the great rebirth debate

An open and inclusive investigation into Buddhism and spiritual cultivation

Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby Aloka » Sun Jan 06, 2013 8:49 pm

Alex123 wrote:
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.,


Hi guys,

No offence intended - but I can't help thinking MN2 might be applicable to such speculation :

"This is how he attends inappropriately: 'Was I in the past? Was I not in the past? What was I in the past? How was I in the past? Having been what, what was I in the past? Shall I be in the future? Shall I not be in the future? What shall I be in the future? How shall I be in the future? Having been what, what shall I be in the future?'

Or else he is inwardly perplexed about the immediate present: 'Am I? Am I not? What am I? How am I? Where has this being come from? Where is it bound?'

"As he attends inappropriately in this way, one of six kinds of view arises in him:

The view I have a self arises in him as true & established, or the view I have no self... or the view It is precisely by means of self that I perceive self... or the view It is precisely by means of self that I perceive not-self... or the view It is precisely by means of not-self that I perceive self arises in him as true & established, or else he has a view like this: This very self of mine — the knower that is sensitive here & there to the ripening of good & bad actions — is the self of mine that is constant, everlasting, eternal, not subject to change, and will stay just as it is for eternity.

This is called a thicket of views, a wilderness of views, a contortion of views, a writhing of views, a fetter of views. Bound by a fetter of views, the uninstructed run-of-the-mill person is not freed from birth, aging, & death, from sorrow, lamentation, pain, distress, & despair. He is not freed, I tell you, from suffering & stress

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/mn/mn.002.than.html


Kind regards,

Aloka
User avatar
Aloka
 
Posts: 3641
Joined: Wed Jan 21, 2009 2:51 pm

Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby Spiny Norman » Mon Jan 07, 2013 2:46 pm

ancientbuddhism wrote:For the agnostic the matter is simple and easeful. .... From this perspective one can let rebirth lay right where it is in the dustbin with other anomalies such as:


Putting teachings you don't like in the "dustbin" sounds much more like skepticism than agnosticism.
Mrs. Bun: Have you got anything without spam in it?
Waitress: Well, there's spam, egg, sausage and spam. That's not got MUCH spam in it.
User avatar
Spiny Norman
 
Posts: 2666
Joined: Fri Mar 05, 2010 10:32 am
Location: Spam, wonderful spam

Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby Spiny Norman » Mon Jan 07, 2013 2:50 pm

Sambojjhanga wrote: 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.


That's the impression I have, and IMO talk about "moment-to-moment" rebirth is a fudge. Having said that, I think there are questions about why the Buddha taught rebirth and how it is relevant to daily practice.
Mrs. Bun: Have you got anything without spam in it?
Waitress: Well, there's spam, egg, sausage and spam. That's not got MUCH spam in it.
User avatar
Spiny Norman
 
Posts: 2666
Joined: Fri Mar 05, 2010 10:32 am
Location: Spam, wonderful spam

Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby nibbuti » Mon Jan 07, 2013 3:18 pm

porpoise wrote:
Sambojjhanga wrote:it's not possible to read the Pali Canon and come to ANY other conclusion except that the Buddha was talking about REAL rebirth.

I think there are questions about why the Buddha taught rebirth and how it is relevant to daily practice.

It's possible to come to many conclusions, depending on one's inclinations.

But to whom, in what context or on what level of understanding did the Buddha teach rebirth or reappearance?

Rebirth or reappearance of what? of 'being'? of 5. khanda? of not-knowing?

Why did he never describe the process in detail (unlike dependent origination of dukkha)?

:anjali:
nibbuti
 
Posts: 155
Joined: Mon Sep 03, 2012 11:36 pm
Location: Germany

Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby vinasp » Mon Jan 07, 2013 3:52 pm

Hi everyone,

I disagree with those who say that the Sutta's clearly teach literal rebirth, and that
the 'psychological' interpretation is a modern perversion. Consider the following quote,
from, What the Buddha Taught, by Walpola Rahula, page 33:

"When the Aggregates arise, decay and die, O Bhikkhu, every moment you are born, decay
and die." (note 1)

"Note 1. Prmj.I(PTS), p.78.'Khandhesu jayamanesu jiyamanesu miyamanesu ca khane khane
tvam bhikkhu jayase ca jiyase ca miyase ca.' This is quoted in the Paramatthajotika
Commentary as the Buddha's own words. So far I have not been able to trace this passage
back to its original text."

------------------------------ End Quote --------------------------------

This passage clearly uses birth, decay and death in a figurative sense. It is quoted as
the Buddha's own words, yet no such statement is found in the five Nikaya's.

This is proof that a psychological interpretation is stated explicitly in the
Commentaries.

Sambojjhanga wrote: "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."

Real rebirth from moment to moment?

Regards, Vincent.
vinasp
 
Posts: 1254
Joined: Tue Aug 18, 2009 7:49 pm
Location: Bristol. United Kingdom.

Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby daverupa » Mon Jan 07, 2013 3:57 pm

porpoise wrote:
ancientbuddhism wrote:For the agnostic the matter is simple and easeful. .... From this perspective one can let rebirth lay right where it is in the dustbin with other anomalies such as:


Putting teachings you don't like in the "dustbin" sounds much more like skepticism than agnosticism.


Saying they are in the dustbin because they "aren't liked" sounds very much like a straw man fallacy.

I understood dust bin to mean simply "category of unused content" - various things are in there for many people, including such 'teachings' as the Marks of a Great Man.

In that case, there aren't teachings about the Marks so much as there are teachings via the Marks; so too, I only see later scholastic efforts to expound a rebirth teaching, while the Nikayas simply use rebirth in order to teach.

It's a subtle difference in emphasis which I have noticed, and I can ask: was rebirth itself being taught, or was it simply being used to teach?
    "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]
User avatar
daverupa
 
Posts: 4166
Joined: Mon Jan 31, 2011 6:58 pm

Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby Sambojjhanga » Mon Jan 07, 2013 4:35 pm

My own personal viewpoint is that both literal rebirth, and moment-to-moment rebirth are real and both are talked about by the Buddha.

Those of you who reject literal rebirth, for whatever reason, I do have a question for you. How do you reconcile the idea of the 4 types of stream-enterers and the fact that all but the Arahant WILL experience rebirth (though not necessarily on the human plane?) What did the Buddha talking about here, in your opinion, if literal rebirth isn't so? I don't see how this would make sense otherwise.

Metta

:anjali:
Sabba rasam dhammaraso jinati
The flavor of the dhamma exceeds all other flavors
User avatar
Sambojjhanga
 
Posts: 110
Joined: Sat Nov 03, 2012 3:51 pm
Location: San Diego, California, USA

Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby alan... » Mon Jan 07, 2013 4:47 pm

has anyone discussed the patala sutta yet? i know i mentioned it on a thread that was combined with this one but this one clearly has more readers and is indeed a different thread, so has it been mentioned on this thread?

""Monks, when an uninstructed run-of-the-mill person makes the statement, 'There is a bottomless chasm in the ocean,' he is talking about something that doesn't exist, that can't be found. The word 'bottomless chasm' is actually a designation for painful bodily feeling.""

-SN 36.4

EDIT: to be clear this sutta is very much up for debate and interpretation. it is one of a kind as well as far as i know and does not necessarily imply anything about buddhist cosmology as a whole.
Last edited by alan... on Mon Jan 07, 2013 5:53 pm, edited 1 time in total.
alan...
 
Posts: 824
Joined: Thu Dec 06, 2012 9:37 pm

Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby Sambojjhanga » Mon Jan 07, 2013 5:19 pm

I just don't see how those who say that rebirth is ONLY psychological can square this with the many, many references in the suttas about the previous lives of the Buddha and his disciples as well as the future lives of others in the suttas. Including the issue of returner, non-returner, etc. in regards to stream-enterers.

Now, there is no doubt that rebirth occurs from moment to moment. This very fact is the key to our ability to go beyond using kamma.

What do those of you who claim that rebirth is only metaphorical or "psychological" or what-have-you thinks HAPPENS at death? What are your theories and where in the sutta and commentaries are your evidence?

Metta

:anjali:
Sabba rasam dhammaraso jinati
The flavor of the dhamma exceeds all other flavors
User avatar
Sambojjhanga
 
Posts: 110
Joined: Sat Nov 03, 2012 3:51 pm
Location: San Diego, California, USA

Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby alan... » Mon Jan 07, 2013 5:50 pm

Sambojjhanga wrote:I just don't see how those who say that rebirth is ONLY psychological can square this with the many, many references in the suttas about the previous lives of the Buddha and his disciples as well as the future lives of others in the suttas. Including the issue of returner, non-returner, etc. in regards to stream-enterers.

Now, there is no doubt that rebirth occurs from moment to moment. This very fact is the key to our ability to go beyond using kamma.

What do those of you who claim that rebirth is only metaphorical or "psychological" or what-have-you thinks HAPPENS at death? What are your theories and where in the sutta and commentaries are your evidence?

Metta

:anjali:


they can't. the only way to do this is to assume some kind of sutta corruption which casts doubt on EVERYTHING or to assume the buddha was using "skillful means" (lying). both options are quite absurd.

the only best way to get around it in my opinion is to just practice the eightfold path and work hard while leaving rebirth aside but not denying it. if some day you enter deep jhana and see past lives then great, if not, then hopefully you gain insight into not self and liberation from suffering.

we're not supposed to get caught up in speculation anyway. but these are just my thoughts. food for thought.
alan...
 
Posts: 824
Joined: Thu Dec 06, 2012 9:37 pm

Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby nibbuti » Mon Jan 07, 2013 8:38 pm

alan... wrote:we're not supposed to get caught up in speculation anyway. but these are just my thoughts.

Good thought.

