eulogies are sounded only as far as the charnel ground. The bones turn pigeon-colored. The offerings end in ashes. Generosity is taught by idiots. The words of those who speak of existence after death are false, empty chatter. With the break-up of the body, the wise and the foolish alike are annihilated, destroyed. They do not exist after death.' http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html


"They do not exist" is one of the things the Buddha said was wrong view, as was the view "they exist after death". Get atta out of it, in order to understand rebirth according to the Dhamma.



And where does view of Ajita Kesakambalin includes belief in metaphysical Atta? His view sounds very similar to Buddha's as far as physical body being made of 4 elements and without any metaphysical Atta presiding over it.


Is there continuation of cittas after the death of physical body of worldling or not? If no, then how does it significantly differ from Ajita Kesakambalin's view?
"dust to dust...."
User avatar
Alex123
 
Posts: 2960
Joined: Wed Mar 10, 2010 11:32 pm

Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby Lazy_eye » Thu Aug 04, 2011 12:10 pm

Alex123 wrote: And where does view of Ajita Kesakambalin includes belief in metaphysical Atta? His view sounds very similar to Buddha's as far as physical body being made of 4 elements and without any metaphysical Atta presiding over it.

Is there continuation of cittas after the death of physical body of worldling or not? If no, then how does it significantly differ from Ajita Kesakambalin's view?


Ajita Kesakambalin goes far beyond mere physicalism or skepticism about an afterlife. What he preaches is all-out moral nihilism -- "there is nothing given, nothing offered....no fruit or result of good or bad actions...no mother, no father...generosity is taught by idiots". It's an extreme view and obviously undermines any basis for ethical behavior or spiritual life. Even a hardcore Batchelorite or Buddhadasa-wallah wouldn't take such a stance, no matter how they might interpret rebirth.
Last edited by Lazy_eye on Thu Aug 04, 2011 2:03 pm, edited 4 times in total.
User avatar
Lazy_eye
 
Posts: 864
Joined: Fri Jan 23, 2009 3:23 pm
Location: Laurel, MD

Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby santa100 » Thu Aug 04, 2011 1:08 pm

Daverupa wrote:
Kamma doesn't operate solely across the alleged death-birth barrier, but within one life as well. It has effect in this world, or in the next, or later, per the Suttas


Indeed, and if there's no rebirth, Kamma won't hold in 2 out 3 cases: the "previous world" and the "next world". Its scope would be solely restricted to the "current world", which obviously not on the same page with the Suttas..
santa100
 
Posts: 1603
Joined: Fri Jun 10, 2011 10:55 pm

Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby ancientbuddhism » Thu Aug 04, 2011 2:10 pm

cooran wrote:What would be the point of the Buddha's teachings on Kamma without the 'flux of becoming' continuing on until eradication of defilements and attainment of Nibbana?

Maintaining that there is no llife to life rebirth reduces the Buddha's teachings to just another list of ethics.


Myth of rebirth in the early texts notwithstanding – do the teachings of the Buddha stand or fail based on whether one believes in what cannot be reached by living experience? With the myth of rebirth aside I do not see a mere system of ethics, mere petty morality, but a way of living with an analysis of experience which can be put into practice with evident progression.
Anuvicca papañca nāmarūpaṃ
ajjhattaṃ bahiddhā ca rogamūlaṃ,
sabbarogamūlabandhanā pamutto
anuvidito tādi pavuccate tathattā
.

“Having known the naming of objects,
With its proliferation, its root in illness – within and without;
One is released from bondage to the root of all illness.
And thus is called the Knowing One – the Such.

– Sn. 3.6 (Sabhiyasuttaṃ)

Secure your own mask before assisting others. – NORTHWEST AIRLINES (Pre-Flight Instruction)

A Handful of Leaves
User avatar
ancientbuddhism
 
Posts: 686
Joined: Fri Apr 01, 2011 12:53 pm
Location: Cyberia

Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby kirk5a » Thu Aug 04, 2011 2:30 pm

ancientbuddhism wrote:Myth of rebirth in the early texts notwithstanding – do the teachings of the Buddha stand or fail based on whether one believes in what cannot be reached by living experience?

How do you KNOW it's a myth? How do you KNOW it "cannot be reached by living experience"? Others while living have said they have in fact seen the truth of it for themselves. So you put yourself in opposition to them - but what is your certainty actually based upon?
"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
User avatar
kirk5a
 
Posts: 1824
Joined: Thu Sep 23, 2010 1:51 pm

Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby bodom » Thu Aug 04, 2011 2:36 pm

ancientbuddhism wrote:Myth of rebirth in the early texts notwithstanding – do the teachings of the Buddha stand or fail based on whether one believes in what cannot be reached by living experience?


According to the Buddha rebirth CAN be known here and now through meditative experience:

"These four bases of power, when developed & pursued, are of great fruit & great benefit. And how are the four bases of power developed & pursued so as to be of great fruit & great benefit?...."He recollects his manifold past lives, i.e., one birth, two births, three births, four, five, ten, twenty, thirty, forty, fifty, one hundred, one thousand, one hundred thousand, many aeons of cosmic contraction, many aeons of cosmic expansion, many aeons of cosmic contraction & expansion, [recollecting], 'There I had such a name, belonged to such a clan, had such an appearance. Such was my food, such my experience of pleasure & pain, such the end of my life. Passing away from that state, I re-arose there. There too I had such a name, belonged to such a clan, had such an appearance. Such was my food, such my experience of pleasure & pain, such the end of my life. Passing away from that state, I re-arose here.' Thus he remembers his manifold past lives in their modes & details.


http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .html#fn-3

: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: 4661
Joined: Fri Jan 09, 2009 6:18 pm
Location: San Antonio, Texas

PreviousNext

Return to Open Dhamma

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: David N. Snyder, Google [Bot] and 9 guests