the great rebirth debate

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Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby Nyana » Sun Dec 16, 2012 5:36 pm

daverupa wrote:
Ñāṇa wrote:Not thinking in terms of inappropriate attention and the six views arising therefrom... is incompatible with paṭiccasamuppāda


Do I understand you correctly here? Can you rephrase this?

Sorry, I should have been clearer. By "the former" was meant "thinking in terms of inappropriate attention and the six views arising therefrom" which is incompatible with paṭiccasamuppāda.
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Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby daverupa » Sun Dec 16, 2012 5:47 pm

Ñāṇa wrote:thinking in terms of inappropriate attention and the six views arising therefrom is incompatible with paṭiccasamuppāda


So, seeing paṭiccasamuppāda is not a result of inappropriate attention or wrong view. Certainly.

You said, then, that considering rebirth through inferential cognition is appropriate. Certainly?

SN 22.79 wrote:"Thus an instructed disciple of the noble ones reflects in this way: 'I am now being chewed up by [aggregates]. But in the past I was also chewed up by [aggregates] in the same way I am now being chewed up by present [aggregates]. And if I delight in future [aggregates], then in the future I will be chewed up by [aggregates] in the same way I am now being chewed up by present [aggregates].' Having reflected in this way, he becomes indifferent to past [aggregates], does not delight in future [aggregates], and is practicing for the sake of disenchantment, dispassion, and cessation with regard to present [aggregates]."


Past and future are as now, clinging-aggregate-laden. You're advocating that this analysis extend beyond this life, but this is unnecessary. The past and the future are the same as now, in terms of being chewed up by aggregates. Having reflected in this way, one is called on to practice, not to ruminate.
    "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: Is hell and hungry ghost realm to be taken literally?

Postby Alex123 » Sun Dec 16, 2012 5:56 pm

porpoise wrote:There seems to be a wide range of views in debates like this. Is this a fair summary?
1. The Buddha didn't teach rebirth and the realms, it was added in later.
2. The Buddha taught rebirth and the realms, but only as skillful means or metaphor.
3. The Buddha taught rebirth and the realms and intended it literally rather than metaphorically - but these teachings are redundant to Buddhist practice.
4. The Buddha taught rebirth and the realms and intended it literally rather than metaphorically - and these teachings are important for Buddhist practice.


It is a good summary, though I believe that more accurately would be to state: "what is written in the suttas". We do not know and cannot know what historical Gotama (if he even existed) has actually said, if anything. We don't have time machine.


The suttas, as translated to english, and as they have come to us, do seem to talk about #4.

Of course not everyone believes in literal rebirth as written in the suttas.
"dust to dust...."
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Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby Nyana » Sun Dec 16, 2012 6:08 pm

daverupa wrote:Past and future are as now, clinging-aggregate-laden. You're advocating that this analysis extend beyond this life, but this is unnecessary. The past and the future are the same as now, in terms of being chewed up by aggregates. Having reflected in this way, one is called on to practice, not to ruminate.

This concern has already been addressed in the quotations previously offered from Dhammanando & Ṭhānissaro. E.g.: "To reject or doubt rebirth is to suppose that there are some causes that don't yield effects – specifically, that there can be ignorance and craving that will not issue in further becoming."
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Re: Is hell and hungry ghost realm to be taken literally?

Postby Nyana » Sun Dec 16, 2012 6:12 pm

porpoise wrote:There seems to be a wide range of views in debates like this. Is this a fair summary?

1. The Buddha didn't teach rebirth and the realms, it was added in later.
2. The Buddha taught rebirth and the realms, but only as skillful means or metaphor.
3. The Buddha taught rebirth and the realms and intended it literally rather than metaphorically - but these teachings are redundant to Buddhist practice.
4. The Buddha taught rebirth and the realms and intended it literally rather than metaphorically - and these teachings are important for Buddhist practice.

To maintain that there is an actual debate within the Buddhadhamma about rebirth is a false assumption. There is no such debate. Every strata of Buddhist dhamma (Sutta, Abhidhamma, Commentary) asserts rebirth.
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Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby daverupa » Sun Dec 16, 2012 6:24 pm

Ñāṇa wrote:
daverupa wrote:Past and future are as now, clinging-aggregate-laden. You're advocating that this analysis extend beyond this life, but this is unnecessary. The past and the future are the same as now, in terms of being chewed up by aggregates. Having reflected in this way, one is called on to practice, not to ruminate.

This concern has already been addressed in the quotations previously offered from Dhammanando & Ṭhānissaro. E.g.: "To reject or doubt rebirth is to suppose that there are some causes that don't yield effects – specifically, that there can be ignorance and craving that will not issue in further becoming."


