the great rebirth debate

An open and inclusive investigation into Buddhism and spiritual cultivation

Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby daverupa » Thu Mar 22, 2012 1:17 am

Alex123 wrote:But if he lacks faith, then why ordain?


Appeal to ignorance fallacy. Just because you can't imagine what the motive in such a case would be, does not thereby prove such a motive would be absent.
    "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]
User avatar
daverupa
 
Posts: 4195
Joined: Mon Jan 31, 2011 6:58 pm

Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby Alex123 » Thu Mar 22, 2012 2:27 am

daverupa wrote:
Alex123 wrote:But if he lacks faith, then why ordain?


Appeal to ignorance fallacy. Just because you can't imagine what the motive in such a case would be, does not thereby prove such a motive would be absent.


I am just being realistic. It is normal nature to avoid pain and go for pleasure. Like it or not, it is how most beings function unless they are Awakened.
”Even the water melting from the snow-capped peaks finds its way to the ocean."
User avatar
Alex123
 
Posts: 2865
Joined: Wed Mar 10, 2010 11:32 pm

Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby retrofuturist » Thu Mar 22, 2012 2:46 am

Greetings Dave,

retrofuturist wrote:Those of us who are very serious about the Dhamma will naturally place the Dhamma first, and other views secondary.

daverupa wrote:Generally speaking, a secular Buddhist is one who makes this claim as well... Ultimately, the lack of consideration for the possibility that the primary "ism" is actually Buddhism is quite astonishing.

This seems completely at odds with what I understand "secular" to mean.

http://www.thefreedictionary.com/secular wrote:adj.
1. Worldly rather than spiritual.
2. Not specifically relating to religion or to a religious body: secular music.

3. Relating to or advocating secularism.
4. Not bound by monastic restrictions, especially not belonging to a religious order. Used of the clergy.
5. Occurring or observed once in an age or century.
6. Lasting from century to century.

Being "worldly, rather than spiritual" and "not specifically relating to religion", the notion of Secular Buddhism as being one's primary "ism" seems to be something of an oxymoron, when you consider the purpose of the Dhamma.

Perhaps something here is being lost in translation. Perhaps what you mean by "secular" is closer to "non-denominational"? -

http://www.thefreedictionary.com/nondenominational wrote:adj.
Not restricted to or associated with a religious denomination.

Metta,
Retro. :)
If you have asked me of the origination of unease, then I shall explain it to you in accordance with my understanding:
Whatever various forms of unease there are in the world, They originate founded in encumbering accumulation. (Pārāyanavagga)


Exalted in mind, just open and clearly aware, the recluse trained in the ways of the sages:
One who is such, calmed and ever mindful, He has no sorrows! -- Udana IV, 7


Dharma Wheel (Mahayana / Vajrayana forum) -- Open flower ~ Open book (blog)
User avatar
retrofuturist
Site Admin
 
Posts: 14680
Joined: Tue Dec 30, 2008 9:52 pm
Location: Melbourne, Australia

Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby nowheat » Thu Mar 22, 2012 3:15 am

Alex123 wrote:Nowheat,

nowheat wrote:This is what the Buddha taught: whether there is or is not rebirth, the dhamma is the best path. Do you actually disagree with the Buddha on that point?
:namaste:


If Dhamma practice causes more suffering in the present, the why would follow it if one believed in one-life-only? Why cause oneself more suffering for the goal that would be reached even without it?


You didn't answer my question, Alex.

Alex123 wrote:
nowheat wrote:Why would the Buddha teach that I should be more concerned with *my* next life than the lives of all sentient beings?


If your head is on fire, why be concerned about putting out the fire? It hurts.

As for helping others: You can't really help others until you can help yourself first.


This sounds to me as though you are saying the Buddha teaches that we should put ourselves first. Is that right?

:namaste:
nowheat
 
Posts: 525
Joined: Thu Oct 15, 2009 3:42 am

Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby nowheat » Thu Mar 22, 2012 3:36 am

retrofuturist wrote:Those of us who are very serious about the Dhamma will naturally place the Dhamma first, and other views secondary.

daverupa wrote:Generally speaking, a secular Buddhist is one who makes this claim as well... Ultimately, the lack of consideration for the possibility that the primary "ism" is actually Buddhism is quite astonishing.

retrofuturist wrote:This seems completely at odds with what I understand "secular" to mean.


