the great rebirth debate

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Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby Buckwheat » Thu Mar 22, 2012 2:13 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


Yes, the Buddha seems to have clearly taught rebirth. In order to dilute the dhamma enough to filter out the rebirth, you would be left with suttas that totally miss the mark. This does not mean that people have to believe rebirth, but they must recognize that discrediting rebirth is something that sets them apart from the Buddha's prescribed path. These are just my opinions.
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Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby Spiny O'Norman » Thu Mar 22, 2012 2:48 pm

ancientbuddhism wrote:For some of us there is no 'view' about rebirth really, its just that the myth of rebirth doesn't inform practice.


You say the "myth" of rebirth, so presumably you don't believe in rebirth? That sounds like a view to me.

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Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby daverupa » Thu Mar 22, 2012 3:43 pm

Spiny O'Norman wrote:
ancientbuddhism wrote:For some of us there is no 'view' about rebirth really, its just that the myth of rebirth doesn't inform practice.


You say the "myth" of rebirth, so presumably you don't believe in rebirth? That sounds like a view to me.

Spiny


Funny thing about that:

AN 10.93 wrote:When this had been said, Anathapindika the householder said to the wanderers, "As for the venerable one who says, 'The cosmos is eternal. Only this is true; anything otherwise is worthless. This is the sort of view I have,' his view arises from his own inappropriate attention or in dependence on the words of another. Now this view has been brought into being, is fabricated, willed, dependently originated. Whatever has been brought into being, is fabricated, willed, dependently originated, that is inconstant. Whatever is inconstant is stress. This venerable one thus adheres to that very stress, submits himself to that very stress." (Similarly for the other positions: "The cosmos is finite... The cosmos is infinite... The soul & the body are the same... The soul is one thing and the body another... After death a Tathagata exists... After death a Tathagata does not exist... After death a Tathagata both does & does not exist... After death a Tathagata neither does nor does not exist. Only this is true; anything otherwise is worthless.")

When this had been said, the wanderers said to Anathapindika the householder, "We have each & every one expounded to you in line with our own positions. Now tell us what views you have."

"Whatever has been brought into being, is fabricated, willed, dependently originated, that is inconstant. Whatever is inconstant is stress. Whatever is stress is not me, is not what I am, is not my self. This is the sort of view I have."

"So, householder, whatever has been brought into being, is fabricated, willed, dependently originated, that is inconstant. Whatever is inconstant is stress. You thus adhere to that very stress, submit yourself to that very stress."

"Venerable sirs, whatever has been brought into being, is fabricated, willed, dependently originated, that is inconstant. Whatever is inconstant is stress. Whatever is stress is not me, is not what I am, is not my self. Having seen this well with right discernment as it actually is present, I also discern the higher escape from it as it actually is present."


(
Note, here, that he does NOT provide them with anything resembling the boilerplate "right view with effluents" as the corrective view. So, this view is not refuted the way other views are, but nor is it lauded when it would be most appropriate to do so. Whereupon:

[The Blessed One said:] "Well done, householder. Well done. That is how you should periodically refute those foolish men with the Dhamma."

)
    "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 Alex123 » Thu Mar 22, 2012 4:04 pm

nowheat wrote:You didn't answer my question, Alex.


The usefulness of Dhamma without rebirth would be minimal for most. Ultimately Dhamma is to end rebirth and all dukkha that comes with it. If there is no rebirth then why follow it, especially if it brings more complications and restrictions?

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


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Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby tiltbillings » Thu Mar 22, 2012 4:46 pm

Alex123 wrote:Liberate yourself first, then help others. If you can't save even yourself, how can you save others?


viewtopic.php?f=13&t=4147&p=61124&#p61124
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond.
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Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby daverupa » Thu Mar 22, 2012 6:20 pm

Alex123 wrote:If there is no rebirth then why follow it, especially if it brings more complications and restrictions?


This is still an appeal to ignorance, which is fallacious argumentation.
    "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 tiltbillings » Thu Mar 22, 2012 6:37 pm

daverupa wrote:
Alex123 wrote:If there is no rebirth then why follow it, especially if it brings more complications and restrictions?


This is still an appeal to ignorance, which is fallacious argumentation.
That is less than helpful. Show how it is an appeal to ignorance.
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.

"We eat cold eels and think distant thoughts." -- Jack Johnson
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Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby daverupa » Thu Mar 22, 2012 6:51 pm

Sorry;

Alex123 wrote:If there is no rebirth then why follow it, especially if it brings more complications and restrictions?


