the great rebirth debate

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hermitwin
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Re: Scientific Proof of Reincarnation?

Postby hermitwin » Fri Feb 17, 2012 4:57 am

I think there is some confusion on your part.
There is physical science and non-physical science.
In physical science, yes, you must be able to reproduce the results eg water boil at 100 deg celcius.
But in non-physical science, you draw your conclusion based on objective observation
and data. You dont try to reproduce the results. Eg we know about victims of violent crimes who suffer from PTSD. That is also a scientific conclusion. You cant possibly
ask the scientists to reproduce the results of his conclusions.


Justsit wrote:Every time a discussion of "proof of reincarnation" appears, Dr. Stevenson's work is dragged out again.

As the article states, "Stevenson never claimed that he had proved the existence of reincarnation..."

In addition, science requires reproducible results to prove a theory; one set of results proves nothing. No reproducible results = no proof.

Full stop.

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daverupa
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Re: Scientific Proof of Reincarnation?

Postby daverupa » Fri Feb 17, 2012 11:29 am

hermitwin wrote:But in non-physical science, you draw your conclusion based on objective observation
and data. You dont try to reproduce the results. Eg we know about victims of violent crimes who suffer from PTSD. That is also a scientific conclusion. You cant possibly
ask the scientists to reproduce the results of his conclusions.


For reference: research methods in the social sciences
    "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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ancientbuddhism
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Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby ancientbuddhism » Fri Feb 17, 2012 2:25 pm

daverupa wrote:
hermitwin wrote:But in non-physical science, you draw your conclusion based on objective observation
and data. You dont try to reproduce the results. Eg we know about victims of violent crimes who suffer from PTSD. That is also a scientific conclusion. You cant possibly
ask the scientists to reproduce the results of his conclusions.


For reference: research methods in the social sciences


    Methodological assumptions
    Social research is based on logic and empirical observations. Charles C. Ragin writes in his Constructing Social Research book that "Social research involved the interaction between ideas and evidence. Ideas help social researchers make sense of evidence, and researchers use evidence to extend, revise and test ideas".

Which is just a fancypants way of saying ‘we make it up as we go’.

Even still, this method would work with PTSD because the evidences are well within the range of the person’s experience of events in the present continuum of life. It is entirely another matter to take supposed past life memories and then stack the research to find an arbitrary correlation to past events.

Stevenson basing a theory of rebirth on a survey of Asian culture is like proving the existence of God based on survey of the Baptist Church.
Anuvicca papañca nāmarūpaṃ
ajjhattaṃ bahiddhā ca rogamūlaṃ,
sabbarogamūlabandhanā pamutto
anuvidito tādi pavuccate tathattā
.

“Having known the naming of objects,
With its proliferation, its root in illness – within and without;
One is released from bondage to the root of all illness.
And thus is called the Knowing One – the Such.

– Sn. 3.6 (Sabhiyasuttaṃ)

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

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hermitwin
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Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby hermitwin » Fri Feb 17, 2012 4:11 pm

I think this "Which is just a fancypants way of saying ‘we make it up as we go’." is just
a fancypants way of saying you dont know what the heck you are talking about.

ancientbuddhism wrote:
daverupa wrote:
hermitwin wrote:But in non-physical science, you draw your conclusion based on objective observation
and data. You dont try to reproduce the results. Eg we know about victims of violent crimes who suffer from PTSD. That is also a scientific conclusion. You cant possibly
ask the scientists to reproduce the results of his conclusions.


For reference: research methods in the social sciences


    Methodological assumptions
    Social research is based on logic and empirical observations. Charles C. Ragin writes in his Constructing Social Research book that "Social research involved the interaction between ideas and evidence. Ideas help social researchers make sense of evidence, and researchers use evidence to extend, revise and test ideas".

Which is just a fancypants way of saying ‘we make it up as we go’.

Even still, this method would work with PTSD because the evidences are well within the range of the person’s experience of events in the present continuum of life. It is entirely another matter to take supposed past life memories and then stack the research to find an arbitrary correlation to past events.

