Do you believe in rebirth?

An open and inclusive investigation into Buddhism and spiritual cultivation

Do you believe in rebirth?

Yes
21
72%
No
2
7%
Don't know/not sure
2
7%
Don't care/not important
4
14%
 
Total votes : 29

Do you believe in rebirth?

Postby Stephen K » Thu Jul 02, 2009 9:04 am

OK, I know this is a Buddhist forum, so it is easy to predict the result.

Still, I think it would be interesting to see what percentage of Buddhists don't believe in rebirth.
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Re: Do you believe in rebirth?

Postby clw_uk » Thu Jul 02, 2009 9:21 am

I voted not important
“ Your mind is likewise blocked. But the right road awaits you still. Cast out your doubts, your fears and your desires, let go of grief and of hope as well, for where these rule , then the mind is their subject." Boetius
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Re: Do you believe in rebirth?

Postby kc2dpt » Thu Jul 02, 2009 2:35 pm

What one believes is not as relevant to the Path as what view one holds.
- Peter

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Re: Do you believe in rebirth?

Postby genkaku » Thu Jul 02, 2009 2:44 pm

Stefan -- Will you please say a little about what the "rebirth" you are referring to means to you? It might help in answering the question.
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Re: Do you believe in rebirth?

Postby Stephen K » Thu Jul 02, 2009 2:52 pm

genkaku wrote:Stefan -- Will you please say a little about what the "rebirth" you are referring to means to you? It might help in answering the question.

The beginningless round of rebirths, being born, ageing, dying, being reborn, ageing, dying, being reborn...
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Re: Do you believe in rebirth?

Postby genkaku » Thu Jul 02, 2009 3:53 pm

Stefan wrote:
genkaku wrote:Stefan -- Will you please say a little about what the "rebirth" you are referring to means to you? It might help in answering the question.

The beginningless round of rebirths, being born, ageing, dying, being reborn, ageing, dying, being reborn...


OK ... so I assume this is something you believe in.

Outside the intellectual and emotional evidence you might suggest, is there some reason to credit it -- some proof that brooks no uncertainty? I mean, is it simply a preference or is it a fact?
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Re: Do you believe in rebirth?

Postby Jechbi » Thu Jul 02, 2009 4:08 pm

genkaku wrote:some proof that brooks no uncertainty

I don't know anyone who sets the bar that high for their beliefs.

In my experience, the beliefs we hold can seem to have a life of their own. We just have these beliefs, like we have a nose on our face. They can change over time (and even produce boogers), but at the moment we have them, that's what we happen to believe. One difficulty is that a lot of folks seem to strongly identify with the beliefs they happen to have at any particular moment. Sometimes so much so that they're willing to kill for them (or at least become a martyr).

Belief in rebirth can be like that. Another element of belief in rebirth as Stefan has framed it is that even within that framework there are still lots of possible different aspects to believe or not believe. Like do you believe is a soul (or something like a soul?) Or do you believe rebirth is guided by some universal judging entity of some kind? Or do you believe rebirth can only occur in certain forms or certain places, or within a particular timeframe?

Lots and lots of opportunity for beliefs, even if you don't believe ...

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But never soddens what is open;
Uncover, then, what is concealed,
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Re: Do you believe in rebirth?

Postby Stephen K » Thu Jul 02, 2009 4:34 pm

genkaku wrote:
Stefan wrote:
genkaku wrote:Stefan -- Will you please say a little about what the "rebirth" you are referring to means to you? It might help in answering the question.

The beginningless round of rebirths, being born, ageing, dying, being reborn, ageing, dying, being reborn...


OK ... so I assume this is something you believe in.

Outside the intellectual and emotional evidence you might suggest, is there some reason to credit it -- some proof that brooks no uncertainty? I mean, is it simply a preference or is it a fact?

I don't fully understand what you mean. Lord Buddha taught rebirth, and I trust Him on that. So yes, I believe rebirth is a fact.

Have a nice day Genkaku! :smile:
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Re: Do you believe in rebirth?

