Confused about likelihood of human rebirth

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Re: Confused about likelihood of human rebirth

Postby whynotme » Mon Oct 15, 2012 6:16 am

Digity wrote:In terms of the self-identity...I mean, I just don't believe in any eternal self. I actually think it's ridiculous that some people even believe in this idea, because there's ZERO evidence for it anywhere. There's far more evidence to suggest we are a composition of the five aggregates.

Hi Digity, what did you mean by saying don't believe in any eternal self? Did you mean that there is no self? And there is no you, no yourself, and that you don't exist?

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Re: Confused about likelihood of human rebirth

Postby Digity » Mon Oct 15, 2012 1:09 pm

Reductor wrote:Thanks for responding.

The dhamma does need to be properly examined, that is true. If you have done that, and continue to do that, there is little need to be anxious about your next life.

I'd point out that examining the teachings for holes is very different from a fundamental shift in your cognitive process. That is, a lack of doubt from not finding holes is different from seeing your mind with new and better eyes. The first admits that doubt may arise if holes are found, while the second is to fill the holes with a first hand account of how things are.


Examining for holes doesn't exclude the possibility of a fundamental shift in one's cognitive process. For instance, when I examined other teachings, like Christianity, I found tons of holes and reality told me those holes were real. In that way, I decided those weren't teachings worth following. In the same way, I looked for holes in the Dhamma. This required me to examine reality much closer and in the ways that the Dhamma described. In doing that, I didn't see holes in the teachings...what I would see in reality was reflected in the Dhamma. As this happens, ones cognitive process shifts and soon enough you see the Dhamma in everything...in all your daily activities.
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Re: Confused about likelihood of human rebirth

Postby Digity » Mon Oct 15, 2012 1:14 pm

whynotme wrote:
Digity wrote:In terms of the self-identity...I mean, I just don't believe in any eternal self. I actually think it's ridiculous that some people even believe in this idea, because there's ZERO evidence for it anywhere. There's far more evidence to suggest we are a composition of the five aggregates.

Hi Digity, what did you mean by saying don't believe in any eternal self? Did you mean that there is no self? And there is no you, no yourself, and that you don't exist?

Regards

"Self" is just an idea, a concept. If we take "self" as meaning some eternal non-changing entity inside of us I'd say there's absolutely no evidence that something like this exists. On the contrary, all there is evidence for in this world is change...nothing is eternal, except change! We are just this bundle of changing systems. The idea of the self serves a purpose. For instance, if you go to the doctor and say "my leg hurts" that's helpful for communicating a problem you're having. However, at the end of the day these are just conventions we have created and in reality there's really no leg that belongs to you.
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Re: Confused about likelihood of human rebirth

Postby whynotme » Mon Oct 15, 2012 1:50 pm

Digity wrote:
whynotme wrote:
Digity wrote:In terms of the self-identity...I mean, I just don't believe in any eternal self. I actually think it's ridiculous that some people even believe in this idea, because there's ZERO evidence for it anywhere. There's far more evidence to suggest we are a composition of the five aggregates.

Hi Digity, what did you mean by saying don't believe in any eternal self? Did you mean that there is no self? And there is no you, no yourself, and that you don't exist?

Regards

"Self" is just an idea, a concept. If we take "self" as meaning some eternal non-changing entity inside of us I'd say there's absolutely no evidence that something like this exists. On the contrary, all there is evidence for in this world is change...nothing is eternal, except change! We are just this bundle of changing systems. The idea of the self serves a purpose. For instance, if you go to the doctor and say "my leg hurts" that's helpful for communicating a problem you're having. However, at the end of the day these are just conventions we have created and in reality there's really no leg that belongs to you.

Of course there isn't anything that not changing over time and the self has the use in convention purposes. But on the true meaning of self, if it is that simple there is no self, why didn't the Buddha just teach, there is no self?

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Re: Confused about likelihood of human rebirth

Postby Digity » Mon Oct 15, 2012 2:04 pm

I think because then people would have thought the Buddha was a nihilist and the Buddha saw no good coming from that, so he chose to be silent on the matter and let his disciples, through the practice, see that this idea of the "self" was illusive. Think about it...if the Buddha claimed "no self" even today people would be saying Buddhism is so nihilistic, which it's not. Even with the Buddha never making that claim, some people still think Buddhism is depressing, nihilistic.