Stevenson basing a theory of rebirth on a survey of Asian culture is like proving the existence of God based on survey of the Baptist Church.

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LonesomeYogurt
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Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby LonesomeYogurt » Sun Feb 26, 2012 7:53 pm

Far too much of this debate, at least in my humble opinion, is focused on evidence for rebirth instead of a logical basis for rebirth. Einstein had very little "look, there it is" evidence for relativity when he first devised it, but he knew that it was the only logical assumption to make based on the properties he was observing. Quantum physics was the same way. Scientists didn't stumble upon some kind of trail left by quantum physics that they followed until they found it; instead, they looked at the holes in their own understanding of nature and realized that a new paradigm was the best solution to logically filling those holes.

In the same way, I am a firm believer in rebirth because I think it makes the most sense when we consider the model of the mind that Buddhism allows us to observe empirically. When we see the lack of a "self" figure and the impermanent maelstrom of causes and results that make up the observable mind, the model of "it's all just a result of physical processes in a self-contained organic generator" makes no sense. The Hard Problem of Consciousness has been around for quite some time and materialists are no closer to solving it than they were when Descartes first proposed Cartesian duality hundreds of years ago. Once you accept the empirical observation that the mind is of a different ontological essence than the body, and once you view that through the (verifiable) framework of the Buddhist view of mind, rebirth is the only option that makes sense. To attempt to rule the mind strictly material is essentially a reversed solipsism; just like they made the leap that all things were simply mind, even when matter showed itself through observation to behave differently enough to warrant distinction, materialists do the same by relegating all things to matter even when consciousness behaves as differently from matter as essentially possible.

Again, this is all my humble opinion and I don't mean to disparage those who disagree with me! I'm sure there are much more spiritually and intellectually advanced thinkers on both sides =]
Gain and loss, status and disgrace,
censure and praise, pleasure and pain:
these conditions among human beings are inconstant,
impermanent, subject to change.

Knowing this, the wise person, mindful,
ponders these changing conditions.
Desirable things don’t charm the mind,
undesirable ones bring no resistance.

His welcoming and rebelling are scattered,
gone to their end,
do not exist.
- Lokavipatti Sutta

Stuff I write about things.

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Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby mikenz66 » Tue Mar 13, 2012 8:24 am

A new booklet:

The Truth of Rebirth And Why it Matters for Buddhist Practice
by Thanissaro Bhikkhu


http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/auth ... birth.html
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/auth ... ebirth.pdf


The final chapter goes over various arguments:
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/auth ... ml#ironies
8. Modern Ironies

People who hold to a modern materialist view of the world and the self tend to react to these canonical descriptions of what is known in awakening by offering three main reasons for resisting them.

The first is that these descriptions, in their eyes, go beyond what a human being could possibly know. Sometimes this argument is supported by the claim that the Canon's descriptions violate the Buddha's own criteria, stated elsewhere in the discourses, for what can and cannot be known. The passage most commonly cited in this argument is this:

"What is the all? Simply the eye & forms, ear & sounds, nose & aromas, tongue & flavors, body & tactile sensations, intellect & ideas. This, monks, is termed the all. Anyone who would say, 'Repudiating this all, I will describe another,' if questioned on what exactly might be the grounds for his statement, would be unable to explain, and furthermore, would be put to grief. Why? Because it lies beyond range."
— SN 35.23
...

A second modern argument against accepting the canonical accounts of what's known in awakening — and in particular, the knowledge of rebirth achieved in awakening — is that one can still obtain all the results of the practice without having to accept the possibility of rebirth. After all, all the factors leading to suffering are all immediately present to awareness, so there should be no need, when trying to abandon them, to accept any premises about where they may or may not lead in the future.
...

