the great rebirth debate

An open and inclusive investigation into Buddhism and spiritual cultivation

Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby Raitanator » Tue Jan 01, 2013 12:11 pm

nibbuti wrote:That is also the reason why some people, who their whole life were very faithful in the fairness of God, when some loved one dies unexpectedly, loose their faith in God. Fairness or equality (of Kamma, God, government, 'good rebirth' or any outer entanglement) cannot be guaranteed.

The only sure thing in life is impermanence, as the saying goes.

:broke:


I think negative or positive reincarnation can be guaranteed by one's actions, whatever those might be. Otherwise there wouldn't be much point of doing positive actions, from my limited, selfish point of view. I guess, the main difference (rouhgly said) between hindus and buddhist interpretations of karma is this "guaranteed" succesfulness. In addition, how fatalistic karma is viewed. Hindu servant might just accept his fate, because of it's the karma afterall. Buddhist might not accept it, because in his belief, being a servant who's treated like mattress creates habitual tendencies to be in that very state in future, too.
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Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby Aloka » Tue Jan 01, 2013 12:29 pm

I've mentioned this talk by Ajahn Amaro about kamma somewhere else - but its definately worth listening to, if anyone is willing to listen to what a Theravada abbot has to say :

"Who's pulling the strings"

http://www.blubrry.com/amaravatitalks1/1536590/who-is-pulling-the-strings-ajahn-amaro-sunday-talk-2012/
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Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby alan... » Wed Jan 02, 2013 11:09 pm

to those who maintain or suggest that the buddha was using skillful means and that rebirth is not real: how does this fit in with his teaching that arahants cannot say anything that is not true?

i suppose if you think he was lying for skillful means then maybe that was a lie too? he was lying when he said arahants cannot lie? if this is the case then we really have no idea what he was telling the truth about and what was skillful means, right?

wouldn't it be much more reasonable to assume he never said anything that is not true as opposed to making blind assumptions that he lied sometimes but also taught at all times that lying is not something enlightened ones do... but that that could be another lie? once we make the buddha into someone who lies, simply so that we may explain a part of the dhamma that is not totally understood, it severely affects literally everything else in the dhamma.

i understand other debates on rebirth but this one just seems absurd. i appreciate ideas like:

"perhaps rebirth was added by others, not the buddha."

i would even appreciate something off the wall like:

"the buddha was enlightened and taught how to reach nibbana which is mental freedom. nibbana is real. rebirth is not real but he didn't know that because he was tripping out when he saw his past lives due to starvation and a sudden uptake of carbohydrates and protien causing such and such chemicals in his brain, blah blah blah, hallucinations of past lives. however after the hallucination subsided he was still able to maintain his mental freedom and teach others to reach the same state but never learned that the past lives was just a bad trip."

or even a total wash like:

"the whole thing is made up. it's all a big joke."

all of those are more plausible than the skillful means thing.

so don't get me wrong. i don't think the debate is a bad thing, it's a very valid idea to discuss. i just don't understand how anyone could possibly consider this "skillful means" idea with any seriousness. not to mention the whole skillful means thing is a mahayana idea and i don't believe it exists in the pali canon. it's a lotus sutra thing and surely other places but i think it's long after theravada closed their canon. "skillful means: do whatever you want as long as it leads to nibbbana." come on, that attitude is so far from anything in the pali canon it's nuts.

i don't get it.
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Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby daverupa » Wed Jan 02, 2013 11:36 pm

alan... wrote:to those who maintain or suggest that the buddha was using skillful means and that rebirth is not real


This is a combination not considered, below: that words might be unfactual, untrue, but beneficial:

MN 58 wrote:[1] In the case of words that the Tathagata knows to be unfactual, untrue, unbeneficial (or: not connected with the goal), unendearing & disagreeable to others, he does not say them.

[2] In the case of words that the Tathagata knows to be factual, true, unbeneficial, unendearing & disagreeable to others, he does not say them.

[3] In the case of words that the Tathagata knows to be factual, true, beneficial, but unendearing & disagreeable to others, he has a sense of the proper time for saying them.

[4] In the case of words that the Tathagata knows to be unfactual, untrue, unbeneficial, but endearing & agreeable to others, he does not say them.

