ancientbuddhism wrote:“Myth of rebirth in the early texts notwithstanding”
Which is to say ‘lets set aside what we cannot demonstrate in order to consider...’ (not for nothin’ but – rebirth fits exactly the definition of what a myth is)
So your definition of a myth is something that cannot be demonstrated by anyone? Or something you personally cannot demonstrate? Or what?
“do the teachings of the Buddha stand or fail based on whether one believes in what cannot be reached by living experience?”
‘whether’ includes both yours et al, textual and personal assumptions on faith & one who chooses to work with what can be known directly; ascertainable by the faculties one has (unless you have an extra khandha in your pocket, this means all of us).
Extra khandha? Who said you need an extra khandha? The Buddha said he saw his past lives in meditation, that didn't require an extra khanda. What is ascertainable by you or me is not the scope of what is possible to ascertain, which is what your statement seemed to suggest.
And this would qualify the question by what the questioner suggests is universally workable, that is, you can believe in rebirth and practice, another can be agnostic on rebirth and practice; all without losing what is essentially the aim of the Buddha's teaching.
Fine. Who is disagreeing with this? Some people here, myself included, are simply pointing out various things the Buddha said about rebirth, which is an entirely separate thing from saying that we have to believe in rebirth. I've pointed out elsewhere that the Buddha said there is such a thing as wrong view about rebirth. Even in the very sutta where he states that, he is not saying "you should believe in rebirth." Why would he say we're supposed to "believe" in something we personally may not have any knowledge about? He didn't. However, there are plenty of people who think they know rebirth is not true. That is not admitting that one does not know. That is thinking that one does. That could be a problem, in practice. And then there are those who say rebirth is all metaphor, or all speculation, or the Buddha didn't speak of it. Any of those claims are open to challenge, as far as I'm concerned, without maintaining that "we're supposed to believe in rebirth"
It's when someone's personal outlook on the matter prevents them from acknowledging the basic facts of what it is the Buddha said, that is questionable.