Reincarnation

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Reincarnation

Postby chownah » Mon Aug 29, 2011 3:47 am

Seems like if someone has not been able to penetrate the teachings on not-self or the teachings on having no doctrine of self then someone can only accept reincarnation and not rebirth.....seems like the degree that someone has penetrated the delusion of self is the same degree which it is possible for them to accept rebirth....otherwise it is just reincarnation.
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Re: Reincarnation

Postby retrofuturist » Mon Aug 29, 2011 3:55 am

Greetings Chownah,

I think that's as true as far as it goes, but I believe punabhava (commonly translated as rebirth) is actually the repeated false cognition of existence, rather than any post-mortem transmigratory event. Sometimes I don't think "rebirth", as it's used in Buddhist circles, isn't as far away from "reincarnation" as it ought to be.

[Note to members: As much as possible, please try to keep to the topic raised by Chownah, lest this become just another appendix to the Great Rebirth Debate. Thanks.]

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


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Re: Reincarnation

Postby ground » Mon Aug 29, 2011 3:58 am

Or perhaps someone who "has been able to penetrate the teachings on not-self" simply does not ponder on re-birth.
The "re-" in re-birth just stand for "again" or "repetition", right?
So to say "there is re-birth" is to say "there is again birth" and that simply means that what is called "birth" happens again. Now isn't that true that birth happens again and again?


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Re: Reincarnation

Postby mikenz66 » Mon Aug 29, 2011 4:42 am

Perhaps someone could explain what they see as the key difference between "reincarnation" and "rebirth"? I've never been able to figure out what the difference is supposed to be since they are synonyms in normal English usage.

Now normal English usage (glancing through a Collins dictionary I happen to have at hand) uses the concept of rebirth or reincarnation of a "soul", so actually neither rebirth nor reincarnation are appropriate terms with respect to Buddhist doctrine.

I do know that some argue that "the Buddha taught rebirth but not reincarnation" but in order to make that argument stick it is necessary to give a more restrictive definition of "rebirth". Which is OK, as long as that is what is intended.


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Re: Reincarnation

Postby mikenz66 » Mon Aug 29, 2011 4:57 am

Perhaps the following is useful as a basis for some discussion of definitions.

From Nyanatiloka's dictionary:
http://what-buddha-said.net/library/Bud ... punabbhava
Punabbhava: lit.: re-becoming; 'renewed existence', is a sutta term for 'rebirth', which, in later literature mostly is called patisandhi The attainment of Sainthood arahatta implying the end of future rebirths, is often expressed in the words:;This is the last birth. Now there is no more a renewed existence!; natthi dāni punabbhavo M. 26; D. 15; Therag. 87, 339; Sn. 502. - The term is often linked with abhinibbatti 'arising'.

But how, o brother, does it come to renewed existence and arising in the future āyatim punabbhavābhinibbatti? Because beings, obstructed by ignorance and fettered by craving, find ever fresh delight now here, now there, for this reason there is renewed existence and arising in the future; M. 43. See also S.XII. 38. abhinibbatti also stands sometimes alone in signifying 'rebirth', e.g. in A. VI, 61; X, 65.

Cf., in the 2nd Truth, the adj. ponobhavika 'leading to renewed existence'.

See A. III, 76; Sn. 163, 273, 514, 733; S. VII, 12; X, 3.

And, as he points out there, in the later, Abhidhammic, literature the term patisandhi is used when explaining the process:
Patisandhi: lit. 'reunion, relinking', i.e. rebirth, is one of the 14 functions of consciousness viññāna-kicca. It is a kamma-resultant type of consciousness and arises at the moment of conception i.e. with the forming of new life in the mother's womb. Immediately afterwards it sinks into the subconscious stream of existence bhavanga-sota, and conditioned thereby ever and ever again corresponding states of subconsciousness arise. Thus it is really rebirth-consciousness that determines the latent character of a person.