At the end of the day, the Dhamma itself is just a tool for seeing the Truth...don't get too caught up in what it says. Just let it help you flow in the direction its pointing.
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Re: Confused about likelihood of human rebirth

Postby whynotme » Mon Oct 15, 2012 2:11 pm

Digity wrote:I think because then people would have thought the Buddha was a nihilist and the Buddha saw no good coming from that, so he chose to be silent on the matter and let his disciples, through the practice, see that this idea of the "self" was illusive. Think about it...if the Buddha claimed "no self" even today people would be saying Buddhism is so nihilistic, which it's not. Even with the Buddha never making that claim, some people still think Buddhism is depressing, nihilistic.

At the end of the day, the Dhamma itself is just a tool for seeing the Truth...don't get too caught up in what it says. Just let it help you flow in the direction its pointing.

So, because there is nothing that non-changing, there is no Nirvana?
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Re: Confused about likelihood of human rebirth

Postby Digity » Mon Oct 15, 2012 3:05 pm

whynotme wrote:
Digity wrote:I think because then people would have thought the Buddha was a nihilist and the Buddha saw no good coming from that, so he chose to be silent on the matter and let his disciples, through the practice, see that this idea of the "self" was illusive. Think about it...if the Buddha claimed "no self" even today people would be saying Buddhism is so nihilistic, which it's not. Even with the Buddha never making that claim, some people still think Buddhism is depressing, nihilistic.

At the end of the day, the Dhamma itself is just a tool for seeing the Truth...don't get too caught up in what it says. Just let it help you flow in the direction its pointing.

So, because there is nothing that non-changing, there is no Nirvana?

It seems like Nirvana is beyond concepts of change and non-change...the fact that you're even suggesting Nirvana is contingent on there being some non-changing entity to be found in the world seems to me to suggest you're trying to conceptualize Nirvana, which I think is the wrong approach altogether.

I personally don't like any discussions of this nature, because I think you just trip yourself up when you try to conceptually understand what Nibbana is. It's something to be seen and realized, but until that happens it's best not to try and image what it is in your head.
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Re: Confused about likelihood of human rebirth

Postby Yana » Mon Oct 15, 2012 9:51 pm

whynotme wrote:So, because there is nothing that non-changing, there is no Nirvana?


hi,

I know i am just conceptualizing and it's probably nothing compared to the real thing but to my understanding,forgive me if i am wrong, EVERYTHING INSIDE SAMSARA is ever changing. "Nibbanna is NOT Samsara". That's about all i can say.I mean i don't know much about Nibbanna but i am pretty sure it's not Samsara.Therefore,Not subject to (Impermanence,Unsatisfactoriness,No-Self) Anicca, Dukkha and Anatta.Making it a permanent state.It's probably a whole lot more complicated than this simple explanation but this should give an outline.

to the OP,I also have been anxious about the human rebirth.I had a real good think about it's implications.Part of me is tempted not to take what i just read seriously but if it's that rare then..i should probably not waste more time then. I also have the same way of thinking that i'd rather be born human than in the Deva Realms..because i really feel this is the place to be if you want to practice the Dhamma..but to be honest i'd rather be born in the deva realm than say the hellish realms.So to minimize my chances i am performing a lot of merits just to make sure i mean i probably would end up there anyways but hopefully it will carry me through.I always tell myself at the end of the day i don't know what will happen but i'd like to look back at my life and realized i spent it well,regardless of where my kamma takes me.And it doesn't rally worry me anymore if it takes another aeon to be born human as long as i do my best in whatever position i find myself in.

I also have to add,The same thing happens to when i am filled with doubt and ask myself what if there is no such thing as everything the Buddha taught.Like rebirth and various realms that i have never seen.Then i still wouldn't have regretted it because i lived my life doing something productive so either way i still feel like i have made good use of life.I had to put that in in case you thought i was just going to do things out of blind faith.

Hopefully this will help :anjali:
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Re: Confused about likelihood of human rebirth

Postby LonesomeYogurt » Mon Oct 15, 2012 10:43 pm

whynotme wrote:So, because there is nothing that non-changing, there is no Nirvana?

