Ian Stevenson, Rebirth, and the Suttas

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Re: Ian Stevenson, Rebirth, and the Suttas

Postby alan » Tue Oct 04, 2011 4:13 am

The Buddha himself was not specific about his rebirths.
He came to an understanding of the relation of rebirth and kamma only upon his awakening.
Therefore:
Don't waste time thinking about it. And don't believe any average person who says they know. They don't!
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Re: Ian Stevenson, Rebirth, and the Suttas

Postby tiltbillings » Tue Oct 04, 2011 5:13 am

alan wrote: And don't believe any average person who says they know. They don't!
How do you know that?

Your emphatic "They don't" does not address the OP. It is merely your opinion, which is not related to the OP.
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.

"We eat cold eels and think distant thoughts." -- Jack Johnson
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Re: Ian Stevenson, Rebirth, and the Suttas

Postby Zom » Tue Oct 04, 2011 8:19 am

The Buddha himself was not specific about his rebirths.
He came to an understanding of the relation of rebirth and kamma only upon his awakening.


I think he was.
If he thought that sansara ends with his life (no-rebirth view), then he would stay at home to be a rich and happy househoulder ,)
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Re: Ian Stevenson, Rebirth, and the Suttas

Postby Mr Man » Tue Oct 04, 2011 8:58 am

What I don't get is why there is a wish to correlate the studies of Ian Stevenson with the teachings of Buddhism. For me Buddhist practice stands up well with out the need for "scientific" validation. The kind of validation that can come from such non-mainstream views as that of Ian Stevenson can in my opinion only have the reverse of it's intended effect.
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Re: Ian Stevenson, Rebirth, and the Suttas

Postby cooran » Tue Oct 04, 2011 9:02 am

Hello Mr. Man,

The kind of validation that can come from such non-mainstream views as that of Ian Stevenson can in my opinion only have the reverse of it's intended effect.


Dr. Ian Stevenson was doing scientific research over 40 years on this subject. What do you mean by ''intended effect''?

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Re: Ian Stevenson, Rebirth, and the Suttas

Postby tiltbillings » Tue Oct 04, 2011 9:06 am

Mr Man wrote: For me Buddhist practice stands up well with out the need for "scientific" validation.
I agree.


The kind of validation that can come from such non-mainstream views as that of Ian Stevenson can in my opinion only have the reverse of it's intended effect.
Stevenson's research has pointed to interesting phenomena that warrants a serious look, whatever the explaination. It neither proves nor disproves the Buddha's teachings, but it does not hurt to ask the question of the OP, as long as we do not get to caught in it and read more into it than is there.
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.

"We eat cold eels and think distant thoughts." -- Jack Johnson
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Re: Ian Stevenson, Rebirth, and the Suttas

Postby Mr Man » Tue Oct 04, 2011 10:01 am

Hi cooran & all
What I meant is when Ian Stevenson's research is used to try and validate Buddhist doctrine it often has the reverse of it's 'intended effect. I don't think it adds anything and my opinion is that it may actually take something away because from what I have observed it tends to move the debate towards a thicket of views. And although his work is interesting i personally don't think it is strongly credible, at this time.
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Re: Ian Stevenson, Rebirth, and the Suttas

Postby PeterB » Tue Oct 04, 2011 10:10 am

I agree entirely Mr Man, with each of your points. My only caveat would be that I think that you are over generous in your assessment of Stevenson's credibility.
His science stinks. It would not take a Richard Dawkins to drive a coach and several pairs of horses through it.
The only reason it has stayed relative unmauled is that no one takes it seriously enough to unload any big guns in its direction.
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Re: Ian Stevenson, Rebirth, and the Suttas

Postby tiltbillings » Tue Oct 04, 2011 10:40 am

PeterB wrote:I agree entirely Mr Man, with each of your points. My only caveat would be that I think that you are over generous in your assessment of Stevenson's credibility.
His science stinks. It would not take a Richard Dawkins to drive a coach and several pairs of horses through it.
The only reason it has stayed relative unmauled is that no one takes it seriously enough to unload any big guns in its direction.
Thank you for sharing your opinion.
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.

"We eat cold eels and think distant thoughts." -- Jack Johnson
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Re: Ian Stevenson, Rebirth, and the Suttas

Postby PeterB » Tue Oct 04, 2011 11:31 am

Anytime... :smile:
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Re: Ian Stevenson, Rebirth, and the Suttas

Postby PeterB » Tue Oct 04, 2011 12:46 pm

One inconvenient issue that is usually omitted in any Buddhist discussion of Stevenson is the fact that the data that he claims to produce supports the idea of Hindu type Reincarnation....including a " carrying forward " of various physical characteristics.... that are at odds with the Buddhist concept of Punabhava.
He is actually positing the reincarnation of an atman.
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Re: Ian Stevenson, Rebirth, and the Suttas

Postby tiltbillings » Tue Oct 04, 2011 2:13 pm

PeterB wrote:One inconvenient issue that is usually omitted in any Buddhist discussion of Stevenson is the fact that the data that he claims to produce supports the idea of Hindu type Reincarnation....including a " carrying forward " of various physical characteristics.... that are at odds with the Buddhist concept of Punabhava.
He is actually positing the reincarnation of an atman.
But that does not negate what is actual interest, the accounts themselves.
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.

