darvki wrote: I think people should take on the viewpoint that works for them. However, I think you're misrepresenting your own outlook demographic on several points here. Neither camp is a homogeneous group.. let's not have your personal opinions speak for the entire group. What you've expressed does not represent most of the one-lifers I know.
Not claiming to speak for any "group" or "outlook demographic"; as you say, these are heterogenous. I was presenting what seems to me a logical problem that arises if we try to combine a one-life view with the goal of the path/practice as set forth in the Pali Canon.
As I understand it, the goal is cessation of the aggregates and and a final exit from samsara. This goal is inconsistent with the premise that we live once and then die forever. There is an obvious problem of redundancy; we are going to achieve the goal sooner or later, whether we practice or not.
Indeed, if samsaric suffering is so awful, what is the argument for staying alive at all? Let alone embarking on a spiritual path that involves a great deal of renunciation and sacrifice, and concludes with what we are going to get anyway: oblivion. If we choose to stick around, it must be because there is after all some positive value to samsaric experience. But that contradicts the Buddha's message.
So in order for Buddhism to make sense, it must rely on some other premise. And the obvious candidate, given that it is mentioned so many times in the suttas, is rebirth.
This isn't supported by the suttas. Buddha (an arahant of his own kind), smiled, spontaneously uttered joyous verses (Udana), stretched his aching back, and spoke of escaping headaches by entering deep meditation.
Sure. The relief that comes when one knows they have reached the end of existence. No more burden, no more affliction. It is like someone who gladly welcomes his own death. But I believe it would be a mistake to see this as some state of "Happy" that we are aspiring to reach. That would be more in line with jhana attainments. Nibbana is more about eradication and cessation.
So you say
1) You have spent a long time reading about it, discussing it but there is lack of credible sources to actually believe in it.
2) You say, most pro-rebirth arguments are predictably fallacious or pseudoscientific.
3) Yet it makes perfect sense to believe in it
There's no contradiction in my argument. I didn't say that "I don't believe in rebirth but actually do believe in it", as you seem to imply.
I said nibbana as a goal makes sense for people who believe in rebirth. I do not believe in rebirth. Therefore the goal of nibbana does not make sense to me either.
In order to practice Buddhism while rejecting rebirth, I would argue, one has to redefine nibbana, arahantship, and maybe the whole purpose of the practice. And if we look attentively at Western secularized Buddhism, and compare it to the dhamma taught in Burma or Sri Lanka for example, we can see that some subtle but important shifts have taken place. For example, many Western meditation teachers will tend not to emphasize the notion of suppressing afflictions; instead, we are encouraged accept them non-judgmentally, watch them come in go, dance with our experiences, etc etc. It's a soft-toned, easy-going approach.
But traditional Theravada, from what I can judge, is much more severe. Monks are taught to cultivate thorough disgust for sensory phenomena. Disgust with the body, disgust with women and sex, suspicion of nature, revulsion at the act of eating ("the loathsomeness of food") and so on. They work very hard to stamp out even the slightest residue of affection for worldly life. A withered tree, as I said before. To be frank, it all strikes me as rather fanatical and inhumane, but then again, I'm a secular Western liberal. Such austerity makes more sense if you assume (as I don't) an ongoing cycle of rebirths, mostly in excruciating hells.