ancientbuddhism wrote:...do the teachings of the Buddha stand or fail based on whether one believes in what cannot be reached by living experience?
I accept rebirth largely on trust in the Buddha, but I very rarely see it explained by others without some manner of implicit atta, which is a huge mistake. The idea, however, that agnosticism on this issue means one's Dhamma practice is less-than is horribly mistaken. Seeing it comes with effort (if it comes at all), and until then it's easily set aside in preference to those aspects of the Path that are more immediately verifiable.
kirk5a wrote: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?
I'll wager that in place of "cannot be", above, we could say "has not been" and avoid the entirety of your critique. With this subtle change of phrase, we uphold the Buddha's injunction that we NOT claim to know what we, in fact, do not know, whether affirming or denying rebirth. We withhold judgment on the matter and continue with our individual practice.
ancientbuddhism wrote: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.
This evident progression is the key, because it's evident whether or not rebirth is seen for oneself, accepted on trust, set aside for the time being, or discarded as irrelevant. In any of these cases, the Dhamma can be practiced for benefit. Claiming that rebirth is a necessary component to accept is incorrect and alienating to many.