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Any Theravada branches compatible with annihilationism? - Dhamma Wheel

Any Theravada branches compatible with annihilationism?

A forum for beginners and members of other Buddhist traditions to ask questions about Theravāda (The Way of the Elders). Responses require moderator approval before they are visible.
lament
Posts: 13
Joined: Wed Aug 17, 2011 6:10 pm

Any Theravada branches compatible with annihilationism?

Postby lament » Mon Aug 13, 2012 11:33 pm

Hello everyone. I'm wondering to what extent my beliefs could be compatible with Buddhism.

Raised with the scientific worldview, I believe very strongly that a mind is conditional on a complex physical system (e.g. a brain); that it is in some sense secondary to the physical world in which it arises; and therefore that it ceases completely after physical destruction of the brain, and there is no rebirth. My understanding of the Suttas suggests that this belief is called "annihilationism" and it is completely incompatible with orthodox Buddhism of any kind. But also I get an impression that there's a mild ongoing controversy, at least among Western Buddhists, on this and related issues - presumably because people find Buddhism useful and broadly agree with its premises, but can't accept this stuff.

Are there any branches of Theravada, no matter how modern or unorthodox, where holding this belief is acceptable, or am I just plain not a Buddhist? I can't pretend to be agnostic on this issue - cessation of the mind at death is a core belief for me.

NB: I'll keep trying to observe the precepts and attending Mahasi meditation workshops no matter what you reply, so don't worry about turning me away =)

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LonesomeYogurt
Posts: 900
Joined: Thu Feb 23, 2012 4:24 pm
Location: America

Re: Any Theravada branches compatible with annihilationism?

Postby LonesomeYogurt » Mon Aug 13, 2012 11:43 pm

You might be interested in the works of Stephen Bachelor. He wrote a book entitled Buddhism Without Beliefs.

Mainly I would encourage you to keep an open mind on the issue and simply set it aside for the time being. There are far more important aspects of your practice to deal with.
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


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retrofuturist
Site Admin
Posts: 17855
Joined: Tue Dec 30, 2008 9:52 pm
Location: Melbourne, Australia

Re: Any Theravada branches compatible with annihilationism?

Postby retrofuturist » Mon Aug 13, 2012 11:44 pm

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

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

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

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thaijeppe
Posts: 31
Joined: Tue Dec 20, 2011 3:13 am
Location: Thailand

Re: Any Theravada branches compatible with annihilationism?

Postby thaijeppe » Tue Aug 14, 2012 1:41 am

If you let go a little, you will have a little peace. If you
let go a lot, you will have a lot of peace. If you let go completely,
you will know complete peace and freedom.
Ajahn Chah

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Alobha
Posts: 566
Joined: Mon Dec 19, 2011 8:27 pm
Location: Germany

Re: Any Theravada branches compatible with annihilationism?

Postby Alobha » Tue Aug 14, 2012 8:46 am


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Kim OHara
Posts: 4346
Joined: Wed Dec 09, 2009 5:47 am
Location: North Queensland, Australia

Re: Any Theravada branches compatible with annihilationism?

Postby Kim OHara » Tue Aug 14, 2012 10:54 am


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Aloka
Posts: 5517
Joined: Wed Jan 21, 2009 2:51 pm

Re: Any Theravada branches compatible with annihilationism?

Postby Aloka » Tue Aug 14, 2012 1:17 pm


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Alobha
Posts: 566
Joined: Mon Dec 19, 2011 8:27 pm
Location: Germany

Re: Any Theravada branches compatible with annihilationism?

Postby Alobha » Wed Aug 15, 2012 6:41 pm

Of course, sorry if that came out wrong. There is no evidence for reincarnation, but there is some good data that shows that the matter is not as clear as people may think it is. That can at least be enough to stay open to other possibilities than annihilationism.

lament
Posts: 13
Joined: Wed Aug 17, 2011 6:10 pm

Re: Any Theravada branches compatible with annihilationism?

Postby lament » Tue Aug 21, 2012 3:38 am

Thanks everyone. I'll look into all those suggestions.


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