Ben wrote:Hi Craig
I think its a mistake to separate the Buddha's teachings from post-mortem rebirth. In fact, I don't believe you can separate the two without distorting the Buddha's teachings to one's own predelictions and delusions. No personal criticism intended. If you survey the Sutta Pitaka and the Abhidhamma you will see that the doctrine of rebirth not only appears everywhere you look, but key aspects of the teachings don't make much sense without rebirth.
If, Craig, you find the concept of rebirth hard to accept, then for the time being lay it to the side and continue with your practice. Denying the reality of rebirth without having developed your own experiential wisdom may become an obstruction for further development on the path. For the time being, consider trying to keep your mind open with relation to some aspects of the teaching that are challenging for you.
I dont advert from rebirth, i did accept it
Could you elaborate on how taking away post-mortem rebirth distorts the teachings? Im not trying to be confronational
but if i understand your argument for it then i could answer you more fully (perhaps in the rebirth topic since it would probably be out of place in this thread)
No personal criticism intended
, no one here to offend only empty khandas
If you survey the Sutta Pitaka and the Abhidhamma you will see that the doctrine of rebirth not only appears everywhere you look, but key aspects of the teachings don't make much sense without rebirth.
I know its in the Abhidhamma but i dont go to that for teachings (much). I dont deny that its in the suttas but you will notice that most of the time, its in discussion with brahmins or jains etc. The Buddhas own noble teachings pointed out that having any speculative view about what happens after death rises from and ignorant clinging of and idea of self through identification with one or more of the khandas even if the "person" is aware of it or not
That is why the Buddha didnt hold any speculative view, he explained that he did not because he "has seen with proper wisdom thus; such is form, origination, dissappearence, perception..., feeling..., formations..., consciousness.... (which as he states only arises when there is contact at the six sense bases).
Therefore as he sees the khandas with wisdom and so doesnt identify with them, there are no speculative views about what happens after death, since all these views come to be through clinging and thus claiming an identity
The Buddhas own noble teachings were, (in short), that there is Dukkha through having this sense of "I am". When there is "I am" there is ageing and death since there is identification with that which ages and dies and so the thought "I am ageing and dying". Remove all thoughts and perceptions about self and there is no more identification and so no more ageing, sickness or death ( and no more speculative views about what happneds after death)
Its interesting to note that when the Buddha himself set out to find the deathless, he didnt do it with the view "i will be rebortn and suffer" since, if you interpret it as rebirth, he only seen rebirth on the actual night of his enlightenment. Before that he set out with the view "I am a victim of ageing, sickness and death". This is the right view to start with, this if the first noble truth (although for us our right view includes 4 noble truths since he discovered the rest and taught them to us). If you say that one must have right view of rebirth in order to practice, then you are saying the Buddha himself had wrong view to start with
Its interesting as well of the Buddha states to his Bhikkhus how it is good that they have gone into homelessness with the understanding "I am a victim of old age, sicknes and death" as in right now, not "I will be a vicitm of old age, sickness and death". This is an important point, i feel
The Buddhas teachings are all about how dukkha arises here and now, acknowledgement of that and the practice to remove it, not with the view "i will be reborn and suffer"
P.S. Sorry for all the paraphrasing, im doing this before i start work, if you want me to back up with suttas i will happily do so later on tonight