Neither has this rebirth-consciousness transmigrated from the previous existence to this present existence, nor did it arise without such conditions, as kamma, kammic-constructions, propensity, object, etc. That this consciousness has not come from the previous existence to this present existence, yet that it has come into existence by means of conditions included in the previous existence, such as kamma, etc., this fact may be illustrated by various things, such as the echo, the light of a lamp, the contact of a seal, or the image produced by a mirror. For just as the resounding of the echo is conditioned by a sound, etc., and nowhere a transmigration of sound has taken place, just so it is with this consciousness. Further it is said: 'In this continuous process, no sameness and no otherness can be found.' For if there were full identity between the different stages, then also milk never could turn into curd. And if there were a complete otherness, then curd could never come from milk. If in a continuity of existence any kamma-result takes place, then this kamma-result neither belongs to any other being, nor does it come from any other kamma, because absolute sameness and otherness are excluded here; Vis, XVII 164ff.

In Mil. it is said:

Now, Venerable Nāgasena, the one who is reborn, is he the same as the one who has died, or is he another?

Neither the same, nor another; na ca so na ca añño.

Give me an example.

What do you think, o King: are you now, as a grown-up person, the same that you had been as a little, young and tender babe?

No, Venerable Sir. Another person was the little, young and tender babe, but quite a different person am I now as a grown-up man.;...

... Is perhaps in the first watch of the night one lamp burning, another one in the middle watch, and again another one in the last watch?

No, Venerable Sir. The light during the whole night depends on one and the same lamp.''

Just so, o King, is the chain of phenomena linked together. One phenomenon arises, another vanishes, yet all are linked together, one after the other, without interruption. In this way one reaches the final state of consciousnes neither as the same person. nor as another person.''

According to the nature of their rebirth consciousness, beings divide into the following 3 groups:

1. ahetu-patisandhika a 'being reborn without rootconditions', is a being whose consciousness at the moment of rebirth was not accompanied by any of the 3 noble rootconditions, viz. greedlessness, hatelessness, unconfusedness see: mūla i.e. selflessness, kindness, intelligence. Such beings are found in the 4 lower worlds apāya,, in which case the function of rebirth is exercised by the class of consciousness listed in Tab. I as No. 56. But if such beings are born in the sense-sphere as humans, they will be crippled, blind, deaf, mentally deficient, etc. Rebirth-consciousness = Tab. I, No. 41

2. dvihetu or duhetu-patisandhika a 'being reborn with only 2 noble root-conditions', i.e. greedlessness and hatelessness. Rebirth-consciousness = Tab. I, Nos. 44, 45, 48 or 49.

3. tihetu-patisandhika a 'being reborn with 3 noble rootconditions'. Such a being can be found only among men. Rebirth-consciousness = Tab. 1, Nos. 42, 43, 46, or 47 and higher divine beings.

On these 3 types of rebirth, See Atthasālini Tr. 11, 354 - 379. App.: patisandhika

In the suttas, the terms for rebirth are chiefly punabbhava, 'renewed existence', and abhinibbatti 'arising'; or both combined as punabbhavābhinibbatti - App.: patisandhi.

Literature Vis.M XVII, 133f, 164f, 189f, 289f; Vis.M XIX, 22f. - Kamma and Rebirth, by Nyanatiloka Thera WHEEL 9. - The Case for Rebirth, by Francis Story WHEEL 12/13. - Survival and Kamma in Buddhist Perspective, by K. N. Jayatilleke WHEEL 141/143. - Rebirth Explained, by V. F. Gunaratna WHEEL 167/169.

Patisankhāna-bala: and Bhāvanā-bala: 'power of reflection', and 'power of mental development'. About these 2 powers it is said in A. II, 10:

What, o Bhikkhus, is the power of reflection? If, o Bhikkhus, someone thinks thus: 'Bad conduct in deeds, words and thoughts verily bears bad fruits both in this life, as well as in the next life', and in consequence of this consideration, he abandons bad conduct in deeds, words and thoughts, follows good conduct, and keeps his mind pure, this, o Bhikkhus, is the power of reflection.

