What is rebirth and where does this idea comes from?

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What is rebirth and where does this idea comes from?

Postby pondering » Mon Jul 02, 2012 4:33 pm

What is rebirth and where does this idea comes from?
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Re: What is rebirth and where does this idea comes from?

Postby David N. Snyder » Mon Jul 02, 2012 8:43 pm

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Re: What is rebirth and where does this idea comes from?

Postby cooran » Mon Jul 02, 2012 9:14 pm

Hello pondering,

This is a question many people ask when first studying the teachings of the Buddha.

This article by a respected Bhikkhu may be of assistance:

Does Rebirth Make Sense? by Bhikkhu Bodhi
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/auth ... ay_46.html

with metta
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Re: What is rebirth and where does this idea comes from?

Postby sunyavadin » Tue Jul 03, 2012 12:01 am

I would like to say something about my understanding of this topic to see whether I am on the right track.

First and foremost, as I understand it, the important point is that there is no self, ego or personality which goes from life to life. Instead it is more like a process, where the actions, thoughts and intentions generated here in this life, give rise to a future life which embodies the qualities resulting from these.

As for the cultural origins of this idea, I imagine that in ancient times, people had a much stronger sense of continuity with the past and their ancestors. This is because of the oral culture, where the stories and wisdom were memorized in handed down from generation to generation. Within this context, it must have been much easier to see newborns as like an 'incarnation' of a previous life. In the ancient world, there was a very wide-spread view that everything happens in cycles of creation and desctruction - people, seasons, tides, cultures, and everything else. Within this view of the world, re-birth seemed entirely plausible.

Here in our modern world, everything is changing so quickly, and we are so remote from our ancestral past, that we seem to live in this kind of bubble of the present, surrounded only by space, and preceded only by the 'blind' forces of evolution.
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Re: What is rebirth and where does this idea comes from?

Postby pondering » Tue Jul 03, 2012 3:36 am

Is that true that death and rebirth means the changes in a person's life and physical appearance?
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Re: What is rebirth and where does this idea comes from?

Postby Magoo » Tue Jul 03, 2012 7:01 am

I like your summation Sunyavadin. Well said in my view, as it is a complicated concept that is hard to understand unless you actually experience past lives in meditation. As I cant prove Rebirth through experience it is hard for me to accept or deny at this point. My mind is left open though.

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Re: What is rebirth and where does this idea comes from?

Postby Aloka » Tue Jul 03, 2012 12:16 pm

pondering wrote:Is that true that death and rebirth means the changes in a person's life and physical appearance?


Hi pondering,

Here's a quote from the late Ajahn Chah which might be helpful :

10. The "one Who Knows" clearly knows that all conditioned phenomena are unsubstantial. So this "One Who Knows" does not become happy or sad, for it does not follow changing conditions. To become glad , is to be born; to becomes dejected, is to die. Having died, we are born again ; having been born . we die again .

This birth and death from one moment to the next is the endless spinning wheel of samsara.


http://www.abuddhistlibrary.com/Buddhism/B%20-%20Theravada/Teachers/Ajaan%20Chah/No%20Ajahn%20Chah/NO%20AJAHN%20CHAH%20%20Reflections%20,Birth%20&%20Death.htm


with kind regards,

Aloka
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Re: What is rebirth and where does this idea comes from?

Postby LonesomeYogurt » Tue Jul 03, 2012 3:41 pm

pondering wrote:Is that true that death and rebirth means the changes in a person's life and physical appearance?

Yes, the mind will continue in another body, whether human or animal or any other host of forms, and their location, temperament, etc. will change.

Think of it as one pool ball hitting another. Nothing physical is transferred but the ball that is hit will continue moving in the direction of the first ball. In the same way, in our next life, we will continue as we were in the previous life.
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: What is rebirth and where does this idea comes from?

Postby pondering » Tue Jul 03, 2012 5:24 pm

Thanks this very helpful but I wish to see the sutra that support this very idea to confirm me that I am following the true teachings of the budha and also to show that this idea is not whimsicle talk. many thanks.
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Re: What is rebirth and where does this idea comes from?

Postby Bhikkhu Pesala » Tue Jul 03, 2012 7:10 pm

The Greater Discourse on the Destruction of Craving is quite helpful.

A bhikkhu wrongly grasped the teachings about rebirth as the transmigration of a soul, but the Buddha pointed out his error.

A living-being is a process, not a soul or self, but although there is no soul or self, rebirth after death is the inevitable consequence as long as the cause of craving is not completely destroyed by Arahantship.

You may find it helpful to think of the process of life as a wave, rather than a particle. Like a tsunami that starts in Indonesia. Its not the same water that arrived in Sri Lanka many hours later, and did so much damage, but the wave that arrived in Sri Lanka was not unrelated to the wave that started in Indonesia.
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Re: What is rebirth and where does this idea comes from?

Postby David N. Snyder » Tue Jul 03, 2012 9:21 pm

pondering wrote:Thanks this very helpful but I wish to see the sutra that support this very idea to confirm me that I am following the true teachings of the budha and also to show that this idea is not whimsicle talk. many thanks.
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The suttas are permeated throughout with discussion of rebirth and what leads to the end of rebirth.

"He recalls to mind his various temporary states in days gone by – one birth, or two or three or four or five births, 10 or 20, 30 or 50, a 100 or a 1,000 or a 100,000 births, through many cycles of cosmic contraction and cosmic expansion . . .