[5] In the case of words that the Tathagata knows to be factual, true, unbeneficial, but endearing & agreeable to others, he does not say them.

[6] In the case of words that the Tathagata knows to be factual, true, beneficial, and endearing & agreeable to others, he has a sense of the proper time for saying them. Why is that? Because the Tathagata has sympathy for living beings."


Can we say the absence is due to it being considered obviously impossible?

---

EDITs: clarity
Last edited by daverupa on Thu Jan 03, 2013 12:07 am, edited 2 times in total.
    "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 Aloka » Wed Jan 02, 2013 11:49 pm

alan... wrote: not to mention the whole skillful means thing is a mahayana idea and i don't believe it exists in the pali canon. it's a lotus sutra thing and surely other places but i think it's long after theravada closed their canon. "skillful means: do whatever you want as long as it leads to nibbbana." come on, that attitude is so far from anything in the pali canon it's nuts.


The Pali word "Upaya" = "Skillful means. Using different resources to realise the teachings of the Buddha."

(from the glossary of "The Sound of Silence" by Ajahn Sumedho - Theravada Thai Forest Tradition Abbot )

.
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Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby alan... » Thu Jan 03, 2013 1:47 am

daverupa wrote:
alan... wrote:to those who maintain or suggest that the buddha was using skillful means and that rebirth is not real


This is a combination not considered, below: that words might be unfactual, untrue, but beneficial:

MN 58 wrote:[1] In the case of words that the Tathagata knows to be unfactual, untrue, unbeneficial (or: not connected with the goal), unendearing & disagreeable to others, he does not say them.

[2] In the case of words that the Tathagata knows to be factual, true, unbeneficial, unendearing & disagreeable to others, he does not say them.

[3] In the case of words that the Tathagata knows to be factual, true, beneficial, but unendearing & disagreeable to others, he has a sense of the proper time for saying them.

[4] In the case of words that the Tathagata knows to be unfactual, untrue, unbeneficial, but endearing & agreeable to others, he does not say them.

[5] In the case of words that the Tathagata knows to be factual, true, unbeneficial, but endearing & agreeable to others, he does not say them.

[6] In the case of words that the Tathagata knows to be factual, true, beneficial, and endearing & agreeable to others, he has a sense of the proper time for saying them. Why is that? Because the Tathagata has sympathy for living beings."


Can we say the absence is due to it being considered obviously impossible?

---

EDITs: clarity


yes, exactly. this and many other suttas where he says similar things.
Last edited by alan... on Thu Jan 03, 2013 1:56 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby alan... » Thu Jan 03, 2013 1:54 am

Aloka wrote:
alan... wrote: not to mention the whole skillful means thing is a mahayana idea and i don't believe it exists in the pali canon. it's a lotus sutra thing and surely other places but i think it's long after theravada closed their canon. "skillful means: do whatever you want as long as it leads to nibbbana." come on, that attitude is so far from anything in the pali canon it's nuts.


The Pali word "Upaya" = "Skillful means. Using different resources to realise the teachings of the Buddha."

(from the glossary of "The Sound of Silence" by Ajahn Sumedho - Theravada Thai Forest Tradition Abbot )

.


i realize that, my definition was a playful version of the definition referencing what skillful means entails in the mahayana tradition. your definition surely is correct but that's not how the term is used in the mahayana. according to the lotus sutra lying is openly accepted as long as it leads to nirvana. this is quite the opposite of the buddha flat out saying that enlightened ones do not have the ability to lie.

""On this speech of the venerable Sâriputra the Lord said to him the following: Have I not told thee before, Sâriputra, that the Tathâgata preaches the law by able devices, varying directions and indications, fundamental ideas, interpretations, with due regard to the different dispositions and inclinations of creatures whose temperaments are so various? All his preachings of the law have no other end but supreme and perfect enlightenment, for which he is rousing beings to the Bodhisattva-course. But, Sâriputra, to elucidate this matter more at large, I will tell thee a parable, for men of good understanding will generally readily enough catch the meaning of what is taught under the shape of a parable...