But I wasn't talking about rejection or doubt. You continually miss this distinction.
    "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 Nyana » Sun Dec 16, 2012 8:24 pm

daverupa wrote:But I wasn't talking about rejection or doubt. You continually miss this distinction.

The quotations already provided don't just pertain to rejection or doubt. "Setting aside" has similar limitations that preclude full penetration of the four noble truths.
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Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby tiltbillings » Sun Dec 16, 2012 8:35 pm

Ñāṇa wrote:
daverupa wrote:But I wasn't talking about rejection or doubt. You continually miss this distinction.

The quotations already provided don't just pertain to rejection or doubt. "Setting aside" has similar limitations that preclude full penetration of the four noble truths.
As one practices, theres a constant re-eavaluation of how one understands the Dhamma based upon one's insights. Where there may have at first been doubt and scepticism, there can arise confidence and assurity. It is the nature of the practice. One can only start from where one is.
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 vinasp » Sun Dec 16, 2012 8:42 pm

Hi everyone,

The Buddha uses 'deva' (male) and 'devi' (female) to describe virtuous people in AN 4.53

"Householders, there are these four ways of living together. What four? A wretch lives
together with a wretch; a wretch lives together with a female deva; a deva lives
together with a wretch; a deva lives together with a female deva.
------
And how does a wretch live together with a female deva? Here, the husband is one who
destroys life, takes what is not given, engages in sexual misconduct, speaks falsely,
and indulges in liquor, wine, and intoxicants; he is immoral, of bad character, ....
he insults and reviles ascetics and brahmins.
But his wife is one who abstains from the destruction of life, from taking what is not
given, from sexual misconduct, from false speech, and from liquor, wine and intoxicants,
she is virtuous, of good character, .... she does not insult or revile ascetics and
brahmins. It is in such a way that a wretch lives together with a female deva."
........
[BB, TNDB, page 443, part of AN 4.53]

This is similar to the way that a virtuous woman might be called 'an angel' in English.

Do devas exist? Yes, of course they do!

Regards, Vincent.
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Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby tiltbillings » Sun Dec 16, 2012 8:47 pm

vinasp wrote:Hi everyone,

The Buddha uses 'deva' (male) and 'devi' (female) to describe virtuous people in AN 4.53 . . . .
And this can account for all the uses of the word deva?
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 » Sun Dec 16, 2012 8:48 pm

Ñāṇa wrote:"Setting aside" has similar limitations that preclude full penetration of the four noble truths.


This is, frankly, as yet wholly unsupported.
    "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 vinasp » Sun Dec 16, 2012 9:19 pm

Hi tilt,

tilt: And this can account for all the uses of the word deva?

No, of course not. But it does show that the word has a range of meanings.

Regards, Vincent.
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Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby Nyana » Sun Dec 16, 2012 9:51 pm

daverupa wrote:
Ñāṇa wrote:"Setting aside" has similar limitations that preclude full penetration of the four noble truths.

This is, frankly, as yet wholly unsupported.

In The Truth of Rebirth Ven. Ṭhānissaro supports it from a number of perspectives. For example:

    [T]he terms of appropriate attention — the four noble truths — are not concerned simply with events arising and passing away in the present moment. They also focus on the causal connections among those events, connections that occur both in the immediate present and over time. If you limit your focus solely to connections in the present while ignoring those over time, you can't fully comprehend the ways in which craving causes suffering: not only by latching on to the four kinds of nutriment, but also giving rise to the four kinds of nutriment as well.

    This narrow focus places an obstacle in your ability to develop right view — and in particular, your ability to see dependent co-arising as a self-sustaining process. (Emphasis added.)

This is a significant limitation of failing to contemplate the truth of suffering and the truth of origin as continuing unabated without full application of the noble eightfold path. Accordingly, suffering continues until craving and ignorance are eliminated, and is not terminated by physical conditions (e.g. brain death).
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Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby Nyana » Sun Dec 16, 2012 9:55 pm

tiltbillings wrote:As one practices, theres a constant re-eavaluation of how one understands the Dhamma based upon one's insights. Where there may have at first been doubt and scepticism, there can arise confidence and assurity. It is the nature of the practice. One can only start from where one is.

Yes, of course.
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Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby vinasp » Sun Dec 16, 2012 10:22 pm

Hi everyone,

Non-returners also arise spontaneously.