I put the Buddha's dhamma first in this way: he tells us not to spend time on speculative views; I don't. This is completely compatible with the concept of being secular because the secular is firmly grounded in what is visible here and now, aka "the worldly".

http://www.thefreedictionary.com/secular wrote:adj.
1. Worldly rather than spiritual.
2. Not specifically relating to religion or to a religious body: secular music.



retrofuturist wrote:Being "worldly, rather than spiritual" and "not specifically relating to religion", the notion of Secular Buddhism as being one's primary "ism" seems to be something of an oxymoron.

Perhaps something here is being lost in translation. Perhaps what you mean by "secular" is closer to "non-denominational"? -

If one sees Buddhism as having to do with "faith" (i.e. "faith in things not in evidence" e.g "rebirth") then Buddhism is a religion. But if one sees the Buddha as saying that that sort of faith is ill-advised, then perhaps it is not a religion. Once again, this makes Buddhism when practiced as being non-speculative, secular.

You may not agree with it, but can you see that it is logical to define it that way?

:namaste:
nowheat
 
Posts: 525
Joined: Thu Oct 15, 2009 3:42 am

Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby retrofuturist » Thu Mar 22, 2012 3:55 am

Greetings nowheat,

nowheat wrote:You may not agree with it, but can you see that it is logical to define it that way?

Well... I can see that you've defined it that way. :tongue:

When I read "worldly" in the definition, I connect it to "worldly" goals. For example, meditating or cultivating mindfulness with the end goal to reduce anger or to learn to chillax...

:computerproblem:

What you described, however, I would describe as Agnostic Buddhism. For the purposes of this discussion feel free to replace reference to "deities" with "rebirth".

Wikipedia wrote:Agnosticism is the view that the truth values of certain claims—especially claims about the existence or non-existence of any deity, but also other religious and metaphysical claims—are unknown or unknowable. Agnosticism can be defined in various ways, and is sometimes used to indicate doubt or a skeptical approach to questions. In some senses, agnosticism is a stance about the difference between belief and knowledge, rather than about any specific claim or belief. In the popular sense, an agnostic is someone who neither believes nor disbelieves in the existence of a deity or deities, whereas a theist and an atheist believe and disbelieve, respectively. In the strict sense, however, agnosticism is the view that human reason is incapable of providing sufficient rational grounds to justify the belief that deities either do or do not exist.

Either way, in the Dhamma, faith and wisdom should be in balance.

Metta,
Retro. :)
If you have asked me of the origination of unease, then I shall explain it to you in accordance with my understanding:
Whatever various forms of unease there are in the world, They originate founded in encumbering accumulation. (Pārāyanavagga)


Exalted in mind, just open and clearly aware, the recluse trained in the ways of the sages:
One who is such, calmed and ever mindful, He has no sorrows! -- Udana IV, 7


Dharma Wheel (Mahayana / Vajrayana forum) -- Open flower ~ Open book (blog)
User avatar
retrofuturist
Site Admin
 
Posts: 14680
Joined: Tue Dec 30, 2008 9:52 pm
Location: Melbourne, Australia

Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby Lazy_eye » Thu Mar 22, 2012 4:20 am

Alex123 wrote:This is the same kind of objection that I've seen Mahayanist-turned-Catholic use. He claimed that rebirth is like death because when a person is reborn as, lets say, a coachroach, then one isn't the same person because all the past memories and personality is gone. And since this person clings to the idea of a Self that has such and such memories and personality, he couldn't accept that so he rejected rebirth.


I think the argument may have been that with personality and memory gone, rebirth is a moot point. It's hard to identify any meaningful distinction between a) a cockroach and b) a cockroach that happens to have been Lazy Eye in a past life. One could say that the cockroach will inherit Lazy Eye's kamma -- maybe get stepped on or sprayed with bug killer -- but since the roach won't be able to make the connection, the connection might as well not exist.

That's why the Mahayanist-turned-Catholic, Paul Williams, rejected Buddhism. From his point of view, it practically amounted to annihilationism.
User avatar
Lazy_eye
 
Posts: 835
Joined: Fri Jan 23, 2009 3:23 pm
Location: Laurel, MD

Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby Nyana » Thu Mar 22, 2012 5:23 am

retrofuturist wrote:It’s easy for us to regard Dhamma as primary, but for many, they are able to respect Buddhism, apply what parts of the Dhamma don’t conflict with their other “isms” and gain certain benefit from that. I do not think that should be derided – just called out for what it is. I also think it is good to be tolerant of people not placing Buddhism as their primary "ism", lest we turn them away from it and they drop it altogether.

