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

Re: Do you believe in rebirth?

Postby Jechbi » Fri Jul 03, 2009 5:39 am

Ben wrote:Also remember, Saddha (faith/confidence) is one of the seven bojjhangas (factors of enlightenment).

We should distinguish between the meaning of the word "beliefs" and the meaning of the word "Saddha," which has to do with conviction in a course of action, not in a descriptive proposition.

From here:
Because conviction is focused not on a descriptive proposition but on a course of action — the skillful mastery of the processes of kamma in a social context — these aspects [social, intellectual and practical] are inextricably intertwined. The social aspect comes from the need to associate with people who have already mastered these processes, learning from their words and emulating their actions. The intellectual aspect — belief in the principle of kamma — is necessary because the development of skillfulness within the mind requires that one understand the nature of kamma, take responsibility for one's actions, and have conviction in one's ability to benefit from developing one's skills. The practical aspect is necessary, for if one does not follow through in developing skill, it shows that one's conviction in the development of skillfulness is not genuine, and that one is not fully benefiting from one's beliefs.


This doesn't mean we have to scorn beliefs. It just means we have to recognize that we all have beliefs (which are not self), just like we all have noses on our faces. I'm not going to scorn the nose on my face. But I'm also not going to treasure every booger that falls out of it.

Metta

p.s. I voted 'yes,' just for full disclosure.
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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Re: Do you believe in rebirth?

Postby kc2dpt » Fri Jul 03, 2009 5:47 am

Jechbi wrote:I'm not going to scorn the nose on my face. But I'm also not going to treasure every booger that falls out of it.

Who's treasuring belief? :tongue:
- Peter

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Re: Do you believe in rebirth?

Postby Ben » Fri Jul 03, 2009 5:56 am

Thanks Jechbi

Jechbi wrote:
Ben wrote:Also remember, Saddha (faith/confidence) is one of the seven bojjhangas (factors of enlightenment).

We should distinguish between the meaning of the word "beliefs" and the meaning of the word "Saddha," which has to do with conviction in a course of action, not in a descriptive proposition.



I think that's an important point and not well understood distinction.
Regards

Ben
Learn this from the waters:
in mountain clefts and chasms,
loud gush the streamlets,
but great rivers flow silently.

Taṃ nadīhi vijānātha:
sobbhesu padaresu ca,
saṇantā yanti kusobbhā,
tuṇhīyanti mahodadhī.

Sutta Nipata 3.725


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Re: Do you believe in rebirth?

Postby nathan » Fri Jul 03, 2009 5:56 am

Peter wrote:Now there was knowledge. Now there was no more room for belief. But I wonder... what about up to that point?
In my case, because more than anything I considered it of the highest importance to be honest with myself, (or else why even bother seeking after truth) I admitted to myself that I did not know what to think and that because of that it was not possible for me to simply believe either something or anything. I recognized that before I would be satisfied with any kind of truth about anything I'd have to learn that truth beyond any doubt before I could accept it as irrefutable and undeniably the truth. That is the truth of my makeup in regards to anything and everything. So that is how I have gone about things. I have pursued anything and everything that could possibly lead to greater understanding regardless of the source. So now I am at the point where I 'know' all sorts of things beyond any doubt that most people do not believe.

There's nothing I can do about what people want to believe or not. However it may be that belief serves people, I do not begrudge anyone their use of it, I can't say it has ever served me but then my introduction to belief was in the form of indoctrination and domination; which is what I tend to continue to see as it's primary social role - to keep everyone 'in line'. Still, I have no reason to scorn anyone for believing anything they want or need to believe. However to be honest I have not used it or relied upon it and so I do not say that I have because that would be deceitful. I will note however that if this kind of disclosure is disturbing to some then I should be thankful to have had that made plain and I will not mention this again in the future and simply remain silent when such a question re-arises.
:anjali:
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 Guy » Fri Jul 03, 2009 5:59 am

If you can recall your past lives, then would it be correct to vote "no"? Since it would be a fact that you have remembered, rather than a belief. You don't say "I believe I ate vegemite on toast for breakfast" if you clearly remember doing so, do you?
Four types of letting go:

1) Giving; expecting nothing back in return
2) Throwing things away
3) Contentment; wanting to be here, not wanting to be anywhere else
4) "Teflon Mind"; having a mind which doesn't accumulate things

- Ajahn Brahm
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Re: Do you believe in rebirth?