A third argument against accepting the knowledge of rebirth as a necessary part of awakening is that many modern people who claim to have experienced the levels of awakening described in the Canon gained no knowledge of rebirth or of the end of rebirth as part of those experiences. The fact that people in the Buddha's time claimed to gain this sort of knowledge in the course of their awakening can thus be written off as a cultural artifact: They were primed to see it because of their cultural background, and so it wasn't really an essential part of the experience.
...

:anjali:
Mike

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kirk5a
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Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby kirk5a » Tue Mar 13, 2012 1:13 pm

The irony in all three of these arguments against the teaching on rebirth is that the people who make them all assume that the Buddha was incapable of questioning the views of his time, and yet the fact is that they themselves are unwilling to accept the Buddha's challenge to step back and question their own.
"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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daverupa
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Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby daverupa » Tue Mar 13, 2012 2:14 pm

Ven. Thanissaro's first point requires that 'the all' of the six sense spheres is an incomplete description of possible experience ("So there's nothing in the Pali discourses to indicate that the Buddha would have agreed with a modern materialist view that experience is limited to the six senses") in order to allow for his understanding that consciousness can exist in a separate dimension beyond 'the all', but this is directly refutable since the Buddha declares that any consciousness is defined according to the concomitant sense activity, the condition for contact - there can be no consciousness that isn't consciousness of one of the six sense spheres, however one might try to describe such a dimension. (Also, a six-sense epistemology is not at all the same thing as "modern materialism", yet these are inappropriately equated.) Nibbana is a lack of certain functions, not an infinite function in a mystical dimension.

The second point suggests that to not believe in rebirth is to "remain entangled in the questions of inappropriate attention, which will prevent you from actually identifying and abandoning the causes of suffering and achieving the full results of the practice." Yet MN 2 describes how inappropriate attention involves "Was I in the past", "How was I in the past", "Will I be in the future", "How will I be in the future", which seems to be where talk of rebirth invariably ends up. This argument runs afoul of its own criticism.

The third argument involves the idea that "if one's experience of awakening doesn't match the descriptions in the Canon, one would do well to examine one's motivation for wanting to claim a canonical label for that experience." While thinking of the Canon as a homogenous bulwark of authority is par for the course vis-a-vis the Theravada, it's rather naive - even thinking of the four main Nikayas in this way is inaccurate; indeed, differences in which texts are taken as authoritative is reflected in the great jhana debate as well. It's certainly a much more complex textual environment, as a recent post in the Early Buddhism Resources thread sums up.

:shrug:

:soap:
    "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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Aloka
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Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby Aloka » Tue Mar 13, 2012 2:32 pm

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Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby Aloka » Tue Mar 13, 2012 3:06 pm

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Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby Buckwheat » Tue Mar 13, 2012 3:20 pm

daverupa wrote:Ven. Thanissaro's first point requires that 'the all' of the six sense spheres is an incomplete description of possible experience ("So there's nothing in the Pali discourses to indicate that the Buddha would have agreed with a modern materialist view that experience is limited to the six senses") in order to allow for his understanding that consciousness can exist in a separate dimension beyond 'the all', but this is directly refutable since the Buddha declares that any consciousness is defined according to the concomitant sense activity, the condition for contact - there can be no consciousness that isn't consciousness of one of the six sense spheres, however one might try to describe such a dimension. (Also, a six-sense epistemology is not at all the same thing as "modern materialism", yet these are inappropriately equated.) Nibbana is a lack of certain functions, not an infinite function in a mystical dimension.


Also in "Truth of Rebirth" is a chapter showing that the Buddha never limited experience to the six sense spheres. What was limited to those spheres is objective descriptions. There is a passage that clearly states there is consciousness without surface (does not rely on the six sense spheres) and I have still yet to see anybody offer an alternative explaination for that passage. Most arguments against rebirth do indeed amount to materialism or annihilationism - a form of wrong view that I subscribe to as well.

daverupa wrote:The second point suggests that to not believe in rebirth is to "remain entangled in the questions of inappropriate attention, which will prevent you from actually identifying and abandoning the causes of suffering and achieving the full results of the practice." Yet MN 2 describes how inappropriate attention involves "Was I in the past", "How was I in the past", "Will I be in the future", "How will I be in the future", which seems to be where talk of rebirth invariably ends up. This argument runs afoul of its own criticism.