The question is rhetorical because the answer is assumed to be self-evident; if there is no rebirth, adding Buddhist complications and restrictions to ones livelihood must be nonsensical.

This ignores the possibility of someone deciding on the precepts/ordination as a comparatively greater good versus other ways they might comport their lives. Rebirth need not apply for this motive to obtain; this single example showcases how the question being asked suffers from severe myopia, tending towards a false dichotomy (rebirth, or there's no way you can be motivated to practice).

It takes the same form as the argument that "without God, how can anyone be moral?"
Last edited by daverupa on Thu Mar 22, 2012 6:55 pm, edited 2 times in total.
    "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 nowheat » Thu Mar 22, 2012 6:54 pm

daverupa wrote:
AN 10.93 wrote:When this had been said, Anathapindika the householder said to the wanderers, "As for the venerable one who says, 'The cosmos is eternal. Only this is true; anything otherwise is worthless. This is the sort of view I have...


Note, here, that he does NOT provide them with anything resembling the boilerplate "right view with effluents" as the corrective view. So, this view is not refuted the way other views are, but nor is it lauded when it would be most appropriate to do so.


I am sorry to say that I don't quite follow what you're saying with this sutta example or your comments, and I would definitely like to understand your point. Could you put it a different way, perhaps?

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Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby rowboat » Thu Mar 22, 2012 7:23 pm

You're certainly welcome to dispute my review of "The Truth of Rebirth" but please don't misrepresent what it says. Neither I nor any other secular dharma writer I'm aware of would make any of the oversimplified and unjustifiable claims you attribute to me. What I do say is that the Theravadin faith that the entire Pali canon presents an accurate and doctrinally and logically consistent picture of Gotama's teachings on rebirth is unjustifiable, based on either historical evidence or on the heteroglossic nature of the texts themselves. What my review says is that, to make any sense of the Pali texts, we have to interpret what we read there. Thanissaro Bhikkhu's interpretation violates common sense, scientific knowlege and the core prinicples of anatta and conditioned arising, and is no more justifiable than an interpretation based on the many passages of the canon in which Gotama advises against metaphysical speculation and in favor of liberation in this very life. I would advise folks to go to my review and read it for themselves. I welcome responsible discussion.


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Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby kirk5a » Thu Mar 22, 2012 9:21 pm

rowboat wrote:It's my understanding that before he died Ven. Buddhadasa disavowed his early writings on rebirth.

What is your source for that?
"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 rowboat » Thu Mar 22, 2012 9:34 pm

The article is buried somewhere in the bookmarks of my old dead laptop, though I'll have a look around the web.
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Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby daverupa » Thu Mar 22, 2012 9:37 pm

nowheat wrote:Could you put it a different way, perhaps?


Briefly, it's primarily intended to support the idea that one can have attained to right view without any view on rebirth; that right view can be conveyed without rebirth-talk at all (this conclusion is also borne out by MN 9 as well as others). The context of saying that "disbelief in rebirth is a view" is the secondary target; to disbelieve there is flying teacup around Jupiter is to refrain from such a view on account of poor evidence, but it is not making a counter-claim that such a teacup is certainly impossible or certainly nonexistent.
    "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 » Thu Mar 22, 2012 10:04 pm

rowboat wrote:The article is buried somewhere in the bookmarks of my old dead laptop, though I'll have a look around the web.

Thanks, I'd be interested to see what he had to say, if you can find that.
"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 Nyana » Fri Mar 23, 2012 12:06 am

daverupa wrote:
AN 10.93 wrote:When this had been said, Anathapindika the householder said to the wanderers, "As for the venerable one who says, 'The cosmos is eternal. Only this is true; anything otherwise is worthless. This is the sort of view I have...


Note, here, that he does NOT provide them with anything resembling the boilerplate "right view with effluents" as the corrective view. So, this view is not refuted the way other views are, but nor is it lauded when it would be most appropriate to do so.