Postby nathan » Thu Jul 02, 2009 6:21 pm

Jechbi wrote:
genkaku wrote:some proof that brooks no uncertainty

I don't know anyone who sets the bar that high for their beliefs.
I do.
But whoever walking, standing, sitting, or lying down overcomes thought, delighting in the stilling of thought: he's capable, a monk like this, of touching superlative self-awakening. § 110. {Iti 4.11; Iti 115}
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Re: Do you believe in rebirth?

Postby genkaku » Thu Jul 02, 2009 6:37 pm

nathan wrote:
Jechbi wrote:
genkaku wrote:some proof that brooks no uncertainty

I don't know anyone who sets the bar that high for their beliefs.
I do.


FWIW ... If the bar is not set at the realm of certainty, what becomes of Buddhism except as another realm of uncertainty, however beautifully it may be embellished?

My teacher once said that belief and hope were fine starting points in practice. Nobody would ever begin practice at all without such things, he said. But, he added, "after four or five years (of practice), belief and hope are not so necessary." Why? Because experience trumps belief and hope ... experience is assured and complete, whereas belief and hope by definition are limited; they separate things; and they nourish uncertainty.

Just my two cents.
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Re: Do you believe in rebirth?

Postby kc2dpt » Thu Jul 02, 2009 7:05 pm

I believe we've already got a rebirth debate thread going on. If the choices in the poll aren't enough for you then you are free to simply not vote.

is there some reason to credit it -- some proof that brooks no uncertainty? I mean, is it simply a preference or is it a fact?

If there was no uncertainly then it wouldn't be belief.
If it was fact then it would not be belief.
Pretty simple folks.
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Re: Do you believe in rebirth?

Postby cooran » Thu Jul 02, 2009 7:07 pm

Hello genkaku, all

Most serious buddhists I know, don't operate from either hope or belief. They operate from the point of view of investigation and experiential trust. "This much" they know and have experienced to be true in what the Blessed One taught ~ so, , based on this, as they practice and study, they trust that what they don't currently know and experience of the rest of his teachings to be true, is certainly as he teaches. No projected time limit on arriving at experiential certainty.

metta
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Re: Do you believe in rebirth?

Postby clw_uk » Thu Jul 02, 2009 7:10 pm

My teacher once said that belief and hope were fine starting points in practice. Nobody would ever begin practice at all without such things, he said. But, he added, "after four or five years (of practice), belief and hope are not so necessary." Why? Because experience trumps belief and hope ... experience is assured and complete, whereas belief and hope by definition are limited; they separate things; and they nourish uncertainty.



Thank you for sharing this, to me this is very wise :smile:
“ Your mind is likewise blocked. But the right road awaits you still. Cast out your doubts, your fears and your desires, let go of grief and of hope as well, for where these rule , then the mind is their subject." Boetius
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Re: Do you believe in rebirth?

Postby nathan » Thu Jul 02, 2009 9:55 pm

Peter wrote:I believe we've already got a rebirth debate thread going on. If the choices in the poll aren't enough for you then you are free to simply not vote.

is there some reason to credit it -- some proof that brooks no uncertainty? I mean, is it simply a preference or is it a fact?

If there was no uncertainly then it wouldn't be belief.
If it was fact then it would not be belief.
Pretty simple folks.


Oh, well excuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuse me!
then change mine to:
No & know.
But whoever walking, standing, sitting, or lying down overcomes thought, delighting in the stilling of thought: he's capable, a monk like this, of touching superlative self-awakening. § 110. {Iti 4.11; Iti 115}
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Re: Do you believe in rebirth?

Postby retrofuturist » Thu Jul 02, 2009 11:00 pm

I too concur with what Chris says above.

Metta,
Retro. :)
If you have asked me of the origination of unease, then I shall explain it to you in accordance with my understanding:
Whatever various forms of unease there are in the world, They originate founded in encumbering accumulation. (Pārāyanavagga)


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One who is such, calmed and ever mindful, He has no sorrows! -- Udana IV, 7


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Re: Do you believe in rebirth?