Shariputra, suppose that in a certain town in a certain country there was a very rich man. He was far along in years and his wealth was beyond measure. He had many fields, houses and menservants. His own house was big and rambling, but it had only one gate. A great many people--a hundred, two hundred, perhaps as many as five hundred--lived in the house. The halls and rooms were old and decaying, the walls crumbling, the pillars rotten at their base, and the beams and rafters crooked and aslant. At that time a fire suddenly broke out on all sides, spreading through the rooms of the house. The sons of the rich man, ten, twenty perhaps thirty, were inside the house. When the rich man saw the huge flames leaping up on every side, he was greatly alarmed and fearful and thought to himself, I can escape to safety through the flaming gate, but my sons are inside the burning house enjoying themselves and playing games, unaware, unknowing, without alarm or fear. The fire is closing in on them, suffering and pain threaten them, yet their minds have no sense of loathing or peril and they do not think of trying to escape! "Shariputra, this rich man thought to himself, I have strength in my body and arms. I can wrap them in a robe or place them on a bench and carry them out of the house. And then again he thought, this house has only one gate, and moreover it is narrow and small. My sons are very young, they have no understanding, and they love their games, being so engrossed in them that they are likely to be burned in the fire. I must explain to them why I am fearful and alarmed. The house is already in flames and I must get them out quickly and not let them be burned up in the fire! Having thought in this way, he followed his plan and called to all his sons, saying, 'You must come out at once!" But though the father was moved by pity and gave good words of instruction, the sons were absorbed in their games and unwilling to heed them. They had no alarm, no fright, and in the end no mind to leave the house. Moreover, they did not understand what the fire was, what the house was, what the danger was. They merely raced about this way and that in play and looked at their father without heeding him. "At that time the rich man had this thought: the house is already in flames from this huge fire. If I and my sons do not get out at once, we are certain to be burned. I must now invent some expedient means that will make it possible for the children to escape harm. The father understood his sons and knew what various toys and curious objects each child customarily liked and what would delight them. And so he said to them, 'The kind of playthings you like are rare and hard to find. If you do not take them when you can, you will surely regret it later. For example, things like these goat-carts, deer-carts and ox-carts. They are outside the gate now where you can play with them. So you must come out of this burning house at once. Then whatever ones you want, I will give them all to you!' "At that time, when the sons heard their father telling them about these rare playthings, because such things were just what they had wanted, each felt emboldened in heart and, pushing and shoving one another, they all came wildly dashing out of the burning house.[5]"

-http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Upaya

this seems a reasonable scenario, however if a buddha literally cannot lie then this scenario could never involve an enlightened one and therefore is pointless as an example. if a non enlightened person lies while attempting to help someone reach nibbana then who is to say for sure if they are correct in their actions? they are not enlightened, how can they know it is appropriate and definitely leading to nibbana? let alone know whether or not it is worth breaking a precept?

when someone says or implies something like: "rebirth is not true, the buddha simply used it as skillful means to guide people to nibbana." this is what they're talking about, lying to guide people to nibbana. in the pali canon this is simply not something that happens and indeed the buddha clearly says that this is not possible for an enlightened person.
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Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby Raitanator » Thu Jan 03, 2013 2:29 am

If rebirth would be a big lie, I think Siddhartha wouldn't have gone so far and state neglecticing rebirth and karma as a wrong view.

Two proponents that selves in their current rebirth state and the universe have no cause. The Pali version explains that they assert that these occur just by chance.


http://www.berzinarchives.com/web/en/archives/sutra/level4_deepening_understanding_path/interferences/sixty_wrong_views.html

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Up%C4%81d%C4%81na
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Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby Papashaw » Thu Jan 03, 2013 6:38 am

One question I will toss in and I wonder is, the Buddha states the beings residing in hell number in the grains of dirt on earth if compared to the beings on earth who number in a few grains. Similar analogies are used for animals who number in blades of grass and ghosts who number in the pieces of sand.

So by definition almost 99% of all sentient beings are hellbeings with the other 1% being humans, devas, other creatures, etc. The most common state of the ENTIRE phenomena of conscious existence is pure torture with very little chance of any parole
(turtle in the ocean analogy, so somewhere in 1 in 10^99999.....kalpas/eons or trillion years).

Some nightmarish fuel indeed.
What anyone say to this theory?

(Not hypothesis or fact, remember biology class ok? a theory based on the Buddhas recorded word if every he says is to be true and understood as one understands a instructor.)
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Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby cooran » Thu Jan 03, 2013 6:45 am

Hello Papashaw,

Could you give a link to where the Buddha says this please?

