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Sorry...What's the difference? (Reincarnation Vs Rebirth) - Dhamma Wheel

Sorry...What's the difference? (Reincarnation Vs Rebirth)

A forum for beginners and members of other Buddhist traditions to ask questions about Theravāda (The Way of the Elders). Responses require moderator approval before they are visible.
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Fede
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Sorry...What's the difference? (Reincarnation Vs Rebirth)

Postby Fede » Tue Jan 13, 2009 12:10 am

There is already a long thread on Rebirth going on, so it is not appropriate that I potentially divert that thread with my question.
It may indeed already have been explored, but it's a long thread, and I'm having difficulty following it with the best will in the world, so I'm asking here, instead.

I once posited (on another forum) that although Buddhists do not ascribe to a concept of Reincrnation, as a fundamental Buddhist premise, some schools, such as Tibetan schools, consider Reincarnation to be a valid concept with regard to Lamas being re-born as quasi-recognisable manifestations of their former selves, as tulkus.
These are obviously not exact reincarnations, because the Tulkus are individuals in their own right, but that these tulkus are considered reincarnations of previous living Lamas.

re-birth is quite different......

well, I got slapped down for that, as being guilty of propagating misleading and inaccurate information gleaned from a dubious website. Well in my ignorance of Tibetan Buddhism, it looked perfectly bona fide to me.....

So, if I am wrong, then what IS the difference between re-birth and reincarnation?
is Tibetan Buddhism the only school or tradition that ascribes to this?

Any comments observations and opinions would be most welcome!
Last edited by retrofuturist on Tue Jan 13, 2009 12:56 am, edited 1 time in total.
Reason: Added bracketed section to title for clarity
"Samsara: The human condition's heartbreaking inability to sustain contentment." Elizabeth Gilbert, 'Eat, Pray, Love'.

Simplify: 17 into 1 WILL go: Mindfulness!

Quieta movere magna merces videbatur. (Sallust, c.86-c.35 BC)
Translation: Just to stir things up seemed a good reward in itself. ;)

I am sooooo happy - How on earth could I be otherwise?! :D


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Re: Sorry...What's the difference? (Reincarnation Vs Rebirth)

Postby Ben » Tue Jan 13, 2009 1:00 am

Hi Fede
I'm just going to move this thread into the Discovering Theravada forum as I am sure it will be of interest to many who are coming to Buddhism for the first time, as well as those who are well established on the path.
Metta

Ben
“No lists of things to be done. The day providential to itself. The hour. There is no later. This is later. All things of grace and beauty such that one holds them to one's heart have a common provenance in pain. Their birth in grief and ashes.”
- Cormac McCarthy, The Road

Learn this from the waters:
in mountain clefts and chasms,
loud gush the streamlets,
but great rivers flow silently.
- Sutta Nipata 3.725

(Buddhist aid in Myanmar) • •

e: [email protected]..

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Re: Sorry...What's the difference? (Reincarnation Vs Rebirth)

Postby jcsuperstar » Tue Jan 13, 2009 5:08 am

some people will say, nothing, others ,myself included, will say reincarnation requires a soul, an unchanging permanent one at that, that re-incarnates into different bodies, but it is always the same soul/person/atman etc. this would go against the buddhist teaching of anatta and anicca
Last edited by jcsuperstar on Tue Jan 13, 2009 5:22 am, edited 1 time in total.
สัพเพ สัตตา สุขีตา โหนตุ

the mountain may be heavy in and of itself, but if you're not trying to carry it it's not heavy to you- Ajaan Suwat

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Re: Sorry...What's the difference? (Reincarnation Vs Rebirth)

Postby Placid-pool » Tue Jan 13, 2009 5:09 am

Thank you for asking that Fédé .......... I was too shy :oops:

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Re: Sorry...What's the difference? (Reincarnation Vs Rebirth)

Postby retrofuturist » Tue Jan 13, 2009 5:28 am

Greetings Fede,

A few things to keep in mind...

1. Both the words "reincarnation" and "rebirth" are English words, and we should therefore not be surprised if they don't align perfectly with their Pali equivalents. I would recommend learning the Pali words being used in the texts, and working out for yourself (with the guidance of dictionaries, wise others etc.) how they should be understood, and in what circumstances.

2. In Buddhism there is no "transmigration of the soul/atman", whereas in Hinduism and other religions influenced by Hinduism, there is.

