the great rebirth debate

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Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby mikenz66 » Sun Apr 26, 2009 10:44 pm

clw_uk wrote:And how do we understand not-self?

Well that's the key question. How is this achieved?

While I agree that the way most meditation techniques approach it is by attending to the present moment, that is only one factor of the Path, and it interacts with all the other factors, particularly Right View.

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Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby pink_trike » Sun Apr 26, 2009 10:57 pm

Peter wrote:
It is only people on internet forums who are uncomfortable with rebirth teachings who say in response to questions about past and future lives "Never mind that. The Buddha didn't teach about that."

As an old fart, my experience and memory extend way back beyond the internet. For thirty-ish years I've been active in the Dharma community and have seen wave after wave of newbies express their discomfort with the rebirth teachings, and have heard many teachers say the equivalent of "never mind that...just practice".

What we do see a lot of on the internet is folks that insist on the primacy of rebirth to the path - something that before the internet teachers would slap down in a silly minute.
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Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby Ben » Sun Apr 26, 2009 10:59 pm

Hi all

I'm not really following this discussion closely so, I apologise if what I post below has already been mentioned. I'm reproducing the Fourteen Fundamental Buddhist Beliefs because, as you will see near the end of the quote, the concept of rebirth holding a central position in the Buddhadhamma was authenticated by a representative selection of senior Buddhist authorities and scholars from a number of traditions.

Colonel Olcott’s Fourteen Fundamental Buddhist Beliefs


I. Buddhists are taught to show the same tolerance, forbearance, and brotherly love to all men, without distinction; and an unswerving kindness towards the members of the animal kingdom.

II. The universe was evolved, not created; and it functions according to law, not according to the caprice of any god.

III. The truths upon which Buddhism is founded are natural. They have, we believe, been taught in successive kalpas, or world-periods, by certain illuminated beings called Buddhas, the name Buddha meaning "Enlightened."

IV. The fourth teacher in the present kalpa was Sakyamuni, or Gautama Buddha, who was born in a royal family in India about 2,500 years ago. He is a historical personage and his name was Siddhartha Gautama.

V. Sakyamuni taught that ignorance produces desire, unsatisfied desire is the cause of rebirth, and rebirth the cause of sorrow. To get rid of sorrow, therefore, it is necessary to escape rebirth, it is necessary to extinguish desire; and to extinguish desire, it is necessary to destroy ignorance.

VI. Ignorance fosters the belief that rebirth is a necessary thing. When ignorance is destroyed the worthlessness of every such rebirth, considered as an end in itself, is perceived, as well as the paramount need of adopting a course of life by which the necessity for such repeated rebirth, can be abolished. Ignorance also begets the illusive and illogical idea that there is only one existence for man, and the other illusion that this one life is followed by a state of unchangeable pleasure or torment.

VII. The dispersion of all this ignorance can be attained by the persevering practice of an all-embracing altruism in conduct, development of intelligence, wisdom in thought, and destruction of desire for the lower personal pleasures.

VIII. The desire to live being the cause of rebirth, when that is extinguished rebirths cease, and the perfected individual attains by meditation that highest state of peace called Nirvaana.

IX. Sakyamuni taught that ignorance can be dispelled and sorrow removed by the knowledge of the Four Noble Truths, that is,

1. Existence is misery;

2. The cause productive of misery is the desire ever-renewed of satisfying oneself, without being able ever to secure that end;

3. The destruction of that desire, or the estranging of oneself from it;

4. The means of obtaining this destruction of desire. The means which he pointed out are called the Noble Eightfold Path, that is, Right Belief, Right Thought, Right Speech, Right Action, Right Means of Livelihood, Right Exertion, Right Remembrance, Right Meditation.

X. Right Meditation leads to spiritual enlightenment, or the development of that Buddha-like faculty which is latent in every man.
XI. The essence of Buddhism, as summed up by the Tathaagata (Buddha) himself, consists in: desisting from all evil; acquiring virtue, purifying the heart.
XII. The universe is subject to a natural causation known as Karma. The merits and demerits of a being in his past existence determine his condition in the present one. Each man, therefore, has prepared the causes of the effect which he now experiences.
XIII. The obstacles to the attainment of good Karma may be removed by the observance of the following precepts, which are embraced in the moral code of Buddhism: (1) kill not; (2) steal not; (3) indulge not in forbidden sexual pleasure; (4) lie not; (5) take no intoxicating or stupefying drugs or liquor. Five other precepts which need not be enumerated here should be observed by those who would attain more quickly than the average layman the release from misery and rebirth.
XIV. Buddhism discourages superstitious credulity. Gautama Buddha taught it to be the duty of a parent to have his child educated in science and literature. He also taught that no one should believe what is spoken by any sage, written in any book, or affirmed by tradition, unless it accords with reason.
This was drafted as a common platform upon which all Buddhists can agree, and signed by H.S. Olcott. The document then closed with the following endorsements.

"Respectfully submitted for the approval of the high priests of the nations which we severally represent, in the Buddhist conference held at Adyar, Madras, on the 8th, 9th, 10th, 11th and 12th of January 1891 (A B. 2434).