This might help:
The Simile of the One-eyed Turtle
In the Bālapandita Sutta — the Discourse on the Foolish and the Wise — (Majjhimanikāya, Sutta 129) the Buddha describes the suffering of the animal kingdom, giving the Simile of the One-eyed Turtle to illustrate just how difficult it is to regain human rebirth, once one is reborn in the animal realm.
“O monks, I will give you a simile. A man makes a hole in a log and sets it adrift in the ocean. When the wind comes from the east the log drifts westwards. When the wind blows from the west, it drifts eastward. Similarly, north winds push it to the south, and south winds push it to the north. In the ocean is a one-eyed turtle that surfaces only once every hundred years. Is it possible that the one-eyed turtle would put its head up through the hole in the log?”
The monks replied that normally it would be impossible, but in the infinite duration of samsāra a chance might occur. Yet it would be very difficult for the one-eyed turtle to meet up with the drifting log. Then the Buddha explained.
“Monks this rare chance, this freak occurrence is possible, but for a bad man who is reborn as an animal or in hell to become a human being again is rarer and more difficult.”
Human status is exceedingly rare. Once this rare chance is gone, one finds the greatest difficulty to be reborn again as a human being. Why? In the lower realms no opportunities exist for the performance of wholesome deeds. So, lacking good conduct, a being in the lower realms has to suffer for countless world cycles. Those reborn in the animal kingdom have to struggle for existence, preying upon each other. Animals do mostly harmful deeds with their low intelligence — the strong persecuting the weak. So there is little chance for them to be reborn in the human world. The lowest probability exists for them to upgrade themselves.
For a one-eyed turtle wandering in the ocean to encounter the hole in the log is possible only if the log never rots, and only if the turtle lives for billions of years. Yet a much smaller chance exists for a being in the lower realms to achieve human status again, for very few wholesome kammas are possible in the lower realms. This is explained in the commentary. In the four lower realms of existence a sentient being knows nothing of the value of almsgiving, keeping moral precepts, or practising meditation. Lower beings who find themselves lacking wholesome kamma are further hampered by the lack of opportunities to do good. Observe the daily behaviour of dogs, cats, sheep, birds, fish, and other animals. Their moral sense is very limited, so they have little chance to do good. They usually do only unwholesome deeds.

http://www.aimwell.org/Books/Pesala/Pre ... cious.html

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Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby alan... » Thu Jan 03, 2013 6:50 am

Papashaw wrote:One question I will toss in and I wonder is, the Buddha states the beings residing in hell number in the grains of dirt on earth if compared to the beings on earth who number in a few grains. Similar analogies are used for animals who number in blades of grass and ghosts who number in the pieces of sand.

So by definition almost 99% of all sentient beings are hellbeings with the other 1% being humans, devas, other creatures, etc. The most common state of the ENTIRE phenomena of conscious existence is pure torture with very little chance of any parole
(turtle in the ocean analogy, so somewhere in 1 in 10^99999.....kalpas/eons or trillion years).

Some nightmarish fuel indeed.
What anyone say to this theory?

(Not hypothesis or fact, remember biology class ok? a theory based on the Buddhas recorded word if every he says is to be true and understood as one understands a instructor.)


quote please, sutta number and nikaya?

i know the turtle one, that one doesn't specify numbers about the ratio of beings in each realm though.

also if we're going just off of earth that leaves out all other existences in this "ten thousand fold world system" which surely includes more than just our little planet.
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Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby Aloka » Thu Jan 03, 2013 8:57 am

alan... wrote:i realize that, my definition was a playful version of the definition referencing what skillful means entails in the mahayana tradition. your definition surely is correct but that's not how the term is used in the mahayana. according to the lotus sutra lying is openly accepted as long as it leads to nirvana. this is quite the opposite of the buddha flat out saying that enlightened ones do not have the ability to lie


Ok - well personally I'm not interested in later texts such as the lotus sutra, so I'll say no more.