3. In general Buddhist parlance, rebirth is preferred to reincarnation, because it has less of a soul/atman feel... however, the fact remains that literally speaking there is actually nothing to "re" in light of Buddhist doctrines such as idappaccayata, anatta and anicca. Therefore, in other places I've argued that "post-mortem continuance" is actually a more accurate phrase.

4. The derivation of the word "reincarnation" means something along the lines of "embodied in flesh", and this implies some kind of soul to be embodied thusly.

Metta,
Retro. :)
"Do not force others, including children, by any means whatsoever, to adopt your views, whether by authority, threat, money, propaganda, or even education." - Ven. Thich Nhat Hanh

"The uprooting of identity is seen by the noble ones as pleasurable; but this contradicts what the whole world sees." (Snp 3.12)

"To argue with a person who has renounced the use of reason is like administering medicine to the dead" - Thomas Paine

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Re: Sorry...What's the difference? (Reincarnation Vs Rebirth)

Postby Individual » Tue Jan 13, 2009 5:35 am

The best things in life aren't things.


Element

Re: Sorry...What's the difference? (Reincarnation Vs Rebirth)

Postby Element » Tue Jan 13, 2009 6:57 am

Last edited by Element on Tue Jan 13, 2009 7:16 am, edited 1 time in total.

Element

Re: Sorry...What's the difference? (Reincarnation Vs Rebirth)

Postby Element » Tue Jan 13, 2009 7:08 am

Thus reincarnation looks as follows:

Image

Where as rebirth looks as follows, born into various realms of experience due to our actions:

Image
Last edited by Element on Tue Jan 13, 2009 7:17 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Sorry...What's the difference? (Reincarnation Vs Rebirth)

Postby Ben » Tue Jan 13, 2009 7:13 am

Thanks Element

Or reborn into various lokas that correspond to different cittas.
-- According to Bhikkhu Bodhi.
Metta

Ben
“No lists of things to be done. The day providential to itself. The hour. There is no later. This is later. All things of grace and beauty such that one holds them to one's heart have a common provenance in pain. Their birth in grief and ashes.”
- Cormac McCarthy, The Road

Learn this from the waters:
in mountain clefts and chasms,
loud gush the streamlets,
but great rivers flow silently.
- Sutta Nipata 3.725

(Buddhist aid in Myanmar) • •

e: [email protected]..

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Re: Sorry...What's the difference? (Reincarnation Vs Rebirth)

Postby Fede » Tue Jan 13, 2009 7:38 am

Thank you all, (and thank you Ben for moving the topic to a more suitable location.....)

This helps clarify matters extraordinarily well.

So, saying that Buddhism does not ascribe to the notion of reincarnation, is actually not factually accurate.
it would be better to say that Theravada Buddhism does not ascribe to the process of reincarnation, although other schools, chiefly in the Mahayana traditions, do.....

I'm not aiming to start an inter-tradition flame war here. I'm merely attempting to clarify the positions of the different schools.
I'd be interested to hear from anyone who could perhaps clarify how Mahayana Buddhists manage to reconcile the notion of Reincarnation with anatta and anicca.

It's an interesting topic for discussion, and I'd like to learn more. Perhaps it would be of interest to new members too, but if Moderators feel this is not suitable, please feel free to edit, delete or close......

:namaste:
"Samsara: The human condition's heartbreaking inability to sustain contentment." Elizabeth Gilbert, 'Eat, Pray, Love'.

Simplify: 17 into 1 WILL go: Mindfulness!

Quieta movere magna merces videbatur. (Sallust, c.86-c.35 BC)
Translation: Just to stir things up seemed a good reward in itself. ;)

I am sooooo happy - How on earth could I be otherwise?! :D


http://www.armchairadvice.co.uk/relationships/forum/

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Re: Sorry...What's the difference? (Reincarnation Vs Rebirth)

Postby jcsuperstar » Tue Jan 13, 2009 8:00 am

its only tibetan buddhism, not mahayana in general that has this reincarnation system
สัพเพ สัตตา สุขีตา โหนตุ

the mountain may be heavy in and of itself, but if you're not trying to carry it it's not heavy to you- Ajaan Suwat

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Re: Sorry...What's the difference? (Reincarnation Vs Rebirth)

Postby stuka » Tue Jan 13, 2009 8:04 am


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Re: Sorry...What's the difference? (Reincarnation Vs Rebirth)