What, o Bhikkhus, is the power of mental development? If, o Bhikkhus, a Bhikkhu develops the factors of enlightenment bojjhanga, bent on solitude, on detachment, on ceasing, and ending in deliverance, namely: awareness or mindfulness, investigating of the law, energy, rapture, tranquillity, concentration, and equanimity, this, o Bhikkhus, is the power of mental development.

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Re: Reincarnation

Postby retrofuturist » Mon Aug 29, 2011 5:06 am

Greetings Mike,

Nice post.

I think the tendency for punabhava and patisandhi to be regarded synonymously as rebirth, in English, contributes to the broadening of the spectrum of disparate notions and views that fall under the banner of "rebirth".

To me, as I understand it, punabbhava has nothing to do with transmigration, whereas patisandhi unambiguously does.

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


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Re: Reincarnation

Postby tiltbillings » Mon Aug 29, 2011 5:11 am

retrofuturist wrote:To me, as I understand it, punabbhava has nothing to do with transmigration, whereas patisandhi does.
And this is based, no doubt, upon an exhaustive tracking down of every use of punabbhava in the suttas where the immediate and broader contexts of the usage of that word punabbhava would never, ever suggest again becoming in terms of literal death and rebirth. Amazing how all those Buddhists for so long have gotten it so wrong.
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond.
SN I, 38.

Ar scáth a chéile a mhaireas na daoine.
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Re: Reincarnation

Postby rowboat » Mon Aug 29, 2011 5:19 am

I don't read this sort of thing any way but just as what it says, what it implies. I take it quite literally.

___________________________

This was said by the Blessed One, said by the Arahant, so I have heard: "I have seen beings who — endowed with bodily good conduct, verbal good conduct, & mental good conduct; who did not revile noble ones, who held right views and undertook actions under the influence of right views — at the break-up of the body, after death, have re-appeared in the good destination, the heavenly world. It is not from having heard this from other priests & contemplatives that I tell you that I have seen beings who — endowed with bodily good conduct, verbal good conduct, & mental good conduct; who did not revile noble ones, who held right views and undertook actions under the influence of right views — at the break-up of the body, after death, have re-appeared in the good destination, the heavenly world. It is from having known it myself, seen it myself, realized it myself that I tell you that I have seen beings who — endowed with bodily good conduct, verbal good conduct, & mental good conduct; who did not revile noble ones, who held right views and undertook actions under the influence of right views — at the break-up of the body, after death, have re-appeared in the good destination, the heavenly world. "


With mind rightly directed,
speaking right speech,
doing right deeds with the body:
a person here
of much learning,
a doer of merit
here in this life so short,
at the break-up of the body,
discerning,
reappears in heaven.




http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... ml#iti-071

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Re: Reincarnation

Postby tiltbillings » Mon Aug 29, 2011 5:22 am

rowboat wrote:[i] This was said by the Blessed One, said by the Arahant, . . . .
Obviously the Itivattaka, but when you quote a sutta, do give the appropriate citation.

Iti 71 http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... ml#iti-071
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.
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Re: Reincarnation

Postby rowboat » Mon Aug 29, 2011 5:26 am

Pardon my carelessness. Thank you for the reminder.
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.
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Re: Reincarnation

Postby mikenz66 » Mon Aug 29, 2011 5:27 am

tiltbillings wrote:
retrofuturist wrote:To me, as I understand it, punabbhava has nothing to do with transmigration, whereas patisandhi does.

And this is based, no doubt, upon an exhaustive tracking down of every use of punabbhava in the suttas where the immediate and broader contexts of the usage of that word punabbhava would never, ever suggest again becoming in terms of literal death and rebirth. Amazing how all those Buddhists for so long have gotten it so wrong.

Just to get us on the same page, I think that we could probably all agree that:

1. The abhidhammic description definitely describes some sort of causality (not well defined even there) were mind states at the end of one life have a causal effect on the start of a new life.