The setting aside of the ten undeclared questions doesn't pertain to the issue of the next world. Involvement with the former is a fetter of views, while the latter is a right view (sammādiṭṭhi) and a true dhamma (saddhamma), because there actually is a next world and this can be known by arahants with the appropriate higher knowledges. MN 60 Apaṇṇaka Sutta:

    Because there actually is the next world, the view of one who thinks, 'There is a next world' is his right view. Because there actually is the next world, when he is resolved that 'There is a next world,' that is his right resolve. Because there actually is the next world, when he speaks the statement, 'There is a next world,' that is his right speech. Because there actually is the next world, when he is says that 'There is a next world,' he doesn't make himself an opponent to those arahants who know the next world. Because there actually is the next world, when he persuades another that 'There is a next world,' that is persuasion in what is true Dhamma. And in that persuasion in what is true Dhamma, he doesn't exalt himself or disparage others. Whatever bad habituation he previously had is abandoned, while good habituation is manifested. And this right view, right resolve, right speech, non-opposition to the arahants, persuasion in what is true Dhamma, non-exaltation of self, & non-disparagement of others: These many skillful activities come into play, in dependence on right view.
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Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby Notron » Fri Mar 23, 2012 12:26 am

kirk5a wrote:
rowboat wrote:It's my understanding that before he died Ven. Buddhadasa disavowed his early writings on rebirth.

What is your source for that?


kirk5a, please refer to http://www.what-buddha-taught.net/Books ... uppada.htm

Here's a quote from Ven. Buddhadasa's book Paticcasamuppada: Practical Dependent Origination

"The teachings of many mainstream schools are based on Buddhaghosa's essay (Visuddhimmaga). By treating Buddhaghosa's misinterpretation of the Buddha Dhamma as standard, they obscured the Truth. Buddhaghosa explained the doctrine of dependent origination based on the idea of three connected lifetimes (past, present, and future). According to his idea, ignorance and action in the past gave birth to the present; the consequences of past actions are thus experienced in the present. The process causes our vexation (due to Craving and Clinging) in the present life, while transmigration [the cyclical process of death and rebirth or samsara] delivers us to births and sufferings in future lives. Buddhadasa Bhikkhu examines such an interpretation and raises these critical questions: If the Buddha taught the absence of an ego (anatta), then what is migrating from one life to the next? If the cause of suffering is instilled in one lifetime and its consequence emerges in another, how do we free ourselves from suffering in our practice in this life?"
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Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby nowheat » Fri Mar 23, 2012 1:00 am

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?

Alex123 wrote: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?

nowheat wrote:You didn't answer my question, Alex.

Alex123 wrote:The usefulness of Dhamma without rebirth would be minimal for most. Ultimately Dhamma is to end rebirth and all dukkha that comes with it. If there is no rebirth then why follow it, especially if it brings more complications and restrictions?

And in yet another thread in the conversation:
nowheat wrote:This sounds to me as though you are saying the Buddha teaches that we should put ourselves first. Is that right?

Alex123 wrote:Liberate yourself first, then help others. If you can't save even yourself, how can you save others?


I ask you direct questions about your understanding of or agreement with what the Buddha teaches, you quote me as if you will answer them, and then you don't answer the question I asked, but instead just offer the same basic opinions which are apparently yours, not what you believe the Buddha teaches, so I think it wisest to stop asking you questions, since this isn't moving us forward at all.

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Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby Alex123 » Fri Mar 23, 2012 1:28 am

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

Alex123 wrote:Liberate yourself first, then help others. If you can't save even yourself, how can you save others?

I ask you direct questions about your understanding of or agreement with what the Buddha teaches, you quote me as if you will answer them, and then you don't answer the question I asked, but instead just offer the same basic opinions which are apparently yours, not what you believe the Buddha teaches, so I think it wisest to stop asking you questions, since this isn't moving us forward at all.
:namaste:


Again. First of all you liberate yourself, then help others.

    "Cunda, it is impossible that one who is himself sunk in the mire[23] should pull out another who is sunk in the mire. But it is possible, Cunda, that one not sunk in the mire himself should pull out another who is sunk in the mire.
    http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... -mn-008-23

There it clearly says what I was saying.
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Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby Alex123 » Fri Mar 23, 2012 1:32 am

Notron wrote:... If the Buddha taught the absence of an ego (anatta), then what is migrating from one life to the next?


If the Buddha taught the absence of an ego (anatta), then what receives results of practice?
I was not; I was; I am not; I do not care."
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Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby rowboat » Fri Mar 23, 2012 1:42 am

I'm sorry Kirk5a, I've scoured the web and I haven't found the original source. I remember the information being from an interview with someone from Suan Mokkh or from an article looking at the period between Ven. Buddhadasa's stroke and his death. I'll have a look again later.
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