Japan Kozen Gunaratana, Chlezo Tokuzawa

Burma U Hmoay Tha Aung

Ceylon Dhammapala Hevavitarana

The Maghs of Chittegong Krishna Chandra Chowdry, by his appointed Proxy, Maung Tha Dwe.

Burma

Approved on behalf of the Buddhists of Burma, this 3rd day of February 1891 (A.B. 2434):

Tha-tha-na-baing Sayadawgyi; Aung Myi Shewbon Sayadaw; Me-ge-waddy Sayadaw; Hmat-Khaya Sayadaw; Hti-lin Sayadaw; Myadaung Sayadaw; Hla-Htwe Sayadaw; and sixteen others.



Ceylon

Approved on behalf of the Buddhists of Ceylon on this 25th day of February 1891 (A.B. 2434):

Yatawatte Chandjoti, high priest of Asgiri Vihara at Kandy.

(Sd.) YATAWATTA

Hikkaduwe Sri Sumangala, high priest Adam’s Peak and the district of Colombo.

(Sd.) H. SUMANGALA

Suriyagoda Sonuttara, librarian of the oriental library at the Temple of the Tooth Relic at Kandy.

(Sd.) S. SONUTTARA

Dhammalankara, high priest.

(Sd.) W. DHAMMALANKARA

Waskaduwe Subhuti, high priest.

(Sd.) W. SUBHUTI

Japan

Accepted as included within the body of Northern Buddhism.

Shaku Genyu (Shingon Shu)

Fukuda Nichiye (Nichiren Shu)

Sanada Seyke (Zen Shu)

Ito Quan Shyu (Zen Shu)

Takehana Hakuyo (Jodo Shu)

Kono Rioshin (Ji-Shu Shu)

Kiro Ki-Ko (Jodo Seizan Shu)

Harutani Shinsho (Tendai Shu)

Manabe Shun-myo (Shingon Shu)



CHITTAGONG

Accepted for the Buddhists of Chittagong.

Nagawa Parvata Viharadhipati Guna Megu Wini-Lankara, Harbing, Chittagong, Bengal."

-- http://www.bps.lk/wheels_library/wh_281.html
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Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby pink_trike » Sun Apr 26, 2009 11:02 pm

Ben, I don't think anyone here is denying the phenomena of rebirth - this is a debate about the context within which it occurs, and the questionable value of a literal interpretation of this phenomena.

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Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby tiltbillings » Mon Apr 27, 2009 7:09 am

Craig: Speculative view, in the sense i am using the term, is a view/thought/opinion about what happens after death (maybe as well such questions as "who am i" etc) that comes to be via clinging to the aggregates (if there person is aware or not) . . . Really? what does having a view of rebirth involve and what questions does it naturaly lead to? 'Was I in the past? Was I not in the past? What was I in the past? How was I in the past? Having been what, what was I in the past? Shall I be in the future? Shall I not be in the future? What shall I be in the future? How shall I be in the future? Having been what, what shall I be in the future?


Cannot blame rebirth for that. Such ideas of “what will become of me” and the like happen all the time, in reference to what will happen to me in the next hour or minute or second without any need to reference a next life. Blaming rebirth for that is silly, given that the Buddha placed a great deal of emphasis upon rebirth and he did not give his teaching in any other way.

I quote:
This precious human birth

"Monks, suppose that this great earth were totally covered with water, and a man were to toss a yoke with a single hole there. A wind from the east would push it west, a wind from the west would push it east. A wind from the north would push it south, a wind from the south would push it north. And suppose a blind sea-turtle were there. It would come to the surface once every one hundred years. Now what do you think: would that blind sea-turtle, coming to the surface once every one hundred years, stick his neck into the yoke with a single hole?"

"It would be a sheer coincidence, lord, that the blind sea-turtle, coming to the surface once every one hundred years, would stick his neck into the yoke with a single hole."

"It's likewise a sheer coincidence that one obtains the human state. It's likewise a sheer coincidence that a Tathagata, worthy & rightly self-awakened, arises in the world. It's likewise a sheer coincidence that a doctrine & discipline expounded by a Tathagata appears in the world. Now, this human state has been obtained. A Tathagata, worthy & rightly self-awakened, has arisen in the world. A doctrine & discipline expounded by a Tathagata appears in the world.

"Therefore your duty is the contemplation: 'This is stress...This is the origination of stress...This is the cessation of stress...This is the path of practice leading to the cessation of stress.'" — SN 56.48


Craig responds: How often does a "person" endulge in basic desires like a common animal? How many times does a person live in hate and anger and depression like a hell being? How many times is a person lead by pure greed like a hungry shade never being satisfied?


However, that may be, it still does not at all address the fact that rebirth in a very literal way is presented in this text by the Buddha in the context of the Four Noble Truths. Craig’s response is a two-step-side-step dance of avoiding addressing what is plainly stated.

Me: ‘Actually, have you done much real intensive practice to see what the nature of the "birth and death and rebirth" of the "I am" in a moment to moment arising and falling is really like, what it really feels like? ‘

Craig: If your asking if i actualy practice then yes i do

Me: “What I asked is quite straightforward, but you have not answered the question.”