. . . he recollects his numerous past lives: that is, (he recollects) one birth, two, three, four, or five births; ten, twenty, thirty, forty, or fifty births; a hundred, a thousand, or a hundred thousand births; many hundreds of births, many thousands of births, many hundreds of thousands of births. (He recalls:) 'Then I had such a name, belonged to such a clan, had such an appearance; such was my food, such my experience of pleasure and pain, such my span of life. Passing away thence, I re-arose there. There too I had such a name, belonged to such a clan, had such an appearance; such was my food, such my experience of pleasure and pain, such my span of life. Passing away thence, I re-arose here.' Thus he recollects his numerous past lives in their modes and their details."
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Re: What is rebirth and where does this idea comes from?

Postby pondering » Wed Jul 04, 2012 3:20 am

"He recalls to mind his various temporary states in days gone by – one birth, or two or three or four or five births, 10 or 20, 30 or 50, a 100 or a 1,000 or a 100,000 births, through many cycles of cosmic contraction and cosmic expansion . . .

. . . he recollects his numerous past lives: that is, (he recollects) one birth, two, three, four, or five births; ten, twenty, thirty, forty, or fifty births; a hundred, a thousand, or a hundred thousand births; many hundreds of births, many thousands of births, many hundreds of thousands of births. (He recalls:) 'Then I had such a name, belonged to such a clan, had such an appearance; such was my food, such my experience of pleasure and pain, such my span of life. Passing away thence, I re-arose there. There too I had such a name, belonged to such a clan, had such an appearance; such was my food, such my experience of pleasure and pain, such my span of life. Passing away thence, I re-arose here.' Thus he recollects his numerous past lives in their modes and their details."

Thank you very much, I am now confirmed on the idea of reincarnation.
Posted by Aloka,
10. The "one Who Knows" clearly knows that all conditioned phenomena are unsubstantial. So this "One Who Knows" does not become happy or sad, for it does not follow changing conditions. To become glad , is to be born; to becomes dejected, is to die. Having died, we are born again ; having been born . we die again .

This idea seems very different so I am curios if this idea supported by the sutra also?
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Re: What is rebirth and where does this idea comes from?

Postby Aloka » Wed Jul 04, 2012 9:43 am

pondering wrote:This idea seems very different so I am curios if this idea supported by the sutra also?


Possibly MN 131

"You shouldn't chase after the past
or place expectations on the future.
What is past is left behind.
The future is as yet unreached.
Whatever quality is present
you clearly see right there,
right there."

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/mn/mn.131.than.html


or Dhammapada Ch24 v.348

Let go of the past, let go of the future,
Let go of the present.
Gone beyond becoming,
with the mind released in every way,
You do not again undergo birth and old age.

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Re: What is rebirth and where does this idea comes from?

Postby pondering » Thu Jul 05, 2012 4:02 pm

10. The "one Who Knows" clearly knows that all conditioned phenomena are unsubstantial. So this "One Who Knows" does not become happy or sad, for it does not follow changing conditions. To become glad , is to be born; to becomes dejected, is to die. Having died, we are born again ; having been born . we die again .

This birth and death from one moment to the next is the endless spinning wheel of samsara.


I see reincarnation and now I also see the death and birth from moment to moment as the endless spinning wheel of samsara.

"And how is one not taken in with regard to present qualities? There is the case where a disciple of the noble ones who has seen the noble ones, is versed in the teachings of the noble ones, is well-trained in the teachings of the noble ones, does not see form as self, or self as possessing form, or form as in self, or self as in form.
"He/she does not see feeling as self, or self as possessing feeling, or feeling as in self, or self as in feeling.
"He/she does not see perception as self, or self as possessing perception, or perception as in self, or self as in perception.
"He/she does not see thought-fabrications as self, or self as possessing thought-fabrications, or thought-fabrications as in self, or self as in thought-fabrications.
"He/she does not see consciousness as self, or self as possessing consciousness, or consciousness as in self, or self as in consciousness. This is called not being taken in with regard to present qualities.


This passage confirms that I have many lives because if I only had one life, that life would be very precious to me. I would not waste that one life thinking that I don’t have a self and to have no feelings because I do not see feeling as self, or self as possessing feeling, or feeling as in self, or self as in feeling which means I can’t be happy or sad. I would use that one life to explore and do many fun things as much as I can before I die.
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Re: What is rebirth and where does this idea comes from?

Postby danieLion » Fri Jul 06, 2012 2:21 am

Hi pondering, Aloka,

Re: "The One Who Knows."

Starting at about 01:15, Reverend Sujato critiques this "The One Who Knows" idea of Reverends Chah and Sumhedo.



And is "The One Who Knows" similar to Reverend Boowa's "Original Mind"?



Kind regards,
Daniel
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Re: What is rebirth and where does this idea comes from?

Postby Aloka » Fri Jul 06, 2012 12:08 pm

danieLion wrote:Hi pondering, Aloka,

Re: "The One Who Knows."

Starting at about 01:15, Reverend Sujato critiques this "The One Who Knows" idea of Reverends Chah and Sumhedo.

Kind regards,
Daniel


Hi Daniel,

Personally I think of "The One Who Knows" as being a reference to someone who is enlightened or with a high level of realisation.

As far as Ajahn Sujato's remarks about Ajahn Sumedho are concerned, all that comes to mind is the saying "Different strokes for different folks".

In the past I attended a number of Ajahn Sumedo's talks when he was abbot of Amaravati monastery as well as received personal practice advice and instruction from him. I really connect with what he says and regard him as a very important teacher.

Kind regards

Aloka
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Re: What is rebirth and where does this idea comes from?

Postby Sylvester » Thu Jul 12, 2012 5:20 am

Bhikkhu Pesala wrote:
You may find it helpful to think of the process of life as a wave, rather than a particle. Like a tsunami that starts in Indonesia. Its not the same water that arrived in Sri Lanka many hours later, and did so much damage, but the wave that arrived in Sri Lanka was not unrelated to the wave that started in Indonesia.


One of the best similes I've seen for re-becoming!

:anjali:
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