"We eat cold eels and think distant thoughts." -- Jack Johnson
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Re: Ian Stevenson, Rebirth, and the Suttas

Postby chownah » Wed Oct 05, 2011 2:37 am

For many it is interesting to find stories of reincarnation, to study stories of reincarnation, to delight in stories of reincarnation........but is this going to help us to reach the goal?....is this skillful?......it can be if one observes this finding, studying, and delighting as it arises and as a result comes to grip with this doctrine of self.....I guess.....
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Re: Ian Stevenson, Rebirth, and the Suttas

Postby fijiNut » Thu Oct 06, 2011 11:05 am

From my limited understanding, the Buddha talked about wrong view and how it is a hindrance on the path:
"And how is right view the forerunner? One discerns wrong view as wrong view, and right view as right view. This is one's right view. And what is wrong view? 'There is nothing given, nothing offered, nothing sacrificed. There is no fruit or result of good or bad actions. There is no this world, no next world, no mother, no father, no spontaneously reborn beings; no priests or contemplatives who, faring rightly & practicing rightly, proclaim this world & the next after having directly known & realized it for themselves.' This is wrong view...
"One tries to abandon wrong view & to enter into right view: This is one's right effort. One is mindful to abandon wrong view & to enter & remain in right view: This is one's right mindfulness. Thus these three qualities — right view, right effort, & right mindfulness — run & circle around right view."


Hope this helps. I have one of Ian Stevenson's book and I found it to be quite compelling, I hope those who are on the forum who are doubtful can read it.
http://books.google.com/books/about/Twe ... DES6VWl1MC
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Re: Ian Stevenson, Rebirth, and the Suttas

Postby Zom » Thu Oct 06, 2011 12:52 pm

:goodpost:

Yes, indeed - doubting in rebirth means that your Right View factor is not yet complete.
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Re: Ian Stevenson, Rebirth, and the Suttas

Postby daverupa » Thu Oct 06, 2011 1:25 pm

Zom wrote::goodpost:

Yes, indeed - doubting in rebirth means that your Right View factor is not yet complete.


Oh?

MN 9 wrote:The Wholesome and the Unwholesome

3. "When, friends, a noble disciple understands the unwholesome, the root of the unwholesome, the wholesome, and the root of the wholesome, in that way he is one of right view, whose view is straight, who has perfect confidence in the Dhamma, and has arrived at this true Dhamma.

4. "And what, friends, is the unwholesome, what is the root of the unwholesome, what is the wholesome, what is the root of the wholesome? Killing living beings is unwholesome; taking what is not given is unwholesome; misconduct in sensual pleasures is unwholesome; false speech is unwholesome; malicious speech is unwholesome; harsh speech is unwholesome; gossip is unwholesome; covetousness is unwholesome; ill will is unwholesome; wrong view is unwholesome. This is called the unwholesome.

5. "And what is the root of the unwholesome? Greed is a root of the unwholesome; hate is a root of the unwholesome; delusion is a root of the unwholesome. This is called the root of the unwholesome.

6. "And what is the wholesome? Abstention from killing living beings is wholesome; abstention from taking what is not given is wholesome; abstention from misconduct in sensual pleasures is wholesome; abstention from false speech is wholesome; abstention from malicious speech is wholesome; abstention from harsh speech is wholesome; abstention from gossip is wholesome; non-covetousness is wholesome; non-ill will is wholesome; right view is wholesome. This is called the wholesome.

7. "And what is the root of the wholesome? Non-greed is a root of the wholesome; non-hate is a root of the wholesome; non-delusion is a root of the wholesome. This is called the root of the wholesome.

8. "When a noble disciple has thus understood the unwholesome, the root of the unwholesome, the wholesome, and the root of the wholesome, he entirely abandons the underlying tendency to lust, he abolishes the underlying tendency to aversion, he extirpates the underlying tendency to the view and conceit 'I am,' and by abandoning ignorance and arousing true knowledge he here and now makes an end of suffering. In that way too a noble disciple is one of right view, whose view is straight, who has perfect confidence in the Dhamma and has arrived at this true Dhamma."


There's only one section in the entirety of MN 9 that makes even an oblique reference to rebirth (24-27, from within 1-71), and the whole thing is couched within terms of alternative and equivalent ways of coming to Right View. The idea that rebirth is a necessary part of Right View is wholly incorrect.
    "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]
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Re: Ian Stevenson, Rebirth, and the Suttas

Postby kirk5a » Thu Oct 06, 2011 1:50 pm

daverupa wrote:There's only one section in the entirety of MN 9 that makes even an oblique reference to rebirth (24-27, from within 1-71), and the whole thing is couched within terms of alternative and equivalent ways of coming to Right View. The idea that rebirth is a necessary part of Right View is wholly incorrect.

Oh?
A2. "Because there actually is the next world, the view of one who thinks, 'There is no next world' is his wrong view.
...
B2. "Because there actually is the next world, the view of one who thinks, 'There is a next world' is his right view.

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

Postby ancientbuddhism » Thu Oct 06, 2011 2:30 pm

Debates like this cast Western Buddhists in an embarrassing light. Cultural Buddhists seem to either accept canonical rebirth and all the local underpinnings of mythos at face value, or they are openly skeptical, all without the condescension I have right-view and you don’t, and without the specious science of Mr. Stevenson to help support some dogma.
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 PeterB » Thu Oct 06, 2011 2:37 pm

:goodpost:
My thoughts exactly.
In would seem that for some their need to belong to a club, to comfort themselves by identifying themselves as part of an inner core of true believers overwhelms what in other circumstances would trip the most clanging of alarm bells.
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Re: Ian Stevenson, Rebirth, and the Suttas

Postby Aloka » Thu Oct 06, 2011 2:59 pm

PeterB wrote: the most clanging of alarm bells.


Ding- dong ! :D
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