Ajahn Thanissaro is not recommending we spend our attention pondering our past and future lives, but only to recognize the process - the power of past kamma in this lifetime and the power of our current actions on future lifetimes. It is supposed to result in samvegga (disgust) at the foolishness of our previous modes of operating and lead to a powerful desire for liberation. Also, we are to see that even if we "get away with" pursuing a passion for a while, it will eventually catch up with us. This would lead to determined restraint of passion and aversion so that we do not incur the consequences of foolish actions in the future.

daverupa wrote:The third argument involves the idea that "if one's experience of awakening doesn't match the descriptions in the Canon, one would do well to examine one's motivation for wanting to claim a canonical label for that experience." While thinking of the Canon as a homogenous bulwark of authority is par for the course vis-a-vis the Theravada, it's rather naive - even thinking of the four main Nikayas in this way is inaccurate; indeed, differences in which texts are taken as authoritative is reflected in the great jhana debate as well. It's certainly a much more complex textual environment, as a recent post in the Early Buddhism Resources thread sums up.


Do you deny that the canon commonly defines the attainments in terms of how many more rebirths will follow? 3-7 returner (stream entry), once returner, non-returner, fully liberated from rebirth.... these are the basic definitions of levels of awakening and they are heavily rooted in rebirth in all the canonical passages that I know of.

I do not believe in rebirth, but I am starting to recognize that position is not supported in the canon. I do see that the Buddha allowed for people like me to use understanding of Karma to be respectable individuals, but that the Buddhist path for total awakening and liberation requires faith in the process of rebirth.
Sotthī hontu nirantaraṃ - May you forever be well.

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Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby ancientbuddhism » Tue Mar 13, 2012 3:21 pm

daverupa wrote:Ven. Thanissaro's first point requires that 'the all' of the six sense spheres is an incomplete description of possible experience ("So there's nothing in the Pali discourses to indicate that the Buddha would have agreed with a modern materialist view that experience is limited to the six senses") in order to allow for his understanding that consciousness can exist in a separate dimension beyond 'the all', but this is directly refutable since the Buddha declares that any consciousness is defined according to the concomitant sense activity, the condition for contact - there can be no consciousness that isn't consciousness of one of the six sense spheres, however one might try to describe such a dimension. (Also, a six-sense epistemology is not at all the same thing as "modern materialism", yet these are inappropriately equated.) Nibbana is a lack of certain functions, not an infinite function in a mystical dimension.

The second point suggests that to not believe in rebirth is to "remain entangled in the questions of inappropriate attention, which will prevent you from actually identifying and abandoning the causes of suffering and achieving the full results of the practice." Yet MN 2 describes how inappropriate attention involves "Was I in the past", "How was I in the past", "Will I be in the future", "How will I be in the future", which seems to be where talk of rebirth invariably ends up. This argument runs afoul of its own criticism.

The third argument involves the idea that "if one's experience of awakening doesn't match the descriptions in the Canon, one would do well to examine one's motivation for wanting to claim a canonical label for that experience." While thinking of the Canon as a homogenous bulwark of authority is par for the course vis-a-vis the Theravada, it's rather naive - even thinking of the four main Nikayas in this way is inaccurate; indeed, differences in which texts are taken as authoritative is reflected in the great jhana debate as well. It's certainly a much more complex textual environment, as a recent post in the Early Buddhism Resources thread sums up.

:shrug:

:soap:


Well said!
Anuvicca papañca nāmarūpaṃ
ajjhattaṃ bahiddhā ca rogamūlaṃ,
sabbarogamūlabandhanā pamutto
anuvidito tādi pavuccate tathattā
.

“Having known the naming of objects,
With its proliferation, its root in illness – within and without;
One is released from bondage to the root of all illness.
And thus is called the Knowing One – the Such.

