Ian Stevenson, Rebirth, and the Suttas

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Re: Ian Stevenson, Rebirth, and the Suttas

Postby Alexei » Sun Oct 02, 2011 10:46 am

cooran wrote:Scientific Proof of Reincarnation - Dr. Ian Stevenson's Life Work


As far as I know Dr. Stevenson never asserted that he had proof of reincarnation. Even in this same interview:

    Omni: In your new book you speak reprovingly of people easily persuaded by your evidence. Is your position that reincarnation can never really be demonstrated?

    Stevenson: I don't think I rebuke anybody for being convinced by the evidence. All I say is that maybe they shouldn't believe on the basis of what's in that particular book, because the detailed case reports are in my other books. Essentially I say that the idea of reincarnation permits but doesn't compel belief. All the cases I've investigated so far have shortcomings. Even taken together, they do not offer anything like proof. But as the body of evidence accumulates, it's more likely that more and more people will see its relevance.

I just want to be honest. Sometimes he hadn't even a proper translators.
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Re: Ian Stevenson, Rebirth, and the Suttas

Postby Sacha G » Sun Oct 02, 2011 10:48 am

Hi Peter
Can I ask you (sincerely), what made you change your mind?
To me it's all the more curious, as I started a sceptic, now I'm a "believer" (if one wants to call me so).
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Re: Ian Stevenson, Rebirth, and the Suttas

Postby PeterB » Sun Oct 02, 2011 11:00 am

I dont know that I can point to any particular point in time Sacha. After , as I said , several decades of accepting the idea of post mortem Rebirth literally it just became less relevant. And at the same time I became more sensitive to the need of some others to insist on it. It clearly for some was an emotional need. A badge of belonging. A shibboleth. A means of separating sheep from goats.
Meanwhile the Buddhist teachers that I admired most like Ajahn Sumedho and Ajahn Munindo refused to be drawn on the issue at all either way.
Eventually I simply placed it on the back burner. ( and I mean that. I didnt have an emotional rejection thereof )
I then became more interested in supporting those who are drawn to Buddhist practice but do not identify with what is a matter of speculative belief.
I dont think anyone on DW whose opinion I would trust KNOWS the truth of the issue.
Last edited by PeterB on Sun Oct 02, 2011 11:09 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Ian Stevenson, Rebirth, and the Suttas

Postby Sacha G » Sun Oct 02, 2011 11:09 am

Well
Of course, one cannot say if it's 100% true or 0%.
However, between the 2, there are possibilities.
If you're above 50% of probability, you can say, you tend to believe it. If it's below 50%, you can say you tend not to believe it. For me it's above, so I say, "i believe it", which doesn't mean I'm sure of it.
I don't think anyone is precisely on 50%, though I suppose one can be some days above and some days below.
;)
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Re: Ian Stevenson, Rebirth, and the Suttas

Postby PeterB » Sun Oct 02, 2011 11:12 am

If it could be shown to be 100% true. Or 100% untrue it would make no difference at all to my practice.
Which is I think what lies behind the refusal of those Ajahns to comment directly on the issue...they think that the vital thing is the practice and that the rest can wait.
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Re: Ian Stevenson, Rebirth, and the Suttas

Postby BubbaBuddhist » Sun Oct 02, 2011 2:55 pm

I don't believe it, or not-believe it. But I do think the Buddha taught it, and for good reasons which become clear when you study the Suttas. There are tools for investigating experience taught within the Suttas as well which yield more immediate fruit other than the awareness of punabbhava.

In my opinion, believing and not-believing are mental habits and lazy ones at that. It's a way to stop learning by simply generalizing experience. Easy enough to fall into but also fairly easy to break when you catch yourself doing it.

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Re: Ian Stevenson, Rebirth, and the Suttas

Postby David N. Snyder » Sun Oct 02, 2011 5:51 pm

PeterB wrote:Which is I think what lies behind the refusal of those Ajahns to comment directly on the issue...they think that the vital thing is the practice and that the rest can wait.


Which Ajahns? Many do talk about rebirth (not making a value judgment, just noting that there are Ajahns who talk about rebirth).

Ajahn Brahm talks of rebirth and has praised Ian Stevenson's work:

http://www.understandwisdom.com/ajahn-b ... carnation/

There are other videos too, of Ajahn Brahm praising Ian Stevenson's works. (Again, not saying if this is good or bad, just noting).
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Re: Ian Stevenson, Rebirth, and the Suttas

Postby PeterB » Sun Oct 02, 2011 6:28 pm

I was thinking of Ajahns Sumedho and Munindo who I had mentioned earlier David.

:anjali:
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Re: Ian Stevenson, Rebirth, and the Suttas

Postby santa100 » Sun Oct 02, 2011 8:58 pm

I'm sure the Ajahns' insight is quite helpful, but if we can get the insight directly from the Buddha, wouldn't that be even better? For those who haven't read MN60, I'd strongly recommend this wonderful sutta in which the great Teacher analyzed in detail various "hot" topics like rebirth, kamma, etc..