Postby stuka » Tue Jan 13, 2009 8:26 am


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Re: Sorry...What's the difference? (Reincarnation Vs Rebirth)

Postby jcsuperstar » Tue Jan 13, 2009 8:52 am

Last edited by jcsuperstar on Tue Jan 13, 2009 10:57 am, edited 1 time in total.
สัพเพ สัตตา สุขีตา โหนตุ

the mountain may be heavy in and of itself, but if you're not trying to carry it it's not heavy to you- Ajaan Suwat

Element

Re: Sorry...What's the difference? (Reincarnation Vs Rebirth)

Postby Element » Tue Jan 13, 2009 8:57 am


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Re: Sorry...What's the difference? (Reincarnation Vs Rebirth)

Postby retrofuturist » Tue Jan 13, 2009 10:16 am

Greetings Element,

Be that as it may, on discussion forums, such discussions are hard to avoid. Things will be read about "rebirth" and "reincarnation"... therefore it's best that people can learn how to approach these concepts in a way that does not lead them to think that the Buddha taught eternalism.

Metta,
Retro. :)
"Do not force others, including children, by any means whatsoever, to adopt your views, whether by authority, threat, money, propaganda, or even education." - Ven. Thich Nhat Hanh

"The uprooting of identity is seen by the noble ones as pleasurable; but this contradicts what the whole world sees." (Snp 3.12)

"To argue with a person who has renounced the use of reason is like administering medicine to the dead" - Thomas Paine

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Re: Sorry...What's the difference? (Reincarnation Vs Rebirth)

Postby Ben » Tue Jan 13, 2009 10:23 am

Hi Element

It was my judgment call based on my observation that a lot of people new to Buddhism and new to the Theravada want to have this question clarified. I was concerned that if the thread remained in the conflagration of the 'Dhamma free-for-all', the answer would be less clear and the debate more of a distraction than if the thread was moved to 'Discovering Theravada'.
Thanks for your feedback.
Kind regards

Ben
“No lists of things to be done. The day providential to itself. The hour. There is no later. This is later. All things of grace and beauty such that one holds them to one's heart have a common provenance in pain. Their birth in grief and ashes.”
- Cormac McCarthy, The Road

Learn this from the waters:
in mountain clefts and chasms,
loud gush the streamlets,
but great rivers flow silently.
- Sutta Nipata 3.725

(Buddhist aid in Myanmar) • •

e: [email protected]..

pererin

Re: Sorry...What's the difference? (Reincarnation Vs Rebirth)

Postby pererin » Tue Jan 13, 2009 10:48 am


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Re: Sorry...What's the difference? (Reincarnation Vs Rebirth)

Postby Fede » Tue Jan 13, 2009 11:31 am

I think I have always been a beginner, of sorts.
I think I shall always be a beginner of sorts.


I would still like to know how Tibetan Buddhists (if we are therefore speaking about this specific tradition being the only one to consider re-incarnation as a premise) reconcile the notion of Reincarnation AND re-birth, within their practice.

Is Reincarnation recognised as a process purely and simply confined to realised individuals, as Lamas?

And how is it possible (in view of anatta and anicca)?

Thank you all kindly for your input.

At one point or another, surely, my reasoning will suggest to me I 'put this aside' as immaterial to my practice.
Until I know that it is most certainly immaterial, I am still curious....

This helps me trremendously.

:namaste:
"Samsara: The human condition's heartbreaking inability to sustain contentment." Elizabeth Gilbert, 'Eat, Pray, Love'.

Simplify: 17 into 1 WILL go: Mindfulness!

Quieta movere magna merces videbatur. (Sallust, c.86-c.35 BC)
Translation: Just to stir things up seemed a good reward in itself. ;)

I am sooooo happy - How on earth could I be otherwise?! :D


http://www.armchairadvice.co.uk/relationships/forum/

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Re: Sorry...What's the difference? (Reincarnation Vs Rebirth)

Postby jcsuperstar » Tue Jan 13, 2009 11:40 am

i think bodhisattvas get to break the rules after a certain point or something....

i could never get all the different levels of bodhisattvas... it always just seemed like it was being made up as the person went long ... "a 10th level bodhisattva can do this but not this as thats reserved for 14th level bodhisattvas and up, but once youre a 48th level bodhisattva....."
its just confusing
สัพเพ สัตตา สุขีตา โหนตุ

the mountain may be heavy in and of itself, but if you're not trying to carry it it's not heavy to you- Ajaan Suwat


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