Craig: I will try to describe my exp/practice as best as i can

Through practice i have had an understanding how clinging to khandas brings "I am" and how that "I am" through clinging to the khandas brings sorrow, anger etc via anicca. I have an understanding how, through ignorance, the taints and a lack of wisdom, that very clinging comes to be via craving and how that craving will lead onto more clinging (and so I am) and so more dukkha (via anicca). What i havent been able to do is watch the whole process from start to finish and my understanding of it is not in full and for the moment its just be in relation to clinging to rupa


Then the answer is no. As I have said above (with some expansion added): Unless one verifies the moment to moment rise and fall -- birth, death, and rebirth -- of experience, it is naught more than speculation, like kamma and nibbana. Craig's moment to moment business is no less speculative than anything else, unless it is directly experienced, which his what description of his practice indicates it is not. What he is giving us is his selective idea of how he thinks the doctrine should be understood.

Craig: All i am saying is the buddhas own teachings dont include it, by his own teachings i mean that which is "special to the buddhas" i.e. 4nt, paticcasamuppada

So Craig says, repeatedly, even though it has been pointed out to him that rebirth is clearly implicit in the teachings of paticcasamuppada, and the above turtle quote shows rebirth included directly with the Four Noble Truths, and we see Craig not acknowledge it; rather, he gives a two-step-side-step dance of avoidance.

The Mahanidana Sutta, DN 15, is a major, doctrinally complicated discourse by the Buddha to his monk (not lay people) on the subject of paticcasamuppada. In it is this passage, which is quite direct, not a figurative moment-to-moment thing that Craig repeatedly states is the fact of paticcasamupadda:

21. 'I have said: "Consciousness conditions mind-and-body." ... [63] If consciousness were not to come into the mother's womb, would mind-and-body develop there?'

'No, Lord.'

'Or if consciousness, having entered the mother's womb, were to be deflected, would mind-and-body come to birth in this life?'

'No, Lord.'

'And if the consciousness of such a tender young being, boy or girl, were thus cut off, would mind-and-body grow, develop and mature?

‘No, Lord.'

. . . . .
- DN ii 62-3; LDB 226.

In the preceding DN discourse we have this:

Then, when the Bodhisatta had entered his dwelling alone, in a secluded spot, he thought: "This world, alas, is in a sorry state: there is birth and decay, there is death and falling into other states and being reborn. And no one knows [31] any way of escape from this suffering, this ageing and death. When will deliverance be found from this suffering, this ageing and death?" DN ii 30-1; LDB 220-1.

While the bodhisatta here is the Buddha-to-be Vipassi, we see that before his awakening, rebirth was very much a part of how he saw things, and there is no reason to assume that rebirth was not the case for the Buddha-to-be Gotama, given the major text from MN 26 clearly indicate it is so.

Craig’s complaint that rebirth leads to unwholesome speculation carries little weight. If we put rebirth into the actual context of the Buddha’s teachings, as we see it in this sort of context, it leads to very wholesome thought and action.
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: the great rebirth debate

Postby clw_uk » Mon Apr 27, 2009 6:33 pm

Hey Tilt

Cannot blame rebirth for that. Such ideas of “what will become of me” and the like happen all the time, in reference to what will happen to me in the next hour or minute or second without any need to reference a next life. Blaming rebirth for that is silly, given that the Buddha placed a great deal of emphasis upon rebirth and he did not give his teaching in any other way.


Im not denying that people will every now and again engage in such questions but if one follows the teachings, one reconizes the danger in such questions and practices to refocus attention to the present moment and focus on what is (and practice to eventualy stop asking such questions altogether)

The Buddha didnt place emphasis on rebirth, he placed emphasis on jati, emphasis on dukkha and its quenching

However, that may be, it still does not at all address the fact that rebirth in a very literal way is presented in this text by the Buddha in the context of the Four Noble Truths. Craig’s response is a two-step-side-step dance of avoiding addressing what is plainly stated.


The 4nt dont include rebirth so i answered in accordance with them

Craig's moment to moment business is no less speculative than anything else, unless it is directly experienced, which his what description of his practice indicates it is not. What he is giving us is his selective idea of how he thinks the doctrine should be understood.


The actual process may involve some slight speculation if one hasnt seen it but its not a stretch since one can see dukkha and anicca right now so that is verified, one can (with some reasonable practice) see how dukkha comes to be via craving and clinging because of ignorance and the taints, once again verified

One can understand Anatta on a basic level since one can understand how clinging to things that have Anicca as their inherent nature will only cause dukkha

One can understand with little speculation, how identification brings ageing, death and dukkha and how Anatta and Voidness removes all that


Kamma is a bit more speculative but one can verify, on a basic level, how intentions bring some results

I agree that Nibbana is speculative (and i dont agree that one should speculate about it) but since the rest can be easily verified, since the first two truths can be verified on a basic level, nibbana becomes less and less a "maybe" and more and more a "will be"


paticcasamuppada isnt really speculation since, with practice, one van verify different aspects of it at different levels, the only speculation may be thinking about the whole process when one has only seen "bits"