Sure, and no derision was intended or stated. Refuge involves more than going for refuge in part of a buddha and a little bit of dhamma, regardless of one's abilities, living situation, and practice commitments. In for a penny, in for a pound.
Nyana
 
Posts: 2227
Joined: Tue Apr 27, 2010 11:56 am

Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby retrofuturist » Thu Mar 22, 2012 5:32 am

Greetings Ñāṇa,

With respect to one who takes refuge in the Triple Gem, I concur with your statement.

Metta,
Retro. :)
If you have asked me of the origination of unease, then I shall explain it to you in accordance with my understanding:
Whatever various forms of unease there are in the world, They originate founded in encumbering accumulation. (Pārāyanavagga)


Exalted in mind, just open and clearly aware, the recluse trained in the ways of the sages:
One who is such, calmed and ever mindful, He has no sorrows! -- Udana IV, 7


Dharma Wheel (Mahayana / Vajrayana forum) -- Open flower ~ Open book (blog)
User avatar
retrofuturist
Site Admin
 
Posts: 14680
Joined: Tue Dec 30, 2008 9:52 pm
Location: Melbourne, Australia

Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby Nyana » Thu Mar 22, 2012 5:39 am

retrofuturist wrote:Being "worldly, rather than spiritual" and "not specifically relating to religion", the notion of Secular Buddhism as being one's primary "ism" seems to be something of an oxymoron, when you consider the purpose of the Dhamma.

On a practical, day to day level of Buddhist interactions, I wonder how the time-honored, indispensable relationship between the laity and the ordained sangha fits with this idea of secularism?

Image

This is one of the most important aspects of contemporary Theravāda Buddhism: That people can still ordain and devote their entire life to the three jewels, and know that they will be supported by the lay community and have their material needs of food, clothing, and shelter met.
Nyana
 
Posts: 2227
Joined: Tue Apr 27, 2010 11:56 am

Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby cooran » Thu Mar 22, 2012 6:41 am

Ñāṇa said: This is one of the most important aspects of contemporary Theravāda Buddhism: That people can still ordain and devote their entire life to the three jewels, and know that they will be supported by the lay community and have their material needs of food, clothing, and shelter met.


Yes - if you are male.
There are a few places in the west for women to ordain ..... if you are under 50 years of age ..... which also have a long long waiting list.

with metta
Chris
---The trouble is that you think you have time---
---Worry is the Interest, paid in advance, on a debt you may never owe---
---It's not what happens to you in life that is important ~ it's what you do with it ---
User avatar
cooran
 
Posts: 7645
Joined: Tue Jan 06, 2009 11:32 pm
Location: Queensland, Australia

Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby Nyana » Thu Mar 22, 2012 7:20 am

cooran wrote:There are a few places in the west for women to ordain ..... if you are under 50 years of age ..... which also have a long long waiting list.

Yes, this situation can be improved, but there would be no ordained sangha without the support of the laity.
Nyana
 
Posts: 2227
Joined: Tue Apr 27, 2010 11:56 am

Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby Spiny O'Norman » Thu Mar 22, 2012 9:59 am

Alex123 wrote:Also I am very unconvinced when people ignore clear-as-clear-can-be phrases such as:
    "with the break-up of the body, after death, have re-appeared in..."
The suttas are filled with such material that cannot simply be a metaphor.


I agree. I think agnosticism about rebirth is fine, what I struggle with is the attempts that some people make to write rebirth out of the suttas.

Spiny
User avatar
Spiny O'Norman
 
Posts: 851
Joined: Sat May 23, 2009 8:46 am
Location: Suffolk, England

Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby daverupa » Thu Mar 22, 2012 11:31 am

Ñāṇa wrote:In for a penny, in for a pound.