"Again, a monk who has abandoned the five lower fetters arises spontaneously
and, without returning from that world, gains enlightenment."
[ Long Discouses, Walshe 1987, DN 6.13]

There is a widespread misconception that this only occurs after death.
But many passages are ambiguous on this point.
It could be that this spontaneous arising happens immediately as the five lower
fetters are broken.

This, of course, requires that these 'worlds' be understood in a figurative sense, as
states of mind. Such an interpretation is supported by the many passages which speak of
the cessation of the world.

For the non-returner this world has ceased and he has arisen in the next world, when
he becomes fully enlightened the next world also ceases.

Regards, Vincent.
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Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby daverupa » Mon Dec 17, 2012 12:13 am

Ñāṇa wrote:This narrow focus places an obstacle in your ability to develop right view — and in particular, your ability to see dependent co-arising as a self-sustaining process.


SN 22.79 seems to contradict this.
    "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 Nyana » Mon Dec 17, 2012 1:23 am

daverupa wrote:
Ñāṇa wrote:This narrow focus places an obstacle in your ability to develop right view — and in particular, your ability to see dependent co-arising as a self-sustaining process.


SN 22.79 seems to contradict this.

Not at all. Disenchantment and dispassion aren't the result of mental non-engagement. This is a point that differentiates Buddhism from other yogic traditions that propose stopping the mind and/or stopping all action as the primary method for attaining liberation.

Also, I don't see any good reason to compartmentalize the teachings. The sutta collections are a complete package, and restricting oneself to only a limited subset of sutta teachings erects an artificial, self-imposed barrier. Setting aside the teachings on rebirth is a case of deliberately ignoring them. Deliberately ignoring these teachings entails ignoring certain implications of the teachings on kamma & paṭiccasamuppāda, not in awakening to the Buddha's dhamma.
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Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby daverupa » Mon Dec 17, 2012 12:03 pm

Ñāṇa wrote:The sutta collections are a complete package


It's a bit more complex than that... I recollect this .pdf article by Ven. Analayo, for example, which discusses the structure and language of MN 117 and the likelihood that its demarcation of "right view" and "right view with effluents" is traceable to a later Abhidhamma stratum of composition. This means that such a demarcation is possibly a later development, made much of by disciples but not made as much of by the Buddha.

The emphasis you see in the complete package isn't necessarily the emphasis the Buddha gave. Remember that century+ of open texts...
    "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 nibbuti » Mon Dec 17, 2012 1:13 pm

Ñāṇa wrote:The sutta collections are a complete package, and restricting oneself to only a limited subset of sutta teachings erects an artificial, self-imposed barrier.

Hi Nana.

I think there is an imposed division here between "subset" and "complete package".

It is not a question of restricting to a subset of suttas, as there is not an artificial, but a rather natural 'barrier' (of understanding) in every sutta's listener.

Each sutta is spoken at a certain location to a certain person, e.g. there are Bhikkhus, priests (Brahmins), wanderers of other sects & householders, Kalamas & Kosalans, there are Bhikkhus & Bhikkhunis who speak as the Buddha does, and those who are scolded by him.

Wisely discerning to whom the Buddha spoke is a step in understanding a sutta. For example, he gave marriage advise to a couple seeking marriage advise. It is an expression of his compassion. But that does not mean a serious meditator should concern himself with marriage (unless bound by law).

Also, there are teachings on devas living in clouds, but that does not mean that rain dance is part of the Dhamma.

:anjali:
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Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby Nyana » Mon Dec 17, 2012 3:29 pm

nibbuti wrote:I think there is an imposed division here between "subset" and "complete package".

It is not a question of restricting to a subset of suttas, as there is not an artificial, but a rather natural 'barrier' (of understanding) in every sutta's listener.

Each sutta is spoken at a certain location to a certain person, e.g. there are Bhikkhus, priests (Brahmins), wanderers of other sects & householders, Kalamas & Kosalans, there are Bhikkhus & Bhikkhunis who speak as the Buddha does, and those who are scolded by him.

Wisely discerning to whom the Buddha spoke is a step in understanding a sutta. For example, he gave marriage advise to a couple seeking marriage advise. It is an expression of his compassion. But that does not mean a serious meditator should concern himself with marriage (unless bound by law).

Also, there are teachings on devas living in clouds, but that does not mean that rain dance is part of the Dhamma.

These objections are rather irrelevant and not very coherent. Each of the main Nikāyas was memorized by a group of monastics. Even those of lesser intelligence would know that things like marriage advise don't apply to monastics. But if you're implying that teachings on rebirth, the unimaginable beginnings of saṃsāra, etc., weren't given to monastics, it's plainly stated that they were indeed given to monastics.
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