Nibbana is not a place, it is an event. You can't think of Nibbana as a location either inside or outside Samsara.
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: Confused about likelihood of human rebirth

Postby ground » Tue Oct 16, 2012 1:50 am

Digity wrote:I have this sense of angst about my next life sometimes...

Perfect. Go straight to its source. :sage:
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Re: Confused about likelihood of human rebirth

Postby whynotme » Tue Oct 16, 2012 2:33 am

Digity wrote:
whynotme wrote:
Digity wrote:I think because then people would have thought the Buddha was a nihilist and the Buddha saw no good coming from that, so he chose to be silent on the matter and let his disciples, through the practice, see that this idea of the "self" was illusive. Think about it...if the Buddha claimed "no self" even today people would be saying Buddhism is so nihilistic, which it's not. Even with the Buddha never making that claim, some people still think Buddhism is depressing, nihilistic.

At the end of the day, the Dhamma itself is just a tool for seeing the Truth...don't get too caught up in what it says. Just let it help you flow in the direction its pointing.

So, because there is nothing that non-changing, there is no Nirvana?

It seems like Nirvana is beyond concepts of change and non-change...the fact that you're even suggesting Nirvana is contingent on there being some non-changing entity to be found in the world seems to me to suggest you're trying to conceptualize Nirvana, which I think is the wrong approach altogether.

I personally don't like any discussions of this nature, because I think you just trip yourself up when you try to conceptually understand what Nibbana is. It's something to be seen and realized, but until that happens it's best not to try and image what it is in your head.

Well, you called yourself a sotapanna, you are a stream winner, you saw the path to the ultimate goal, at least you must see nirvana even you are not there yet.

OK, come back to your explanation, why the Buddha never claimed "no self". Since when the Buddha cared much about the masses when it related to the truth? He called them fools, blinding, he explained everything maybe except nirvana. He repeated many times about anatta, if anatta equals to no self, why not just saying there is no self, isn't it more straight and easier to understand? And even when between only monks, he never claimed "no self", non of the noble ones ever claimed "no self", why there is difference between them and you, while you are a noble one like them? Also please note that his noble disciples didn't care much about people's opinion as the Buddha, even some arahants made bad reputation for the sangha, e.g live with woman in a room for a night, and then even none of them claimed "no self"? Why? Please explain these things to me

IMO, if there is no self, then the death will be the end of everything, it is simple as that.

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Re: Confused about likelihood of human rebirth

Postby whynotme » Tue Oct 16, 2012 2:39 am

LonesomeYogurt wrote:Nibbana is not a place, it is an event. You can't think of Nibbana as a location either inside or outside Samsara.

I know i am just conceptualizing and it's probably nothing compared to the real thing but to my understanding,forgive me if i am wrong, EVERYTHING INSIDE SAMSARA is ever changing. "Nibbanna is NOT Samsara". That's about all i can say.I mean i don't know much about Nibbanna but i am pretty sure it's not Samsara.Therefore,Not subject to (Impermanence,Unsatisfactoriness,No-Self) Anicca, Dukkha and Anatta.Making it a permanent state.It's probably a whole lot more complicated than this simple explanation but this should give an outline.

Dear LonesomeYogurt and Yana,

I agree that Nirvana is not a place, and it is more complicated than using words, coz it is outside of concepts. I was just trying to say some basics properties of Nirvana, i.e Nirvana is real, it is not illusion, that is all. I didn't try to go deeper than that.

Also LonesomeYogurt, I don't agree that nirvana is an event. Nirvana is outside of time and samsara concepts.

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Re: Confused about likelihood of human rebirth

Postby Digity » Tue Oct 16, 2012 4:39 am

whynotme wrote:
Digity wrote:
whynotme wrote:Well, you called yourself a sotapanna, you are a stream winner, you saw the path to the ultimate goal, at least you must see nirvana even you are not there yet.