Postby nathan » Fri Jul 03, 2009 6:11 am

Guy wrote:If you can recall your past lives, then would it be correct to vote "no"? Since it would be a fact that you have remembered, rather than a belief. You don't say "I believe I ate vegemite on toast for breakfast" if you clearly remember doing so, do you?
You could say I had... or I know I had or I believe I had... You could say it either way and it should be correctly understood as having had said condiment on your toast for breakfast. However knowing that rebirth is a literal truth of existence is not an option on the survey and so I have not selected any of them.
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 Ben » Fri Jul 03, 2009 6:17 am

Hi Guy

Well, that's why these sorts of discussions wth regards to kamma or rebirth tend to get 'interesting'. Not that I am suggesting that there is a sub-population of the membership at DW who can remember their past lives! (Maybe there is??). I think part of the difficulty lies in the fact that the path, for the vast majority of us, the path is characterised by the incremental revelation of the nature of reality via direct meditative experience (insight (naana:knowledge)). Yet many of us are living in or have grown up in cultures where a characteristic of the dominant religions is the power of salvation of belief. So I think it is not surprising that the quality of saddha (faith/confidence) in the Buddha Dhamma causes so much discussion.
The way that I look at it, saddha in Buddhism is a completely different beast to the absolute blind belief that one finds in, say, Christianity. In Buddhism, faith is a factor that leads one to insight. One cannot even begin to walk on the path without a scintilla of faith in a number of fundamental assumptions, including, a belief that there must be a better, happier, more wholesome, way of life. Then as we begin to practice Dhamma and we begin to notice some of the benefits for ourselves, there is the confidence that grows in the Dhamma. No doubt it is built on directly experiencing the benefits of practice, but it is also built on saddha (faith/confidence). If we had the attitude that something had to be proven to us before we would accept it, then we wouldn't even begin on the path.
Metta

Ben
Learn this from the waters:
in mountain clefts and chasms,
loud gush the streamlets,
but great rivers flow silently.

Taṃ nadīhi vijānātha:
sobbhesu padaresu ca,
saṇantā yanti kusobbhā,
tuṇhīyanti mahodadhī.

Sutta Nipata 3.725


Compassionate Hands Foundation (Buddhist aid in Myanmar) • Buddhist Global ReliefUNHCR
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Re: Do you believe in rebirth?

Postby clw_uk » Fri Jul 03, 2009 9:51 am

No doubt it is built on directly experiencing the benefits of practice, but it is also built on saddha (faith/confidence). If we had the attitude that something had to be proven to us before we would accept it, then we wouldn't even begin on the path.



I agree :goodpost:


However doesnt some of it get proven before we start, the first noble truth for example as well as anicca
“ 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 clw_uk » Fri Jul 03, 2009 9:53 am

Guy wrote:If you can recall your past lives, then would it be correct to vote "no"? Since it would be a fact that you have remembered, rather than a belief. You don't say "I believe I ate vegemite on toast for breakfast" if you clearly remember doing so, do you?



I think the thread is about belief or disbelief in something that you have no knowledge of


If someone did remember living before then it wouldnt be a belief


metta
“ 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 uniformsquare » Sat Jul 04, 2009 1:23 am

It seems I am the only one that has chosen, Don't know/not sure. I am told by others this is true but I am yet to verify this for myself, I wonder if it is beneficial to hold this view. I'm not really a man of faith, but I do have a number of working assumptions.
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Re: Do you believe in rebirth?

Postby retrofuturist » Sat Jul 04, 2009 1:26 am

Greetings,

uniformsquare wrote:It seems I am the only one that has chosen, Don't know/not sure. I am told by others this is true but I am yet to verify this for myself, I wonder if it is beneficial to hold this view. I'm not really a man of faith, but I do have a number of working assumptions.


That's fair enough. I "don't know" too, but I do believe.

Relevant topic from the Study Group...

MN Session 2 - MN 60. Apannaka Sutta
viewtopic.php?f=25&t=456

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 appicchato » Sat Jul 04, 2009 11:13 am

retrofuturist wrote:Greetings,

uniformsquare wrote:I "don't know" too, but I do believe.