The Mahanidana Sutta, DN 15, is a major, doctrinally complicated discourse by the Buddha to his monk (not lay people) on the subject of paticcasamuppada. In it is this passage, which is quite direct, not a figurative moment-to-moment thing that Craig repeatedly states is the fact of paticcasamupadda:


It is an interesting sutta but i think its worth noting that it does stick out as different from other discourses that discuss paticcasamuppada, the use of the word "rebirth" for example instead of Jati

It is different in other ways as well, for example in MN38 it states that paticcasamuppada doesnt occur until after birth, when the human is at a certain age



Bhikkhus, with the coming together of three things a descent to the womb comes about: Here the mother and father come together. It is not the season of the mother. The gandhabba is not present, then there is no descent to the womb. Here, mother and father come together. It is the season of the mother. The gandhabba is not present. Then there is no descent to the womb. Here mother and father come together. It is the season of the mother and the gandhabba is present. Then there is a descent to the womb. That mother protects the womb for nine or ten months with great anxiety and trouble. After nine or ten months that mother gives birth with great anxiety and trouble. She supports the born with her own blood. In the noble ones’ dispensation mother’s milk is called blood. Bhikkhus, that boy grows and his faculties mature and he plays games that boys play. Such as mock games as taking a bowl, turning somersaults, making toy wind mills with palm leaves, making small carts and bows. Bhikkhus, that boy, grows and his faculties develop and is provided with the five strands of sense pleasures, and he lives enticed by pleasing agreeable forms cognisable by eye consciousness, agreeable sounds cognisable by ear consciousness, agreeable smells cognisable by nose consciousness, agreeable tastes cognisable by tongue consciousness and agreeable touches cognisable by body consciousness.

<edit - Begining of the round of paticcasamuppada >

He seeing a form with the eye becomes greedy for a pleasant form, or averse to a disagreeable form. Abides with mindfulness of the body not established and with a limited mind. Not knowing the release of mind nor the release through wisdom as it really is, where thoughts of demerit cease completely (*11). He falls to the path of agreeing and disagreeing and feels whatever feeling, pleasant, unpleasant, or neither unpleasant nor pleasant. Delighted and pleased with those feelings he appropriates them. To him delighted, pleased and appropriating those feelings arises interest. That interest for feelings is the holding (* 12) To him holding, there is being, from being arises birth, from birth decay and death, grief, lament, unpleasantness, displeasure and distress, thus arises the complete mass of unpleasantness. Hearing a sound with the ear, cognising a smell with the nose, cognising a taste with the tongue, cognising a touch with the body, cognising an idea with the mind, becomes greedy for a pleasant idea. Becomes averse to a disagreeable idea. Abides with mindfulness of the body not established and with a limited mind. Not knowing the release of mind nor the release through wisdom as it really is. Not knowing how thoughts of demerit cease completely. He falls to the path of agreeing and disagreeing and feels whatever feeling, pleasant, unpleasant, or neither unpleasant nor pleasant. Delighted and pleased with those feelings, appropriates them. To him delighted, pleased and appropriating those feelings arise interest. That interest for feelings is the holding (*12) To him holding, there is being, from being arises birth, from birth decay and death, grief, lament, unpleasantness, displeasure and distress, thus arises the complete mass of unpleasntness.


As we see in this sutta, paticcasamuppada starts after physical birth, when the human is a certain age (the text doesnt state but i go for early/middle childhood) and also, its occurence in present moment


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Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby clw_uk » Mon Apr 27, 2009 6:42 pm

Tilt

There is no rebirth in MN26


http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html


So Craig says, repeatedly, even though it has been pointed out to him that rebirth is clearly implicit in the teachings of paticcasamuppada, and the above turtle quote shows rebirth included directly with the Four Noble Truths, and we see Craig not acknowledge it; rather, he gives a two-step-side-step dance of avoidance.


The only real argument that has been given for rebirth being in the 4Nt and paticcasamuppada is "because it is" or by reading Jati as birth of the khandas instead of birth of "I am"

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Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby mikenz66 » Mon Apr 27, 2009 6:47 pm

Only if you insist on your speculative way of reading everything... :thinking:
"I, too, monks, before my Awakening, when I was an unawakened bodhisatta, being subject myself to birth, sought what was likewise subject to birth. Being subject myself to aging... illness... death... sorrow... defilement, I sought [happiness in] what was likewise subject to illness... death... sorrow... defilement. The thought occurred to me, 'Why do I, being subject myself to birth, seek what is likewise subject to birth? Being subject myself to aging... illness... death... sorrow... defilement, why do I seek what is likewise subject to illness... death... sorrow... defilement? What if I, being subject myself to birth, seeing the drawbacks of birth, were to seek the unborn, unexcelled rest from the yoke: Unbinding? What if I, being subject myself to aging... illness... death... sorrow... defilement, seeing the drawbacks of aging... illness... death... sorrow... defilement, were to seek the aging-less, illness-less, deathless, sorrow-less,, unexcelled rest from the yoke: Unbinding?'