2. The standard Theravada position would be that such abhidhammic descriptions merely clarify and expand on what is obvious from suttas such as the one quoted above.

3. Some disagree with points 1 and/or 2.

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Re: Reincarnation

Postby retrofuturist » Mon Aug 29, 2011 6:25 am

Greetings Tilt,

tiltbillings wrote:
retrofuturist wrote:To me, as I understand it, punabbhava has nothing to do with transmigration, whereas patisandhi does.
And this is based, no doubt, upon an exhaustive tracking down of every use of punabbhava in the suttas where the immediate and broader contexts of the usage of that word punabbhava would never, ever suggest again becoming in terms of literal death and rebirth.

Well, I don't know how many people ascertain the meaning of Pali words via "an exhaustive tracking down of every use of xxxx in the suttas where the immediate and broader contexts of the usage of that word xxxx would never, ever suggest [otherwise]"... so I don't see why I ought to do so.

However, that said, the fact it's punabhava (repeated becoming) rather than punajati (repeated "birth") is a good enough indicator for starters. It is clear from the suttas that bhava is psychological (being rooted in avijja) rather than physiological (being rooted in blood, brain and guts).

tiltbillings wrote:Amazing how all those Buddhists for so long have gotten it so wrong.

Gee, you really do take the baton and run with it sometimes, Tilt. Firstly, I didn't say that, and secondly, even if I had said it (which I didn't), it would only be relevant to English speaking Buddhists who use the word "rebirth" and conflate the two terms. I have no idea how practitioners of other languages interpret the words patisandhi and punabhava... they certainly don't interpret them into the English word "rebirth".

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


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Re: Reincarnation

Postby retrofuturist » Mon Aug 29, 2011 6:28 am

Greetings Mike,

mikenz66 wrote:1. The abhidhammic description definitely describes some sort of causality (not well defined even there) where mind states at the end of one life have a causal effect on the start of a new life.

2. The standard Theravada position would be that such abhidhammic descriptions merely clarify and expand on what is obvious from suttas such as the one quoted above.

Replace the word "obvious" with "inferred" in point #2 and I'd agree with both of those.

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


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Re: Reincarnation

Postby tiltbillings » Mon Aug 29, 2011 6:46 am

retrofuturist wrote:Greetings Tilt,

tiltbillings wrote:
retrofuturist wrote:To me, as I understand it, punabbhava has nothing to do with transmigration, whereas patisandhi does.
And this is based, no doubt, upon an exhaustive tracking down of every use of punabbhava in the suttas where the immediate and broader contexts of the usage of that word punabbhava would never, ever suggest again becoming in terms of literal death and rebirth.

Well, I don't know how many people ascertain the meaning of Pali words via "an exhaustive tracking down of every use of xxxx in the suttas where the immediate and broader contexts of the usage of that word xxxx would never, ever suggest [otherwise]"... so I don't see why I ought to do so.
More than you might think and certainly if you are going to meaningfully talk about about how a word might or should be understood, it really is a requirement.

However, that said, the fact it's punabhava (repeated becoming) rather than punajati (repeated "birth") is a good enough indicator for starters. It is clear from the suttas that bhava is psychological (being rooted in avijja) rather than physiological (being rooted in blood, brain and guts).
And this is derived from a careful study of Pali idiom as it used in the suttas? And why are you drawing a mind/body distinction that really is not there is the suttas?

tiltbillings wrote:Amazing how all those Buddhists for so long have gotten it so wrong.

Gee, you really do take the baton and run with it sometimes, Tilt.
It seems to be implied.
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.
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Re: Reincarnation

Postby mikenz66 » Mon Aug 29, 2011 7:24 am

retrofuturist wrote:
mikenz66 wrote:1. The abhidhammic description definitely describes some sort of causality (not well defined even there) where mind states at the end of one life have a causal effect on the start of a new life.