Ditto... :pig:
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Re: Do you believe in rebirth?

Postby acinteyyo » Sat Jul 04, 2009 12:02 pm

When it comes to rebirth, it reminds me that very often that word "rebirth" appears to be taken for granted and everyone knows what exactly is meant.

imho there is birth and birth again and birth again and again and again and so on... but there is definitely no rebirth when this word means "reincarnation (mainly of something)". and when I say "birth" like in the sentence before, I don't just mean physical or bodily birth but also every appearance of any sankhārā depending on their cause or causes. there is birth every moment and there needn't to be physical death to be born again.

So, how I have to understand the question "Do you believe in rebirth?" or rather how have I to understand "rebirth" in this case?
Pubbe cāhaṃ bhikkhave, etarahi ca dukkhañceva paññāpemi, dukkhassa ca nirodhaṃ. (M.22)
Api cāhaṃ, āvuso, imasmiṃyeva byāmamatte kaḷevare, sasaññimhi samanake lokañca paññāpemi lokasamudayañca lokanirodhañca lokanirodhagāminiñca paṭipadan. (AN4.45)

:anjali:
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Re: Do you believe in rebirth?

Postby pink_trike » Sun Jul 05, 2009 10:13 am

I _don't know_ and hold no unknowing beliefs. What could I possibly base a belief in literal rebirth on?
Vision is Mind
Mind is Empty
Emptiness is Clear Light
Clear Light is Union
Union is Great Bliss

- Dawa Gyaltsen

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Re: Do you believe in rebirth?

Postby appicchato » Sun Jul 05, 2009 10:57 am

pink_trike wrote:I _don't know_ and hold no unknowing beliefs. What could I possibly base a belief in literal rebirth on?

Isn't 'unknowing beliefs' an oxymoron?...and, like most everything else, 'belief' comes in varying shapes and sizes...I base my 'belief' (with a size and shape I'd have difficulty defining, probably because I don't try to) on the matter because the Buddha (so we're told) said this is the way it is: the endless cycle of birth, old age, sickness, and death...
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Re: Do you believe in rebirth?

Postby Ben » Sun Jul 05, 2009 11:16 am

Dear Bhante,

appicchato wrote:
pink_trike wrote:I _don't know_ and hold no unknowing beliefs. What could I possibly base a belief in literal rebirth on?

Isn't 'unknowing beliefs' an oxymoron?...and, like most everything else, 'belief' comes in varying shapes and sizes...I base my 'belief' (with a size and shape I'd have difficulty defining, probably because I don't try to) on the matter because the Buddha (so we're told) said this is the way it is: the endless cycle of birth, old age, sickness, and death...


I think you make a very good point. At some point on our path we come to the conclusion that the Buddha was a 'truth teller' based on our own understanding of the Dhamma and the verification of wisdom that is derived from direct meditative (practice-oriented) insight. So we develop confidence that the Buddha was, in your words, telling us this is the way it is. We also know that faith/confidence (saddha) is one of the seven bojjhangas (factors of enlightenment). But we also know that investigation is another factor of enlightenment. So our faith, our belief, shouldn't be blind but should be complemented by the development of wisdom, which, is an investigative process.

And as Retro alluded, until we have developed sufficient confidence in the Buddha and the Dhamma, then we should take apply the teaching in the Apannaka Sutta (MN 60: The incontrovertible teaching).
Metta

Ben
Learn this from the waters:
in mountain clefts and chasms,
loud gush the streamlets,
but great rivers flow silently.

Taṃ nadīhi vijānātha:
sobbhesu padaresu ca,
saṇantā yanti kusobbhā,
tuṇhīyanti mahodadhī.

Sutta Nipata 3.725


Compassionate Hands Foundation (Buddhist aid in Myanmar) • Buddhist Global ReliefUNHCR
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Re: Do you believe in rebirth?

Postby clw_uk » Sun Jul 05, 2009 12:53 pm

Ben wrote:Dear Bhante,

appicchato wrote:
pink_trike wrote:I _don't know_ and hold no unknowing beliefs. What could I possibly base a belief in literal rebirth on?