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Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby clw_uk » Mon Apr 27, 2009 6:56 pm

Hey Mike

I, too, monks, before my Awakening, when I was an unawakened bodhisatta, being subject myself to birth, sought what was likewise subject to birth. Being subject myself to aging... illness... death... sorrow... defilement, I sought [happiness in] what was likewise subject to illness... death... sorrow... defilement. The thought occurred to me, 'Why do I, being subject myself to birth, seek what is likewise subject to birth? Being subject myself to aging... illness... death... sorrow... defilement, why do I seek what is likewise subject to illness... death... sorrow... defilement? What if I, being subject myself to birth, seeing the drawbacks of birth, were to seek the unborn, unexcelled rest from the yoke: Unbinding? What if I, being subject myself to aging... illness... death... sorrow... defilement, seeing the drawbacks of aging... illness... death... sorrow... defilement, were to seek the aging-less, illness-less, deathless, sorrow-less,, unexcelled rest from the yoke: Unbinding?'


Its an interesting passage, if you notice its actually discussing the First Noble Truth

"This is the noble truth of suffering: birth is suffering, aging is suffering, illness is suffering, death is suffering; sorrow, lamentation, pain, grief and despair are suffering; union with what is displeasing is suffering; separation from what is pleasing is suffering; not to get what one wants is suffering; in brief, the five aggregates subject to clinging are suffering."

Now as the Buddha states, birth, ageing, sickness and death (and the rest) all come to be and can be summed up and included in "in brief, the five aggregates subject to clinging are suffering"


As in when there is clinging to the aggregates there will be a Jati (of I am) and so when there is "I am" there is identification and so ageing, sickness, death, sorrow etc. Also its important to take into account that clinging happens many times throughout life and many things will be clung to at different times as well, so there will be multiple times of clinging and, as the Buddha states, when there is clinging there is birth and so ageing, sickness and death etc, physical birth only happens one, birth of "I am" can happen trillions of times and probably even more

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Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby mikenz66 » Mon Apr 27, 2009 9:12 pm

Yes, sure, that's the view that I know you cling to rather tenaciously... It's clear that if you always define birth as moment-to-moment becoming then you won't see any rebirth in the teachings.

Personally, I don't know how to approach some of the teachings. Should I take them literally or metaphorically? I try to keep an open mind...

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Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby pink_trike » Mon Apr 27, 2009 9:38 pm

mikenz66 wrote:Yes, sure, that's the view that I know you cling to rather tenaciously... It's clear that if you always define birth as moment-to-moment becoming then you won't see any rebirth in the teachings.

Personally, I don't know how to approach some of the teachings. Should I take them literally or metaphorically? I try to keep an open mind...

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Mike

If we don't know, imo, we shouldn't pretend to ourselves that we do know - either way. We can get lost in the labyrinths of pretend that masquerade as certainty. Better to say "I don't know" about some things. I have serious doubts about "literal" and default to metaphorical...but there is no way I can possible know, or anyone can know. That's why I prefer to stick to practice, and try to minimize speculation by understanding how alluring it is and how the ego lusts for it.
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Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby clw_uk » Mon Apr 27, 2009 10:27 pm

mikenz66 wrote:Yes, sure, that's the view that I know you cling to rather tenaciously... It's clear that if you always define birth as moment-to-moment becoming then you won't see any rebirth in the teachings.

Personally, I don't know how to approach some of the teachings. Should I take them literally or metaphorically? I try to keep an open mind...

Metta
Mike


I dont cling to it, i just keep stating it because thats how the suttas teach it

1st Noble Truth is about how dukkha is there because of clinging to aggregates and so having "I am"

This is the noble truth of suffering: birth is suffering, aging is suffering, illness is suffering, death is suffering; sorrow, lamentation, pain, grief and despair are suffering; union with what is displeasing is suffering; separation from what is pleasing is suffering; not to get what one wants is suffering; in brief, the five aggregates subject to clinging are suffering.

The last bit is important for understanding, because of clinging to khandas there is "I am". When there is "I am" there is identiciation with the Khandas, when there is identification there is ageing, sickness and death (and also the whole not wanting to get sick, grief, anger etc that go hand in hand with that)

For example, if one clings to the body they identify with it. When the body ages there is the ignorant view "I age". When it dies there is the ignoranct view "I die" and so all the grief and sadness that go along with this

As the Buddhas states here

"There is the case where an uninstructed, run-of-the-mill person — who has no regard for noble ones, is not well-versed or disciplined in their Dhamma; who has no regard for men of integrity, is not well-versed or disciplined in their Dhamma — assumes form (the body) to be the self, or the self as possessing form, or form as in the self, or the self as in form. He is seized with the idea that 'I am form' or 'Form is mine.' As he is seized with these ideas, his form changes & alters, and he falls into sorrow, lamentation, pain, distress, & despair over its change & alteration.


http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html

2nd Noble Truth is how that identification and so "I am" comes to be

This is the noble truth of the origin of suffering: it is this craving which leads to new becoming, accompanied by delight and lust, seeking delight here and there, that is, craving for sensual pleasures, craving to be, craving not-to-be.