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Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby alan... » Thu Jan 03, 2013 4:33 pm

Aloka wrote:
alan... wrote:i realize that, my definition was a playful version of the definition referencing what skillful means entails in the mahayana tradition. your definition surely is correct but that's not how the term is used in the mahayana. according to the lotus sutra lying is openly accepted as long as it leads to nirvana. this is quite the opposite of the buddha flat out saying that enlightened ones do not have the ability to lie


Ok - well personally I'm not interested in later texts such as the lotus sutra, so I'll say no more.

:anjali:

neither am I. And we are on a theravada forum. That is the point of my post. why are people using this mahayana definition of the word on a theravada forum to explain something about theravada texts?
alan.... wrote:not to mention the whole skillful means thing is a mahayana idea and i don't believe it exists in the pali canon. it's a lotus sutra thing and surely other places but i think it's long after theravada closed their canon. "skillful means: do whatever you want as long as it leads to nibbbana." come on, that attitude is so far from anything in the pali canon it's nuts.
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Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby Sambojjhanga » Thu Jan 03, 2013 5:38 pm

alan... wrote:
Aloka wrote:
alan... wrote:i realize that, my definition was a playful version of the definition referencing what skillful means entails in the mahayana tradition. your definition surely is correct but that's not how the term is used in the mahayana. according to the lotus sutra lying is openly accepted as long as it leads to nirvana. this is quite the opposite of the buddha flat out saying that enlightened ones do not have the ability to lie


Ok - well personally I'm not interested in later texts such as the lotus sutra, so I'll say no more.

:anjali:

neither am I. And we are on a theravada forum. That is the point of my post. why are people using this mahayana definition of the word on a theravada forum to explain something about theravada texts?
alan.... wrote:not to mention the whole skillful means thing is a mahayana idea and i don't believe it exists in the pali canon. it's a lotus sutra thing and surely other places but i think it's long after theravada closed their canon. "skillful means: do whatever you want as long as it leads to nibbbana." come on, that attitude is so far from anything in the pali canon it's nuts.


Alan...I couldn't agree with you more! If you want my opinion, it's not possible to read the Pali Canon and come to ANY other conclusion except that the Buddha was talking about REAL rebirth.

The only way around this for the extremist position of being both a Buddhist and a disbeliever (not agnostic, mind you, but DISBELIEF) in rebirth is to some how prove that the Buddha lies when it suits his purposes to get us to release. Of course, this is idiotic, but ego and its incessant need to "one-up" and to always be right is never-ending (even though death ;)

Metta

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Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby Papashaw » Thu Jan 03, 2013 6:05 pm

alan... wrote:
Papashaw wrote:One question I will toss in and I wonder is, the Buddha states the beings residing in hell number in the grains of dirt on earth if compared to the beings on earth who number in a few grains. Similar analogies are used for animals who number in blades of grass and ghosts who number in the pieces of sand.

So by definition almost 99% of all sentient beings are hellbeings with the other 1% being humans, devas, other creatures, etc. The most common state of the ENTIRE phenomena of conscious existence is pure torture with very little chance of any parole
(turtle in the ocean analogy, so somewhere in 1 in 10^99999.....kalpas/eons or trillion years).

Some nightmarish fuel indeed.
What anyone say to this theory?

(Not hypothesis or fact, remember biology class ok? a theory based on the Buddhas recorded word if every he says is to be true and understood as one understands a instructor.)


quote please, sutta number and nikaya?

i know the turtle one, that one doesn't specify numbers about the ratio of beings in each realm though.

also if we're going just off of earth that leaves out all other existences in this "ten thousand fold world system" which surely includes more than just our little planet.


SN 56.48 for the turtle one, and SN 56.102-113 for the dust analogy. I also read Ledi Sayadaw's description of how avici is as numerous with beings as a bamboo tube stuffed with mustard seeds. Universe is really without refuge or fairness! To think beings are naturally dispersed in each realms through some bell curve percentile, the idea of equal opportunity for good and evil naturally depositing equal amounts in most realms, except the higher Jhanic deva levels, is not!
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Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby alan... » Thu Jan 03, 2013 8:42 pm

Papashaw wrote:
alan... wrote:
Papashaw wrote:One question I will toss in and I wonder is, the Buddha states the beings residing in hell number in the grains of dirt on earth if compared to the beings on earth who number in a few grains. Similar analogies are used for animals who number in blades of grass and ghosts who number in the pieces of sand.