Postby Jechbi » Fri Jul 03, 2009 3:57 am

genkaku wrote:If the bar is not set at the realm of certainty, what becomes of Buddhism except as another realm of uncertainty, however beautifully it may be embellished?
What become of Buddhism is that certainty does not derive from beliefs one happens to hold. Which I think is what you (and your teacher) said.

Why do we look for certainty about our beliefs any way? Does it give us something that we need? Can we come to terms with uncertainty?

:smile:
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But never soddens what is open;
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Re: Do you believe in rebirth?

Postby kc2dpt » Fri Jul 03, 2009 4:43 am

Reading those of you who scorn belief... I wonder... before the Buddha was the Buddha, before he knew and saw Nibbana... we at least can develop confidence in his word... what did he have to go on?

"Seeing the danger in sensual pleasures — and renunciation as rest — I go to strive. That's where my heart delights." — Snp III.1

How did he know renunciation would be rest and not frustrated deprivation? Certainly the five ascetics were well practiced at renunciation and just as certainly they were not at rest.

"In this way did Alara Kalama, my teacher, place me, his pupil, on the same level with himself and pay me great honor. But the thought occurred to me, 'This Dhamma leads not to disenchantment, to dispassion, to cessation, to stilling, to direct knowledge, to Awakening, nor to Unbinding (nibbana)." — MN 36

How could he be sure there was such a Dhamma which would lead to disenchantment, to dispassion, to cessation, to stilling, to direct knowledge, to Awakening, to Nibbana? He had already sought out the wisest teachers he could find. How could he know if there was anything more to learn?

"I thought: "Whatever priests or contemplatives in the past, future, or present are feeling painful, racking, piercing feelings due to their striving, this is the utmost. None is greater than this. But with this racking practice of austerities I haven't attained any superior human state, any distinction in knowledge or vision worthy of the noble ones. Could there be another path to Awakening?'" — MN 36

Maybe there was, maybe there wasn't. He couldn't have known, right?

"I thought: 'Could [jhana] be the path to Awakening?' Then, following on that memory, came the realization: 'That is the path to Awakening.'" — MN 36

He realized... what does that mean exactly? He knew? He believed? He hoped? He hadn't seen for himself yet. He didn't even have someone else's word to go on since no one else had seen either.

"My heart, thus knowing, thus seeing, was released from the fermentation of sensuality, released from the fermentation of becoming, released from the fermentation of ignorance. With release, there was the knowledge, 'Released.' I discerned that 'Birth is ended, the holy life fulfilled, the task done. There is nothing further for this world.'" — MN 36

Now there was knowledge. Now there was no more room for belief. But I wonder... what about up to that point?
- Peter

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Re: Do you believe in rebirth?

Postby retrofuturist » Fri Jul 03, 2009 4:49 am

Greetings,

I voted yes, but I want to qualify that with the comment that I understand "bhava" to mean "becoming", which unlike some, I don't treat as being synonymous with rebirth.

Apologies if that's confusing or makes you want to call me a crypto-annihilationist.

:spy:

:rofl:

Metta,
Retro. :)
If you have asked me of the origination of unease, then I shall explain it to you in accordance with my understanding:
Whatever various forms of unease there are in the world, They originate founded in encumbering accumulation. (Pārāyanavagga)


Exalted in mind, just open and clearly aware, the recluse trained in the ways of the sages:
One who is such, calmed and ever mindful, He has no sorrows! -- Udana IV, 7


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Re: Do you believe in rebirth?

Postby Ben » Fri Jul 03, 2009 4:50 am

Nice post, Peter.
Also remember, Saddha (faith/confidence) is one of the seven bojjhangas (factors of enlightenment).
Interesting, isn't it?
Metta

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Re: Do you believe in rebirth?

Postby Jechbi » Fri Jul 03, 2009 5:24 am

Peter wrote:Reading those of you who scorn belief...

Who's scorning belief?
Rain soddens what is kept wrapped up,
But never soddens what is open;
Uncover, then, what is concealed,
Lest it be soddened by the rain.
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