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html
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Re: Ian Stevenson, Rebirth, and the Suttas

Postby Jhana4 » Sun Oct 02, 2011 9:07 pm

santa100 wrote:I'm sure the Ajahns' insight is quite helpful, but if we can get the insight directly from the Buddha, wouldn't that be even better?


Something told to you, instead of you experiencing it for yourself isn't an insight.
In reading the scriptures, there are two kinds of mistakes:
One mistake is to cling to the literal text and miss the inner principles.
The second mistake is to recognize the principles but not apply them to your own mind, so that you waste time and just make them into causes of entanglement.
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Re: Ian Stevenson, Rebirth, and the Suttas

Postby santa100 » Sun Oct 02, 2011 9:18 pm

Well, dont' forget the 3-step approach: read/listen ---> think/contemplate ---> practice. The suttas are there for a purpose..
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Re: Ian Stevenson, Rebirth, and the Suttas

Postby Jhana4 » Sun Oct 02, 2011 11:22 pm

Don't forget that history is filled with religions making stories up to deceive people and for people to deceive themselves. Evidence is the only thing that makes something true.
In reading the scriptures, there are two kinds of mistakes:
One mistake is to cling to the literal text and miss the inner principles.
The second mistake is to recognize the principles but not apply them to your own mind, so that you waste time and just make them into causes of entanglement.
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Re: Ian Stevenson, Rebirth, and the Suttas

Postby santa100 » Mon Oct 03, 2011 12:08 am

Jhana4 wrote:
Don't forget that history is filled with religions making stories up to deceive people and for people to deceive themselves. Evidence is the only thing that makes something true.


Have you read MN60? Are you saying MN60 and other suttas the products of "religions making stories up"?
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Re: Ian Stevenson, Rebirth, and the Suttas

Postby Jhana4 » Mon Oct 03, 2011 2:28 am

No disrespect, but it seems that you might not understand the problems with circular reasoning
In reading the scriptures, there are two kinds of mistakes:
One mistake is to cling to the literal text and miss the inner principles.
The second mistake is to recognize the principles but not apply them to your own mind, so that you waste time and just make them into causes of entanglement.
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Re: Ian Stevenson, Rebirth, and the Suttas

Postby santa100 » Mon Oct 03, 2011 3:20 am

No disrespect, you need to back up what you claim..
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Re: Ian Stevenson, Rebirth, and the Suttas

Postby PeterB » Mon Oct 03, 2011 9:16 am

No disrespect, what people need to do is find out for themselves on the cushion, with guidance.
The Dhamma is not a debating society or lab where the issues are peer reviewed.
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Re: Ian Stevenson, Rebirth, and the Suttas

Postby Jhana4 » Mon Oct 03, 2011 11:00 am

santa100 wrote:No disrespect, you need to back up what you claim..


Continuing with complete respect, I haven't made any claims, you have -- that there is some truth in the suttas that a person can accept as true, just because they are in the suttas. Since I am not making a claim, I have nothing to back up. Since you are making a claim, you have something to back up. Have a good week.
In reading the scriptures, there are two kinds of mistakes:
One mistake is to cling to the literal text and miss the inner principles.
The second mistake is to recognize the principles but not apply them to your own mind, so that you waste time and just make them into causes of entanglement.
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Re: Ian Stevenson, Rebirth, and the Suttas

Postby santa100 » Mon Oct 03, 2011 12:52 pm

Jhana4 wrote:
I haven't made any claims, you have -- that there is some truth in the suttas that a person can accept as true, just because they are in the suttas. Since I am not making a claim, I have nothing to back up. Since you are making a claim, you have something to back up


It's not my claim. I simply restated most of Buddhist masters and scholars' view that the Pali Canon although not a 100% the work of the Buddha, but is the closest source available to date about His Teaching. Now, you did suggest that it was the work of a "religion making stories up", and so I need to clarify this point with you, and ask you if indeed you think it is the case, and if so, why..
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Re: Ian Stevenson, Rebirth, and the Suttas

Postby ancientbuddhism » Mon Oct 03, 2011 1:41 pm

All Due Respect ...
Image
Fingers walk the darkness down
Mind is on the midnight
Gather up the gold you've found
You fool, it's only moonlight.
If you try to take it home
Your hands will turn to butter
You better leave this dream alone
Try to find another. – Townes Van Zandt ‘Lungs’

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

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Re: Ian Stevenson, Rebirth, and the Suttas

Postby Jhana4 » Mon Oct 03, 2011 3:33 pm

Eh, not everyone watched The Sopranos so they might not appreciate the reference. I haven't but have seen enough mafia movies. Good try :-), .......forget about it!
In reading the scriptures, there are two kinds of mistakes:
One mistake is to cling to the literal text and miss the inner principles.
The second mistake is to recognize the principles but not apply them to your own mind, so that you waste time and just make them into causes of entanglement.
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