– Sn. 3.6 (Sabhiyasuttaṃ)

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

A Handful of Leaves

Buckwheat
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Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby Buckwheat » Tue Mar 13, 2012 3:47 pm

Ajahn Thanissaro wrote:He (The Buddha) knew, however, that — until they had gained experience for themselves through the practice — his listeners could take his statements on the efficacy of action and the truth of rebirth only on faith. But faith, for him, was not an insistence that you knew what you couldn't really know, or that you accepted unreasonable ideas. It was an admission of ignorance about issues for which you don't have empirical proof, combined with a willingness to adopt the assumptions needed to follow a path to happiness that seems reasonably likely to offer results (MN 27).


Ajahn Thanissaro wrote:This is why simply stating, "I don't know," is not an adequate response to the questions of rebirth and the efficacy of karma. The attitude behind it may be honest on one level, but it's dishonest in thinking that this is all that needs to be said, for it ignores the fact that you have to make assumptions about the possible results of your actions every time you act.

It's like having money: Regardless of what you do with it — spending it, investing it, or just stashing it away — you're making an implicit wager on how to get the best use of it now and into the future. Your investment strategy can't stop with, "I don't know." If you have any wisdom at all, you have to consider future possibilities and take your chances with what seems to be the safest and most productive use of the resources you've got.

So it is with all of our actions. Given that we have to wager one way or another all the time on how to find happiness, the Buddha stated that it's a safer wager to assume that actions bear results that can affect not only this lifetime but also lifetimes after this than it is to assume the opposite.


Ajahn Thanissaro wrote:This dimension is characterized by a type of consciousness that lies outside of the range of the sensory consciousness involved in dependent co-arising and the realm of the six senses — a realm the Buddha calls the "all." Thus it's totally free from suffering.

MN-49 wrote:"'Consciousness without surface, endless, radiant all around, has not been experienced through the earthness of earth... the liquidity of liquid... the fieriness of fire... the windiness of wind... the allness of the all.'"


The canonical image for this sort of consciousness, totally independent of nutriment, is of a ray of light that doesn't land anywhere.

SN 12.64 wrote:"Just as if there were a roofed house or a roofed hall having windows on the north, the south, or the east. When the sun rises, and a ray has entered by way of the window, where does it land?"

"On the western wall, lord."

"And if there is no western wall, where does it land?"

"On the ground, lord."

"And if there is no ground, where does it land?"

"On the water, lord."

"And if there is no water, where does it land?"

"It does not land, lord."

"In the same way, where there is no passion for the nutriment of physical food... contact... intellectual intention... consciousness, where there is no delight, no craving, then consciousness does not land there or grow. Where consciousness does not land or grow, name-&-form does not alight. Where name-&-form does not alight, there is no growth of fabrications. Where there is no growth of fabrications, there is no production of renewed becoming in the future. Where there is no production of renewed becoming in the future, there is no future birth, aging, & death. That, I tell you, has no sorrow, affliction, or despair."


In line with his discussion of rebirth, the Buddha never offered a metaphysical explanation of what this consciousness is or how it might be. After all, it would be a mistake to justify the reality of the unconditioned with reference to the conditioned, as it's not dependent on any thing or any "how" in any way.

However, the Buddha did show how to get there: That's why his image for the practice is a path. A path to a mountain doesn't cause the mountain, but it does provide the opportunity for walking there. The path of practice doesn't cause the unconditioned, but it does provide the opening for attaining it.

The Canon, when describing a person's full awakening, never depicts the accompanying knowledge as touching on "what" or "how" this unconditioned consciousness is. Instead, the knowledge is said to begin with a realization of release from the asavas (fermentations, effluents) of sensuality, becoming, and ignorance (MN 19), along with the realization that that release is once and for all (MN 146). Then it proceeds to a realization of the future implications of that release (DN 29), starting with the fact that it has put an end to any future rebirth.

In the Buddha's own case, he expressed the knowledge like this:

SN 56.11 wrote:"Knowledge & vision arose in me: 'Unprovoked is my release. This is the last birth. There is now no further becoming.'"