Isn't 'unknowing beliefs' an oxymoron?...and, like most everything else, 'belief' comes in varying shapes and sizes...I base my 'belief' (with a size and shape I'd have difficulty defining, probably because I don't try to) on the matter because the Buddha (so we're told) said this is the way it is: the endless cycle of birth, old age, sickness, and death...


I think you make a very good point. At some point on our path we come to the conclusion that the Buddha was a 'truth teller' based on our own understanding of the Dhamma and the verification of wisdom that is derived from direct meditative (practice-oriented) insight. So we develop confidence that the Buddha was, in your words, telling us this is the way it is. We also know that faith/confidence (saddha) is one of the seven bojjhangas (factors of enlightenment). But we also know that investigation is another factor of enlightenment. So our faith, our belief, shouldn't be blind but should be complemented by the development of wisdom, which, is an investigative process.

And as Retro alluded, until we have developed sufficient confidence in the Buddha and the Dhamma, then we should take apply the teaching in the Apannaka Sutta (MN 60: The incontrovertible teaching).
Metta

Ben


Wont there be a difference in interpretation of what that truth meant?
“ 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 » Sun Jul 05, 2009 1:55 pm

acinteyyo wrote:When it comes to rebirth, it reminds me that very often that word "rebirth" appears to be taken for granted and everyone knows what exactly is meant.

It is taken for granted that what is meant is what the Buddha taught.

"I recollected my manifold past lives, i.e., one birth, two... five, ten... fifty, a hundred, a thousand, a hundred thousand, many eons of cosmic contraction, many eons of cosmic expansion, many eons of cosmic contraction & expansion: 'There I had such a name, belonged to such a clan, had such an appearance. Such was my food, such my experience of pleasure & pain, such the end of my life. Passing away from that state, I re-arose there. There too I had such a name, belonged to such a clan, had such an appearance. Such was my food, such my experience of pleasure & pain, such the end of my life. Passing away from that state, I re-arose here.' Thus I remembered my manifold past lives in their modes & details."
- Peter

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Re: Do you believe in rebirth?

Postby acinteyyo » Sun Jul 05, 2009 2:43 pm

Peter wrote:
acinteyyo wrote:When it comes to rebirth, it reminds me that very often that word "rebirth" appears to be taken for granted and everyone knows what exactly is meant.

It is taken for granted that what is meant is what the Buddha taught.

"I recollected my manifold past lives, i.e., one birth, two... five, ten... fifty, a hundred, a thousand, a hundred thousand, many eons of cosmic contraction, many eons of cosmic expansion, many eons of cosmic contraction & expansion: 'There I had such a name, belonged to such a clan, had such an appearance. Such was my food, such my experience of pleasure & pain, such the end of my life. Passing away from that state, I re-arose there. There too I had such a name, belonged to such a clan, had such an appearance. Such was my food, such my experience of pleasure & pain, such the end of my life. Passing away from that state, I re-arose here.' Thus I remembered my manifold past lives in their modes & details."


You're right. I may be wrong but I find that mostly people don't mean what the buddha taught when talking about rebirth. They mean what they suppose that rebirth might be and mostly it doesn't match with what the buddha taught. I know that my opinion assumes/requires (don't know exactly which word should be used here) that I know correctly what the buddha taught about rebirth and my understanding matches completely with the teaching. And I'm aware of that, thus my opinion could be the only reason why I find that mostly people don't mean what the buddha taugth. So I might be wrong or right depending on my understanding. That's why I'm asking what others mean when they talk about rebirth to clarify and to compare with what I think what's the meaning of rebirth according to the buddhas teaching. Only then an adequate communication is possible.
best wishes
Pubbe cāhaṃ bhikkhave, etarahi ca dukkhañceva paññāpemi, dukkhassa ca nirodhaṃ. (M.22)
Api cāhaṃ, āvuso, imasmiṃyeva byāmamatte kaḷevare, sasaññimhi samanake lokañca paññāpemi lokasamudayañca lokanirodhañca lokanirodhagāminiñca paṭipadan. (AN4.45)

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Re: Do you believe in rebirth?

Postby kc2dpt » Sun Jul 05, 2009 3:09 pm

uniformsquare wrote:It seems I am the only one that has chosen, Don't know/not sure. I am told by others this is true but I am yet to verify this for myself.

If you had verified it for yourself, then it would not be belief. The question was not "Do you know for a fact that rebirth is true?"
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