2. The standard Theravada position would be that such abhidhammic descriptions merely clarify and expand on what is obvious from suttas such as the one quoted above.

Replace the word "obvious" with "inferred" in point #2 and I'd agree with both of those.

I did say that the standard Theravada position is that it is obvious, not that you had to agree with that position.

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Re: Reincarnation

Postby retrofuturist » Mon Aug 29, 2011 8:06 am

Greetings Mike,

Yes, that's what I was agreeing with (though I would still say "inferred")

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


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Re: Reincarnation

Postby retrofuturist » Mon Aug 29, 2011 8:28 am

Greetings Tilt,

tiltbillings wrote:
However, that said, the fact it's punabhava (repeated becoming) rather than punajati (repeated "birth") is a good enough indicator for starters. It is clear from the suttas that bhava is psychological (being rooted in avijja) rather than physiological (being rooted in blood, brain and guts).
And this is derived from a careful study of Pali idiom as it used in the suttas? And why are you drawing a mind/body distinction that really is not there is the suttas?

Because some people have it that sankharas include Element-al things like rocks, trees, comets and comic books, which are not conditioned by avijja.

tiltbillings wrote:More than you might think and certainly if you are going to meaningfully talk about about how a word might or should be understood, it really is a requirement.

Unreasonable requirement. There's no mandatory requirement to trawl the entire Sutta Pitaka required in order to explain why a person understands a term like they do. If I wish to unequivocally prove it is as I say, that's a different thing altogether.

Puna = repeat/again, bhava = becoming. Bhava has avijja as requisite and supporting condition.

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


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Re: Reincarnation

Postby Mawkish1983 » Mon Aug 29, 2011 8:30 am

It would be much easier if we could all fluently read Pali. Maybe that's why there were more arahants millennia ago than now. Sorry, that's off topic.

With regards to punabbhava, jati and patisandhi; is it best not to translate these words?
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Re: Reincarnation

Postby tiltbillings » Mon Aug 29, 2011 8:42 am

retro wrote:
And this is derived from a careful study of Pali idiom as it used in the suttas? And why are you drawing a mind/body distinction that really is not there is the suttas?

Because some people have it that sankharas include Element-al things like rocks, trees, comets and comic books, which are not conditioned by avijja.
That's nice, however, in terms of practice and awakening it is a mind-body process.

tiltbillings wrote:More than you might think and certainly if you are going to meaningfully talk about about how a word might or should be understood, it really is a requirement.

Unreasonable requirement.
Not at all

There's no mandatory requirement to trawl the entire Sutta Pitaka required in order to explain why a person understands a term like they do. If I wish to unequivocally prove it is as I say, that's a different thing altogether.
If you want to meaningfully make a claim about how a term is used and understood within the suttas, then looking at how it is used throughout the suttas is important, otherwise the claim as to what the word means is limited.

Puna = repeat/again, bhava = becoming. Bhava has avijja as requisite and supporting condition.
Which certainly does not preclude literal 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.
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Re: Reincarnation

Postby mikenz66 » Mon Aug 29, 2011 8:48 am

tiltbillings wrote:
retrofuturist wrote:Puna = repeat/again, bhava = becoming. Bhava has avijja as requisite and supporting condition.
Which certainly does not preclude literal rebirth.

Besides, the suttas spell out a close physical/mental connection:
11. "And what is nutriment, what is the origin of nutriment, what is the cessation of nutriment, what is the way leading to the cessation of nutriment? There are these four kinds of nutriment for the maintenance of beings that already have come to be and for the support of those seeking a new existence. What four? They are physical food as nutriment, gross or subtle; contact as the second; mental volition as the third; and consciousness as the fourth. With the arising of craving there is the arising of nutriment. With the cessation of craving there is the cessation of nutriment. The way leading to the cessation of nutriment is just this Noble Eightfold Path; that is, right view, right intention, right speech, right action, right livelihood, right effort, right mindfulness and right concentration.
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .ntbb.html

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