The two most frequently used descriptions of the knowledge accompanying the attainment of arahantship make the same point like this:

SN 35.28 wrote:"With release, there is the knowledge, 'Released.' One discerns that 'Birth is ended, the holy life fulfilled, the task done. There is nothing further for the sake of this world.'"


AN 8.30 wrote:Dwelling alone — secluded, heedful, ardent, & resolute — Ven. Anuruddha in no long time reached & remained in the supreme goal of the holy life for which clansmen rightly go forth from home into homelessness, knowing & realizing it for himself in the here-&-now. He knew: "Birth is ended, the holy life fulfilled, the task done. There is nothing further for the sake of this world." And thus Ven. Anuruddha became another one of the arahants.


In other words, when the mind returns to the fabricated dimension after its total encounter with the unfabricated dimension and has realized its release, the realization that it's through with birth/rebirth — on both the macro and the micro levels — is the first thing that spontaneously occurs to it. This realization of the ending of birth leads to the further realization that all suffering has been ended as well.


Ajahn Thanissaro wrote:Some people might object that modern materialism is much more sophisticated now than it was in the time of the Buddha, and so it deserves a more serious hearing. But is that really the case? The questions that neurobiologists presently bring to issues of consciousness — "What is personal identity? What sort of thing is consciousness? How can consciousness be measured in material terms?" — are precisely the questions that the Buddha listed under inappropriate attention. Even though modern scientific experiments may be more sophisticated than Prince Payasi's experiments on criminals, the scientists who conduct them are just as wrong-headed in thinking that a phenomenological process — consciousness and mental events as experienced from within — can be captured and measured in physical terms. Although rebirth is often presented as an unscientific view, the material sciences actually have no way at all of proving the issue one way or the other.

As for the efficacy of human action, the scientific method can never prove whether the scientists applying it are actually exercising free will in designing their experiments. It also can't prove whether their actions in designing and running an experiment actually have an impact on the experiment's results. Scientific inquiry and peer review certainly act as if these assumptions are true — the idea of criticizing a poorly designed experiment would make no sense if scientists had no free will in designing their experiments. And if we can judge by appearances, the assumption of free will and the responsibilities it carries have been crucial in enabling scientific knowledge to advance. But the scientific method itself can't prove whether the appearance of free will and efficacious action is anything more than an appearance. And of course there's the irony that many scientists assume that the phenomena they observe operate under strict deterministic laws, while the method they employ assumes that they themselves are not driven by such laws in applying that method. This means that science is in no position to prove or disprove the Buddha's teachings on the range and powers of human action.

Finally, there's the whole question of how valid it is to divorce the Buddha's psychological insights from his cosmological teachings. As we noted in chapter one, we in the West — beginning with the European Romantics and American Transcendentalists — have long assumed that cosmology is the rightful sphere of the physical sciences, while religion should limit itself to the care of the human psyche. But one of the central insights of the Buddha's awakening is that events on the micro scale in the mind actually shape experiences on the macro scale in time and space. If we can't question the clear line our culture draws between psychology and cosmology, we won't be in a position to appreciate the ways in which the Buddha's insight on this issue can actually help bring suffering to an end.

So we're faced with a choice. If we're sincere about wanting to end suffering and to give the Buddha's teachings a fair test, then — instead of assuming that he was a prisoner of his own time and place, unable to question his cultural assumptions — we have to examine the extent to which, in adhering to our own cultural assumptions, we're imprisoning ourselves. If we don't want to drop our self-imposed restrictions, we can still benefit from any of the Buddha's teachings that fit within those limitations, but we'll have to accept the consequences: that the results we'll get will be limited as well. Only if we're willing to submit to the test of appropriate attention, abandoning the presuppositions that distort our thinking about issues like karma and rebirth, will we be able to make full use of the Canon's tools for gaining total release.
Sotthī hontu nirantaraṃ - May you forever be well.