Craving is a condition for the arising of clinging (origin of dukkha)
Clinging is a condition for the arising of becoming
Becoming is a condition for the arising of jati, or birth of "I am", so new becoming (first noble truth because when there is identification through clinging to the khandas, there is dukkha)

Saying, "Yes, lady," Visakha the lay follower delighted & rejoiced in what Dhammadinna the nun had said. Then he asked her a further question: "'The origination of self-identification, the origination of self-identification,' it is said, lady. Which origination of self-identification is described by the Blessed One?"

"The craving that makes for further becoming — accompanied by passion & delight, relishing now here & now there — i.e., craving for sensual pleasure, craving for becoming, craving for non-becoming: This, friend Visakha, is the origination of self-identification described by the Blessed One."


http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html

Self identification is clinging to the aggregates ( in brief, the five aggregates subject to clinging are suffering, dukkha),

This comes to be via craving which leads to a new identification or new becoming and so birth of "I am", of identification, as the above quote states, not about birth or rebirth after physical death


3rd Noble Truth is the quenching of dukkha

This is the noble truth of the cessation of suffering: it is the remainderless fading away and cessation of that same craving, the giving up and relinquishing of it, freedom from it, nonreliance on it.

By removing craving (through the practice) there is no more clinging and so no more birth of "I" or identification with that which ages and dies (so no more ageing and death i.e. the deathless)

'He has been stilled where the currents of construing do not flow. And when the currents of construing do not flow, he is said to be a sage at peace.' Thus was it said. With reference to what was it said? 'I am' is a construing. 'I am this' is a construing. 'I shall be' is a construing. 'I shall not be'... 'I shall be possessed of form'... 'I shall not be possessed of form'... 'I shall be percipient'... 'I shall not be percipient'... 'I shall be neither percipient nor non-percipient' is a construing. Construing is a disease, construing is a cancer, construing is an arrow. By going beyond all construing, he is said to be a sage at peace.

"Furthermore, a sage at peace is not born, does not age, does not die, is unagitated, and is free from longing. He has nothing whereby he would be born. Not being born, will he age? Not aging, will he die? Not dying, will he be agitated? Not being agitated, for what will he long? It was in reference to this that it was said, 'He has been stilled where the currents of construing do not flow. And when the currents of construing do not flow, he is said to be a sage at peace.'


http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html


4th Noble Truth is the way to practice inorder to "achieve" that removal

Noble eight fold path will lead one to the deathless

Right View - Understanding of the Four Noble Truths

All about the present moment, about dukkha and its quenching, which one comes to understand by approptiate attention

"He attends appropriately, This is stress... This is the origination of stress... This is the cessation of stress... This is the way leading to the cessation of stress. As he attends appropriately in this way, three fetters are abandoned in him: identity-view, doubt, and grasping at precepts & practices. These are called the fermentations to be abandoned by seeing


All without rebirth theory/view, unless one puts it in by taking jati as everyday, conventional birth of the khandas

Metta
Last edited by clw_uk on Mon Apr 27, 2009 10:43 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby mikenz66 » Mon Apr 27, 2009 10:39 pm

clw_uk wrote:I dont cling to it, i just keep stating it because thats how the suttas teach it

1st Noble Truth is about how dukkha is there because of clinging to aggregates and so having "I am"

Yes, we know that. That seems to be the core of what we are all aiming for. Experientially, not intellectually.

Where we disagree is the speculations about what the teachings of rebirth are about that you deduce from that.

As Pink says, it might be better to "not know" rather than have particular views.

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Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby clw_uk » Mon Apr 27, 2009 10:44 pm

Greetings

Even if you dont take anything i have said as proper then look at what Bhikkhuni Dhammadinna has to say (who was praised by the Buddha for what she taught here)

I have heard that on one occasion the Blessed One was staying near Rajagaha in the Bamboo Grove, the Squirrels' Sanctuary. Then Visakha the lay follower went to Dhammadinna the nun and, on arrival, having bowed down to her, sat to one side. As he was sitting there he said to her, "'Self-identification, self-identification,' it is said, lady. Which self-identification is described by the Blessed One?"

"There are these five clinging-aggregates, friend Visakha: form as a clinging-aggregate, feeling as a clinging-aggregate, perception as a clinging-aggregate, fabrications as a clinging-aggregate, consciousness as a clinging-aggregate. These five clinging-aggregates are the self-identification described by the Blessed One."

<edit - 1st Noble Truth, about "I am" not physical birth>

Saying, "Yes, lady," Visakha the lay follower delighted & rejoiced in what Dhammadinna the nun had said. Then he asked her a further question: "'The origination of self-identification, the origination of self-identification,' it is said, lady. Which origination of self-identification is described by the Blessed One?"

"The craving that makes for further becoming — accompanied by passion & delight, relishing now here & now there — i.e., craving for sensual pleasure, craving for becoming, craving for non-becoming: This, friend Visakha, is the origination of self-identification described by the Blessed One."

<edit - 2nd Noble Truth, craving leads to new identification so new birth of "I am">

"'The cessation of self-identification, the cessation of self-identification,' it is said, lady. Which cessation of self-identification is described by the Blessed One?"

"The remainderless fading & cessation, renunciation, relinquishment, release, & letting go of that very craving: This, friend Visakha, is the cessation of self-identification described by the Blessed One."