So by definition almost 99% of all sentient beings are hellbeings with the other 1% being humans, devas, other creatures, etc. The most common state of the ENTIRE phenomena of conscious existence is pure torture with very little chance of any parole
(turtle in the ocean analogy, so somewhere in 1 in 10^99999.....kalpas/eons or trillion years).

Some nightmarish fuel indeed.
What anyone say to this theory?

(Not hypothesis or fact, remember biology class ok? a theory based on the Buddhas recorded word if every he says is to be true and understood as one understands a instructor.)


quote please, sutta number and nikaya?

i know the turtle one, that one doesn't specify numbers about the ratio of beings in each realm though.

also if we're going just off of earth that leaves out all other existences in this "ten thousand fold world system" which surely includes more than just our little planet.


SN 56.48 for the turtle one, and SN 56.102-113 for the dust analogy. I also read Ledi Sayadaw's description of how avici is as numerous with beings as a bamboo tube stuffed with mustard seeds. Universe is really without refuge or fairness! To think beings are naturally dispersed in each realms through some bell curve percentile, the idea of equal opportunity for good and evil naturally depositing equal amounts in most realms, except the higher Jhanic deva levels, is not!


thanks! indeed, it seems he certainly said it. okay then, considering how many people actually even attempt to follow the precepts though this is not surprising. most people are quite fine with killing, lying, and using intoxicants. probably the vast majority of people break those precepts on a daily basis. so there you go, not to mention the other precepts which are broken with great frequency as well, just not as often. and "devas" don't care about anything so they go down due to utter lack of effort.

however the buddha says many many times in the canon that those who at least put forth some effort to keep the precepts will be reborn in a good state. and all variation on ideas like that. mostly he says good go up, bad go down in the way one would hope: if someone is mostly good they go up, mostly bad, down.

however every now and then he says scary things that imply that even a really good person who makes even a seemingly small transgression will go down. but the majority is closer to what i wrote above. at least in my readings.
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Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby Papashaw » Thu Jan 03, 2013 9:51 pm

alan... wrote:
thanks! indeed, it seems he certainly said it. okay then, considering how many people actually even attempt to follow the precepts though this is not surprising. most people are quite fine with killing, lying, and using intoxicants. probably the vast majority of people break those precepts on a daily basis. so there you go, not to mention the other precepts which are broken with great frequency as well, just not as often. and "devas" don't care about anything so they go down due to utter lack of effort.

however the buddha says many many times in the canon that those who at least put forth some effort to keep the precepts will be reborn in a good state. and all variation on ideas like that. mostly he says good go up, bad go down in the way one would hope: if someone is mostly good they go up, mostly bad, down.

however every now and then he says scary things that imply that even a really good person who makes even a seemingly small transgression will go down. but the majority is closer to what i wrote above. at least in my readings.


The main implication of those parables is the idea that the average sentient being is a hell being, that the most common existence is medieval torture. If a being from some alternate dimension with different universal laws came to visit us and asked how most of us lived, we would point at hell and claim that is where and how our residents, except a few, usually live.

EDIT*: Scratch that, it is a parable, maybe it means that could be the state of the universe simply because [it could happen so easily], but it does not. The human population grows, we outlaw murder in most of the world, people are less likely to be caught in warfare, liberal thinkers and easier access to education, we are perhaps lucky to be alive with the internet allowing such easy access to Dharma. It could dive into a trough as all things, but the world is not deterministic, we can control things to a certain extent; as for the existence and nature of hell, (the descriptions of kalpas of torture), no one should see as being just or deserved. It can harm my conscious, unlike the western atheist who will not take it seriously or the one who finds delight in this perverted justice.

A lot of these have morality we are unfamiliar with until learning them after our original ones. The idea that murdering a parent is worse than murdering perhaps millions, that slander can be worse than physical abuse, that "hate crimes" do sort of exist and are worse because of intention, people deserve respect based on age and position over achievements, presents an easily stereotyped view of eastern countries.
Last edited by Papashaw on Fri Jan 04, 2013 2:11 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby alan... » Thu Jan 03, 2013 11:09 pm

Papashaw wrote:
alan... wrote:
thanks! indeed, it seems he certainly said it. okay then, considering how many people actually even attempt to follow the precepts though this is not surprising. most people are quite fine with killing, lying, and using intoxicants. probably the vast majority of people break those precepts on a daily basis. so there you go, not to mention the other precepts which are broken with great frequency as well, just not as often. and "devas" don't care about anything so they go down due to utter lack of effort.

however the buddha says many many times in the canon that those who at least put forth some effort to keep the precepts will be reborn in a good state. and all variation on ideas like that. mostly he says good go up, bad go down in the way one would hope: if someone is mostly good they go up, mostly bad, down.

however every now and then he says scary things that imply that even a really good person who makes even a seemingly small transgression will go down. but the majority is closer to what i wrote above. at least in my readings.