OK, come back to your explanation, why the Buddha never claimed "no self". Since when the Buddha cared much about the masses when it related to the truth? He called them fools, blinding, he explained everything maybe except nirvana. He repeated many times about anatta, if anatta equals to no self, why not just saying there is no self, isn't it more straight and easier to understand? And even when between only monks, he never claimed "no self", non of the noble ones ever claimed "no self", why there is difference between them and you, while you are a noble one like them? Also please note that his noble disciples didn't care much about people's opinion as the Buddha, even some arahants made bad reputation for the sangha, e.g live with woman in a room for a night, and then even none of them claimed "no self"? Why? Please explain these things to me

IMO, if there is no self, then the death will be the end of everything, it is simple as that.

Regards

I never claimed I was a sotapanna...I just suggest it was possible given the definition which requires doubt to be eliminated, but there's so many variations on the definition of a stream-winner it's hard to tell and I'm in no positione to really make any such definitive claims.

Don't you see that "self" and "not self" is just a view? Even the view of "not self" requires one to conceptualize the "self" and say it doesn't exists. Didn't the Buddha say we must ultimately let go of all views? If the Buddha claimed either "self" or "not self" he'd just be adding to the fuel...giving you more views to cling to. The Dhamma is ultimately about letting go of these sort of concepts we have. Does that make sense to you?
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Re: Confused about likelihood of human rebirth

Postby Reductor » Tue Oct 16, 2012 6:05 am

Digity wrote:Examining for holes doesn't exclude the possibility of a fundamental shift in one's cognitive process. For instance, when I examined other teachings, like Christianity, I found tons of holes and reality told me those holes were real. In that way, I decided those weren't teachings worth following. In the same way, I looked for holes in the Dhamma. This required me to examine reality much closer and in the ways that the Dhamma described. In doing that, I didn't see holes in the teachings...what I would see in reality was reflected in the Dhamma. As this happens, ones cognitive process shifts and soon enough you see the Dhamma in everything...in all your daily activities.


I have no doubt that people attain lofty stages on the path even today, so I'm not looking to dismiss this stuff. As such I agree that examining for holes doesn't exclude the possibility of a fundamental shift. I just suggest that a fundamental shift is more important than not seeing holes.

If such a shift has occurred for you or anyone else, then kudos to you and to them.
Michael

The thoughts I've expressed in the above post are carefully considered and offered in good faith.

And friendliness towards the world is happiness for him who is forbearing with living beings. -- Ud. 2:1
To his own ruin the fool gains knowledge, for it cleaves his head and destroys his innate goodness. -- Dhp 72

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Re: Confused about likelihood of human rebirth

Postby whynotme » Tue Oct 16, 2012 7:16 am

Digity wrote:I never claimed I was a sotapanna...I just suggest it was possible given the definition which requires doubt to be eliminated, but there's so many variations on the definition of a stream-winner it's hard to tell and I'm in no positione to really make any such definitive claims.

Don't you see that "self" and "not self" is just a view? Even the view of "not self" requires one to conceptualize the "self" and say it doesn't exists. Didn't the Buddha say we must ultimately let go of all views? If the Buddha claimed either "self" or "not self" he'd just be adding to the fuel...giving you more views to cling to. The Dhamma is ultimately about letting go of these sort of concepts we have. Does that make sense to you?

IMO, there is no self is actually a wrong view, a terrible one. You said let go of all views but from what you said, you cling to the wrong view, you should let go of that view, there is no self. None of the evidence suggests that there is no self. None of the suttas said that, none of the arahants said that. So don't think that there is no self, it is a wrong view.

Also, letting go of all views is for arahants. Do you remember the raft simile? When you reach the other side of the river, you can discard the raft, but if you are still on this side of the river and you discard the raft, you can never reach the other side of the river. If you are arahant, you can let go all views, but if you are not arahant, you should need to know what is right, what is wrong, and and you need right view.