<edit - 3rd Noble Truth>

"'The way of practice leading to the cessation of self-identification, the way of practice leading to the cessation of self-identification,' it is said, lady. Which way of practice leading to the cessation of self-identification is described by the Blessed One?"

<edit - 4th Noble Truth>

"Precisely this noble eightfold path — right view, right resolve, right speech, right action, right livelihood, right effort, right mindfulness, right concentration: This, friend Visakha, is the way of practice leading to the cessation of self-identification described by the Blessed One."


http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html

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Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby clw_uk » Mon Apr 27, 2009 10:57 pm

Hey Mike

As Pink says, it might be better to "not know" rather than have particular views.


I agree, i dont deny rebirth, all im saying is that is a speculative, unknown view and that actually having such a view has nothing to do with practicing the Buddhas noble teachings


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Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby tiltbillings » Thu Apr 30, 2009 4:52 am

Craig: i dont deny rebirth, all im saying is that is a speculative, unknown view and that actually having such a view has nothing to do with practicing the Buddhas noble teachings.


Except, kamma and paticcasamuppada are “speculative” until one, through one's own efforts gains insight into them. Knowledge of rebirth is open to personal verification just as is anicca, dukkha, anatta, and it can be a way of gaining insight into anicca, dukkha, anatta, paticcasamuppada, as the Buddha’s awakening (as well as others) suttas show.

To claim that rebirth has nothing to do with “practicing the Buddha’s noble teachings,” is to claim a serious lack of textual knowledge, and even more so, as you repeatedly do here, it is to completely ignore any evidence that contradicts your position.

I gave the very famous turtle discourse which directly ties rebirth to the Four Noble Truths:
I quote:
This precious human birth

"Monks, suppose that this great earth were totally covered with water, and a man were to toss a yoke with a single hole there. A wind from the east would push it west, a wind from the west would push it east. A wind from the north would push it south, a wind from the south would push it north. And suppose a blind sea-turtle were there. It would come to the surface once every one hundred years. Now what do you think: would that blind sea-turtle, coming to the surface once every one hundred years, stick his neck into the yoke with a single hole?"

"It would be a sheer coincidence, lord, that the blind sea-turtle, coming to the surface once every one hundred years, would stick his neck into the yoke with a single hole."

"It's likewise a sheer coincidence that one obtains the human state. It's likewise a sheer coincidence that a Tathagata, worthy & rightly self-awakened, arises in the world. It's likewise a sheer coincidence that a doctrine & discipline expounded by a Tathagata appears in the world. Now, this human state has been obtained. A Tathagata, worthy & rightly self-awakened, has arisen in the world. A doctrine & discipline expounded by a Tathagata appears in the world.

"Therefore your duty is the contemplation: 'This is stress...This is the origination of stress...This is the cessation of stress...This is the path of practice leading to the cessation of stress.'" — SN 56.48


Craig responds: How often does a "person" endulge in basic desires like a common animal? How many times does a person live in hate and anger and depression like a hell being? How many times is a person lead by pure greed like a hungry shade never being satisfied?

No one is denying the “moment-to-moment” interpretation of paticcasamuppada, but your “answer” here is not really an answer; it does not address the text at all. You have given us no reason to look at this text as figurative.

The problem with your style of argument is that nothing can count against your position. You either do a two-step-side-step dance, avoiding actually addressing the text in question, as you did with the turtle discourse, or you simply ignore what is said, as you did with AN 4.1 I quoted above, which neatly ties rebirth into the practice leading to awakening the Buddha taught.

Me: “The Mahanidana Sutta, DN 15, is a major, doctrinally complicated discourse by the Buddha to his monk (not lay people) on the subject of paticcasamuppada. In it is this passage, which is quite direct, not a figurative moment-to-moment thing that Craig repeatedly states is the fact of paticcasamupadda:”


Craig: It is an interesting sutta but i think its worth noting that it does stick out as different from other discourses that discuss paticcasamuppada, the use of the word "rebirth" for example instead of Jati

It is different in other ways as well, for example in MN38 it states that paticcasamuppada doesnt occur until after birth, when the human is at a certain age


What is worth noting is your inability to actually deal with an important, large text that places rebirth right in the middle of the paticcasamuppada chain. As for jati, you have ignored what others have said to you about this, offering no real reason that jati must always be taken in a figurative manner, as your position suggests. There is no reason to do so.

You quote a section from MN 38 and state: As we see in this sutta, paticcasamuppada starts after physical birth, when the human is a certain age (the text doesnt state but i go for early/middle childhood) and also, its occurence in present moment.

The problem with your taking a text like this without consideration of the broader context of other texts is that you simply and obviously distort the Buddha’s teachings, as you have been doing.

“Early/middle childhood?” These texts do not exist as stand alone entities. Since you are the text master here, tell us what the Buddha had to say about babies.

Also, let us not forget that even if this text is descriptive of what is literally true, as you suggest, it still does not negate paticcasamuppada as an ongoing principle of the functioning of the child as it grows, even before it kicks in the way you seem to think it does.