The main implication of those parables is the idea that the average sentient being is a hell being, that the most common existence is medieval torture. If a being from some alternate dimension with different universal laws came to visit us and asked how most of us lived, we would point at hell and claim that is where and how our residents, except a few, usually live.

EDIT*: Scratch that, it is a parable, maybe it means that could be the state of the universe simply because it could happen so easily, but it does not. The human population grows, we outlaw murder in most of the world, people are less likely to be caught in warfare, liberal thinkers and easier access to education, we are perhaps lucky to be alive with the internet allowing such easy access to Dharma. It could dive into a trough as all things, but the world is not deterministic, we can control things to a certain extent; as for the existence and nature of hell, (the descriptions of kalpas of torture), no one should see as being just or deserved. It can harm my conscious, unlike the western atheist who will not take it seriously or the one who finds delight in this perverted justice.

A lot of these have morality we are unfamiliar with until learning them after our original ones. The idea that murdering a parent is worse than murdering perhaps millions, that slander can be worse than physical abuse, that "hate crimes" do sort of exist and are worse because of intention, people deserve respect based on age and position over achievements, presents an easily stereotyped view of eastern countries.


interesting. with the absurd surge in population perhaps the buddha was talking about the present time for him (500 BCE) and today there are a lot more people born in the human realm since morality is higher than it was in ancient times. couple this idea with the idea that the "human realm" may comprise many planets, not just earth, and we have a much higher number of beings being born in the human realm. perhaps more like 5% or even 10% which seems a lot better than 1%.
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Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby ancientbuddhism » Sun Jan 06, 2013 8:09 pm

Sambojjhanga wrote:The only way around this for the extremist position of being both a Buddhist and a disbeliever (not agnostic, mind you, but DISBELIEF) in rebirth is to some how prove that the Buddha lies when it suits his purposes to get us to release. Of course, this is idiotic, but ego and its incessant need to "one-up" and to always be right is never-ending (even though death)


In the main, rebirth is not a requisite of liberating contemplative praxis, but rather is set in the framework of reflection on saṃsāra, which relates to both present and multiple life-cycle scenarios. The onus, for or against, falls equally on both sides.

For the agnostic the matter is simple and easeful. It is a question of relevance to ones cognitive range. From this perspective one can let rebirth lay right where it is in the dustbin with other anomalies such as:

“…He appears. He vanishes. He goes unimpeded through walls, ramparts, and mountains as if through space. He dives in and out of the earth as if it were water. He walks on water without sinking as if it were dry land. Sitting crosslegged he flies through the air like a winged bird. With his hand he touches and strokes even the sun and moon, so mighty and powerful. He exercises influence with his body even as far as the Brahma worlds. He can witness this for himself whenever there is an opening. …” (AN. 5.28).
Fingers walk the darkness down
Mind is on the midnight
Gather up the gold you've found
You fool, it's only moonlight.
If you try to take it home
Your hands will turn to butter
You better leave this dream alone
Try to find another. – Townes Van Zandt ‘Lungs’

Secure your own mask before assisting others. – NORTHWEST AIRLINES (Pre-Flight Instruction)

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Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby Alex123 » Sun Jan 06, 2013 8:28 pm

alan... wrote:interesting. with the absurd surge in population perhaps the buddha was talking about the present time for him (500 BCE) and today there are a lot more people born in the human realm since morality is higher than it was in ancient times. couple this idea with the idea that the "human realm" may comprise many planets, not just earth, and we have a much higher number of beings being born in the human realm. perhaps more like 5% or even 10% which seems a lot better than 1%.


Maybe today more Devas are being downgraded as humans. So more humans does not mean that overally beings morality improves.,
"dust to dust...."
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