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Re: Confused about likelihood of human rebirth

Postby manas » Tue Oct 16, 2012 7:37 am

Digity wrote:I took the following quote from here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Human_bein ... cite_ref-4

The human rebirth is said to be extremely rare. The Majjhima Nikaya (129 Balapandita Sutta) compares it to a wooden cattle-yoke floating on the waves of the sea, tossed this way and that by the winds and currents. The likelihood of a blind turtle, rising from the depths of the ocean to the surface once in a hundred years, putting its head through the hole in the yoke is considered greater than that of a being in the animal realm, hungry ghost realm or hell realm achieving rebirth as a human. This is because, according to the sutta, in these realms there is no Dhamma (Sanskrit Dharma), no practicing what is right, no doing what is wholesome, and no performing of merit. However it is generally implied that if one is already living as a human they will continue to be reborn in the human world based on good works and so they will be one again and again as long as they are moral and good in the ways described in Buddhist rules regardless of whether or not they are Buddhist themselves. The idea is that one must be good and moral because falling below the human realm is dangerous as the odds of one becoming a human again with any great frequency is slim.


Is the implication correct? That a human being will continue to be reborn in the human world based on good work? I've heard both sides...this one and also that human rebirth is rare in all circumstances....even if one conducts himself well.

I have this sense of angst about my next life sometimes and wish deeply to be able to continue the practice of the Dharma...that's why, the idea of it almost being impossible to be reborn as a human is very discouraging.


Hi Digity,

you're not alone in that anxiety, I've seen it before both in myself, and in other Buddhist practitioners.

It's unhelpful to get overly anxious about something that is unknown to you at present. While you're being anxious, you are actually cultivating one of the hindrances. Seriously, I mean cultivating. Why increase your mind's tendency to worry? It's already hard enough to let go of worries, not just for you, but for myself also and for many of us.

Part of our practice is to cultivate a calm and clear mind. So fwiw, I would advise you to find the level of practice that is 'just right' for you - neither too strenuous, nor too slack - and try to be happy within that, happy in the knowledge that you are on the right Path, and that's the best situation you could hope for. As for what is going to happen after death, well when you find someone who has actually seen this (I mean someone alive right now!) then please let me know. :|

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Re: Confused about likelihood of human rebirth

Postby Aloka » Tue Oct 16, 2012 10:14 am

Digity wrote:Is the implication correct? That a human being will continue to be reborn in the human world based on good work? I've heard both sides...this one and also that human rebirth is rare in all circumstances....even if one conducts himself well.

I have this sense of angst about my next life sometimes and wish deeply to be able to continue the practice of the Dharma...that's why, the idea of it almost being impossible to be reborn as a human is very discouraging.


I think its good to be at ease with practising the Dhamma here and now in this present life - and to remember what the Buddha said was inappropriate :


"This is how he attends inappropriately: 'Was I in the past? Was I not in the past? What was I in the past? How was I in the past? Having been what, what was I in the past? Shall I be in the future? Shall I not be in the future? What shall I be in the future? How shall I be in the future? Having been what, what shall I be in the future?' Or else he is inwardly perplexed about the immediate present: 'Am I? Am I not? What am I? How am I? Where has this being come from? Where is it bound?' "

(MN2)

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/mn/mn.002.than.html
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Re: Confused about likelihood of human rebirth

Postby Digity » Tue Oct 16, 2012 5:58 pm

We should create "The great stream winner debate" thread.
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Re: Confused about likelihood of human rebirth

Postby whynotme » Wed Oct 17, 2012 3:43 am

Digity wrote:We should create "The great stream winner debate" thread.

Dear Digity,

Maybe you feel that I am attacking your sotapanna achievement, but actually I am not. I only talked about the view: there is no self, which involved your sotapanna claim. The fact is that I talked very little about your claim as well

Well, if you think there is no self is true, you are right, I am wrong and you don't need to discuss with others then feel free to let me know, I will stop chit chatting with you

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Re: Confused about likelihood of human rebirth

Postby Digity » Thu Oct 18, 2012 2:17 am

whynotme wrote:
Digity wrote:We should create "The great stream winner debate" thread.

Dear Digity,

Maybe you feel that I am attacking your sotapanna achievement, but actually I am not. I only talked about the view: there is no self, which involved your sotapanna claim. The fact is that I talked very little about your claim as well

Well, if you think there is no self is true, you are right, I am wrong and you don't need to discuss with others then feel free to let me know, I will stop chit chatting with you

Regards

No, I don't think I'm a sotapanna....but sometimes you read the description of a sotapanna and think to yourself that maybe it's possible. That's all I'm saying.
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