Supposing a Mahayana Buddhist said this...
    "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]
User avatar
daverupa
 
Posts: 4195
Joined: Mon Jan 31, 2011 6:58 pm

Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby rowyourboat » Thu Mar 22, 2012 1:02 pm

:)

US homicide detective proves his past life

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PuayR6P-h_U
With Metta

Karuna
Mudita
& Upekkha
rowyourboat
 
Posts: 1949
Joined: Sat Jan 03, 2009 5:29 pm
Location: London, UK

Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby ancientbuddhism » Thu Mar 22, 2012 1:23 pm

Perhaps the Secularists came up with this ad campaign:

Image
Fingers walk the darkness down
Mind is on the midnight
Gather up the gold you've found
You fool, it's only moonlight.
If you try to take it home
Your hands will turn to butter
You better leave this dream alone
Try to find another. – Townes Van Zandt ‘Lungs’

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

A Handful of Leaves
User avatar
ancientbuddhism
 
Posts: 666
Joined: Fri Apr 01, 2011 12:53 pm
Location: Cyberia

Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby ancientbuddhism » Thu Mar 22, 2012 1:43 pm

Spiny O'Norman wrote:
Alex123 wrote:Also I am very unconvinced when people ignore clear-as-clear-can-be phrases such as:
    "with the break-up of the body, after death, have re-appeared in..."
The suttas are filled with such material that cannot simply be a metaphor.


I agree. I think agnosticism about rebirth is fine, what I struggle with is the attempts that some people make to write rebirth out of the suttas.

Spiny


I wouldn't know what attempts there are to 'write rebirth out of the suttas', but Buddhadasa Bhikkhu did rewrite what rebirth means.

For some of us there is no 'view' about rebirth really, its just that the myth of rebirth doesn't inform practice.
Fingers walk the darkness down
Mind is on the midnight
Gather up the gold you've found
You fool, it's only moonlight.
If you try to take it home
Your hands will turn to butter
You better leave this dream alone
Try to find another. – Townes Van Zandt ‘Lungs’

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

A Handful of Leaves
User avatar
ancientbuddhism
 
Posts: 666
Joined: Fri Apr 01, 2011 12:53 pm
Location: Cyberia

Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby Nyana » Thu Mar 22, 2012 1:48 pm

ancientbuddhism wrote:Perhaps the Secularists came up with this ad campaign

Sounds like a slogan for New Atheism....
Nyana
 
Posts: 2227
Joined: Tue Apr 27, 2010 11:56 am

Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby ancientbuddhism » Thu Mar 22, 2012 1:50 pm

Alex123 wrote:
ancientbuddhism wrote:
Alex123 wrote:We often see lying, backstabbing, aggressive shrewd and cunning psychopaths get to the top because they unfairly beat those who are not so aggressive and are push overs. Within the framework of one-life, they are on the top. But if we consider that there are multiple lifetimes we can consider that their victory is only for this short life and the bad kamma will catch up on them causing more trouble than it was worth.


Heaven for good people and hell for bad people? Do you really think the Dhamma is based on petty morality?



No, but I am realistic about defilements and motivations of people. When the going gets tough, one needs sufficient amount of reasons to follow Dhamma rather than something more pleasant in the short term. If there is only one life, then it is silly to cause oneself suffering and deprivation for the goal that would be achieved anyways at dying, before which one would be indulging in sensual pleasures before death - Parinibbana.

If there is rebirth than it makes full sense to follow Dhamma which may in this life lead to pain and sorrow to the point of tears only to stop much greater amount of sorrow and suffering if one didn't follow Dhamma.


There is evidence enough to be free from saṃsāra within the present continuum; the ‘faring on’ of mental recidivism. It is specious to make comparisons between the sociopath and ordinary decent people as though dukkha does not fall evenly on both.
Fingers walk the darkness down
Mind is on the midnight
Gather up the gold you've found
You fool, it's only moonlight.
If you try to take it home
Your hands will turn to butter
You better leave this dream alone
Try to find another. – Townes Van Zandt ‘Lungs’

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

A Handful of Leaves
User avatar
ancientbuddhism
 
Posts: 666
Joined: Fri Apr 01, 2011 12:53 pm
Location: Cyberia

Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby rowboat » Thu Mar 22, 2012 2:09 pm

I wouldn't know what attempts there are to 'write rebirth out of the suttas', but Buddhadasa Bhikkhu did rewrite what rebirth means.


It's my understanding that before he died Ven. Buddhadasa disavowed his early writings on rebirth.
Rain soddens what is covered up,
It does not sodden what is open.
Therefore uncover what is covered
That the rain will not sodden it.
Ud 5.5
User avatar
rowboat
 
Posts: 446
Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2010 5:31 am
Location: Brentwood Bay, British Columbia

PreviousNext

Return to Open Dhamma

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Bing [Bot], Dan74 and 6 guests