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Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby kirk5a » Tue Mar 13, 2012 4:18 pm

daverupa wrote: this is directly refutable since the Buddha declares

In other words, you are relying on the words of others, rather than direct knowing, right?
"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: the great rebirth debate

Postby daverupa » Tue Mar 13, 2012 6:17 pm

kirk5a wrote:In other words


Were the original words unclear?
    "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: the great rebirth debate

Postby kirk5a » Tue Mar 13, 2012 8:49 pm

daverupa wrote:
kirk5a wrote:In other words


Were the original words unclear?

Yes. The Buddha did not "refute" himself. So have you known the following for yourself, such that you are in a position to say that Ven. Thanissaro's interpretation is entirely wrong?

Where water, earth, fire, & wind have no footing:
There the stars do not shine,
the sun is not visible,
the moon does not appear,
darkness is not found.
And when a sage,
a brahman through sagacity,
has known [this] for himself,
then from form & formless,
from bliss & pain,
he is freed.

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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Lazy_eye
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Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby Lazy_eye » Tue Mar 13, 2012 8:56 pm

Ajahn Thanissaro wrote:Although rebirth is often presented as an unscientific view, the material sciences actually have no way at all of proving the issue one way or the other.... science is in no position to prove or disprove the Buddha's teachings on the range and powers of human action.


This a fallacious argument -- shifting the burden of proof.

The fact that science hasn't proven or disproven rebirth doesn't necessarily mean there is good cause to accept it. The burden of proof is on the person making the assertion.

Suppose I logged on to this board one fine morning and announced "little did you know it, but we are all living in a computer simulation being run by beings in another dimension!" Folks might be intrigued. You might ask me to supply reasons for making the claim. But suppose that instead of providing reasons, I said "well, you can't disprove it, and science has no way at all of settling the issue one way or the other!" Who would be satisfied with that answer?

I'm not saying Ajahn is wrong about rebirth, but I guess this kind of shoddy thinking is a red flag for me. When someone of his intelligence is willing to resort to known fallacies to advance an argument, it's might be because a stronger basis for the argument cannot be found.
Last edited by Lazy_eye on Wed Mar 14, 2012 12:06 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby daverupa » Tue Mar 13, 2012 9:13 pm

kirk5a wrote:So have you known the following for yourself, such that you are in a position to say that Ven. Thanissaro's interpretation is entirely wrong?


"...entirely right?" is my response.

kirk5a wrote:The Buddha did not "refute" himself.


I did not say he did.

:rolleye:
    "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: the great rebirth debate

Postby kirk5a » Tue Mar 13, 2012 9:49 pm

daverupa wrote:
kirk5a wrote:So have you known the following for yourself, such that you are in a position to say that Ven. Thanissaro's interpretation is entirely wrong?


"...entirely right?" is my response.

what?
kirk5a wrote:The Buddha did not "refute" himself.


I did not say he did.

:rolleye:

But can you explain it?
"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: the great rebirth debate

Postby daverupa » Tue Mar 13, 2012 9:50 pm

Buckwheat wrote:I have still yet to see anybody offer an alternative explaination for that passage.


"In the same way, where there is no passion for the nutriment of physical food... contact... intellectual intention... consciousness, where there is no delight, no craving, then consciousness does not land there or increase. Where consciousness does not land or increase, there is no alighting of name-&-form. Where there is no alighting of name-&-form, there is no growth of fabrications. Where there is no growth of fabrications, there is no production of renewed becoming in the future. Where there is no production of renewed becoming in the future, there is no future birth, aging, & death. That, I tell you, has no sorrow, affliction, or despair."
~SN 12.64

---

"Abandon desire and lust for consciousness. Thus that consciousness will be abandoned, cut off at the root, made like a palm stump, obliterated so that it is no more subject to future arising."
~SN 22.25

It seems likely that consciousness without feature is of the pancakkhandha, while consciousness in this latter passage is of the pancupadanakkhandha. That's one simple way to look at it.
    "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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