“These are the Four Noble Truths" - that is the Dhamma taught by me, which is unrefuted, untarnished, unblamed and uncensured by intelligent ascetics and brahmins. . . . Now, on account of what was it said that the Four Noble Truths are the Dhamma taught by me? Based on the six elements there is descent into the womb." Such descent taking place, there is name-and-form." With name-and-form as condition there are the six sense bases; with the six sense bases as condition there is contact; with contact as condition there is feeling. Now it is for one who feels that I make known, "This is suffering", "this is the origin of suffering", "This is the cessation of suffering", "This is the way leading to the cessation of suffering". - AN 3 61.


Again, decent into the womb, rebirth, or more accurately, reconception. “Decent into the womb” is certainly less amenable to a figurative reading than jati supposedly is, but even if one squirms around enough to give this a figurative reading, there is also no reason that it cannot be taken as literal. The literal reading is no less true than the “moment-to-moment,” and it often requires far less pretzelization of logic for it to make sense. This is not an either-or situation. So, with AN 3 61 we have rebirth tied directly to the Four Noble truths and paticcasamuppada.

Craig: There is no rebirth in MN26

The relevant passage:
"So I [the Buddha], monks being liable to birth because of self, having known the perils in what is liable to birth, seeking freedom from birth, the uttermost security from the bonds -- nibbana -- won freedom from birth [ajata], the uttermost security from the bonds -- nibbana...."

...

"Then the group of five monks, being thus exhorted, this instructed by me
[the Buddha], being liable to birth because of self, having known the perils in what is liable to birth, seeking freedom from birth, the
uttermost security from the bonds -- nibbana [nirvana] -- won freedom from birth [ajata], the uttermost security from the bonds -- nibbana...."
Majjhima Nikaya I 167 and 173.

Let’s see here. If I have not attainted nibbana, after I die, I’ll be reborn, which means I am, as an unawakened person, still liable to birth. Looks like the text is very directly referring to rebirth.

Craig: His own teachings of the 4NT (and so D.O.), which i have already described, have no rebirth in them

As we see, this claim has been shown to be simply wrong.
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond.
SN I, 38.

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Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby christopher::: » Thu Apr 30, 2009 5:44 am

I don't usually join theses endless rebirth debates.

The reason is that it seems to be a matter of personal belief. You can find support in ancient teachings but at the end of the day it comes down to what "makes sense" for you. It's a personal matter. Like a born-again Christian saying we will be left behind during the rapture, that we need to accept Jesus as our personal savior, metaphysics involves faith, and belief in what is unseen and unproven (in the scientific sense).

I see no utility in arguing this with anyone. People believe different things, it just feels right, or it doesn't.

That said, I do believe in rebirth. Not because of what ancient texts (passed on orally, translated into different languages) present as the "words of the Buddha" 2,500 years ago. I believe it cause it just makes sense to me on a deep level, feels right, feels true.

:heart:
"As Buddhists, we should aim to develop relationships that are not predominated by grasping and clinging. Our relationships should be characterised by the brahmaviharas of metta (loving kindness), mudita (sympathetic joy), karuna (compassion), and upekkha (equanimity)."
~post by Ben, Jul 02, 2009
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Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby tiltbillings » Thu Apr 30, 2009 5:49 am

christopher::: wrote:I don't usually join theses endless rebirth debates.

The reason is that it seems to be a matter of personal belief.
Of course, but the issue here for me is not if rebirth is in fact true, but what is its position within the Buddha's teachings. Do we take a anachronistic revisionist stance as Craig wants us to assume is THE way to understand things, or do we take the texts at more or less face value. What we do after that is a matter of personal choice.
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: the great rebirth debate

Postby pink_trike » Thu Apr 30, 2009 5:55 am

tiltbillings wrote:
christopher::: wrote:I don't usually join theses endless rebirth debates.
Do we take a anachronistic revisionist stance as Craig wants us to assume is THE way to understand things, or do we take the texts at more or less face value.

What we do after that is a matter of personal choice.


Is it really limited to those two choices? Can we really not just say "I don't know" and leave it at that, no matter what our persistent preference is?

Aren't they both simply personal choices?
Vision is Mind
Mind is Empty
Emptiness is Clear Light
Clear Light is Union
Union is Great Bliss

- Dawa Gyaltsen

---

Disclaimer: I'm a non-religious practitioner of Theravada, Mahayana/Vajrayana, and Tibetan Bon Dzogchen mind-training.
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Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby tiltbillings » Thu Apr 30, 2009 6:03 am

pink_trike wrote:
tiltbillings wrote:
christopher::: wrote:I don't usually join theses endless rebirth debates.
Do we take a anachronistic revisionist stance as Craig wants us to assume is THE way to understand things, or do we take the texts at more or less face value.

What we do after that is a matter of personal choice.


Is it really limited to those two choices? Can we really not just say "I don't know" and leave it at that, no matter what our persistent preference is?

Aren't they both simply personal choices?



I do not know what the tradition says, or I don't know if rebirth is true?

The Theravadin traditions says there is rebirth, and certainly this is borne out by the texts upon which it is based.

Is rebirth the way the universe actually operates? How one relates to that is certainly a personal issue.
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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