:goodpost:
nibbuti
 
Posts: 155
Joined: Mon Sep 03, 2012 11:36 pm
Location: Germany

Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby Jerrod Lopes » Tue Jan 08, 2013 6:45 am

I've found that rebirth can't be seen by someone who doesn't want to know it. It's not a matter of belief anyway, it's a matter of knowledge. This knowledge doesn't make one better than the other any more than long legs or brown hair does. Knowing it is an eventuality for every living being. In my experience, anatta must be understood first. Without knowledge of non-self you don't have a clue what is reborn in the first place. If one's views are way off, then one just won't get it until they're not way off. I think, after many dozens, if not more discussions, that problem with seeing rebirth stems from still believing in an eternal soul or personality that gets passed from one being to the next. That is reincarnation, not rebirth. YOU are not reborn. If that were the case, YOU would have full recollection of all the past lives. Sorry to bust in. Be well. :smile:
User avatar
Jerrod Lopes
 
Posts: 77
Joined: Tue Jan 08, 2013 2:11 am

Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby Aloka » Tue Jan 08, 2013 10:14 am

Jerrod Lopes wrote:I've found that rebirth can't be seen by someone who doesn't want to know it. It's not a matter of belief anyway, it's a matter of knowledge. This knowledge doesn't make one better than the other any more than long legs or brown hair does. Knowing it is an eventuality for every living being. In my experience, anatta must be understood first. Without knowledge of non-self you don't have a clue what is reborn in the first place. If one's views are way off, then one just won't get it until they're not way off. I think, after many dozens, if not more discussions, that problem with seeing rebirth stems from still believing in an eternal soul or personality that gets passed from one being to the next. That is reincarnation, not rebirth. YOU are not reborn. If that were the case, YOU would have full recollection of all the past lives. Sorry to bust in. Be well. :smile:



OK... please explain clearly and without waffling, from your own knowledge, the step-by-step details of the process of rebirth when someone dies, for the benefit of those members who can understand anatta (not-self).

Many thanks. :anjali:
User avatar
Aloka
 
Posts: 3641
Joined: Wed Jan 21, 2009 2:51 pm

Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby vinasp » Tue Jan 08, 2013 1:01 pm

Hi everyone,

This passage from SN 22.46 is interesting:

"Bhikkhus, form is impermanent ... feeling is impermanent ... perception
is impermanent ... volitional formations are impermanent ... consciousness
is impermanent. What is impermanent is suffering. What is suffering is
nonself. What is nonself should be seen as it really is with correct
wisdom thus: 'This is not mine, this I am not, this is not my self.'

"When one sees this thus as it really is with correct wisdom, one holds
no more views concerning the past. When one holds no more views concerning
the past, one holds no more views concerning the future. When one holds no
more views concerning the future, one has no more obstinate grasping. ..."

[BB, TCDB, page 885, part of SN 22.46]

So, those who see with correct wisdom hold no views about the past or the future.

How, then, can they believe what the teachings say about (literal) rebirth?

Regards, Vincent.
vinasp
 
Posts: 1254
Joined: Tue Aug 18, 2009 7:49 pm
Location: Bristol. United Kingdom.

Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby vitaminCvitaminDO » Tue Jan 08, 2013 1:21 pm

vinasp wrote:Hi everyone,

This passage from SN 22.46 is interesting:

"Bhikkhus, form is impermanent ... feeling is impermanent ... perception
is impermanent ... volitional formations are impermanent ... consciousness
is impermanent. What is impermanent is suffering. What is suffering is
nonself. What is nonself should be seen as it really is with correct
wisdom thus: 'This is not mine, this I am not, this is not my self.'

"When one sees this thus as it really is with correct wisdom, one holds
no more views concerning the past. When one holds no more views concerning
the past, one holds no more views concerning the future. When one holds no
more views concerning the future, one has no more obstinate grasping. ..."

[BB, TCDB, page 885, part of SN 22.46]

So, those who see with correct wisdom hold no views about the past or the future.

How, then, can they believe what the teachings say about (literal) rebirth?

Regards, Vincent.

They don't. Those who see with wisdom have actual knowledge. Holding views is what unknowledgeable people do when they cling to their speculations as truth.
vitaminCvitaminDO
 
Posts: 1
Joined: Tue Jan 08, 2013 1:00 pm

Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby Spiny Norman » Tue Jan 08, 2013 2:24 pm

daverupa wrote:
porpoise wrote:
ancientbuddhism wrote:For the agnostic the matter is simple and easeful. .... From this perspective one can let rebirth lay right where it is in the dustbin with other anomalies such as:


Putting teachings you don't like in the "dustbin" sounds much more like skepticism than agnosticism.


Saying they are in the dustbin because they "aren't liked" sounds very much like a straw man fallacy.

I understood dust bin to mean simply "category of unused content" - various things are in there for many people, including such 'teachings' as the Marks of a Great Man.



A dustbin is where we put our rubbish with a view to throwing it out. The use of this language points to rejection and skepticism.
I think an agnostic would use a phrase like putting these teachings "on the back burner".
Mrs. Bun: Have you got anything without spam in it?
Waitress: Well, there's spam, egg, sausage and spam. That's not got MUCH spam in it.
User avatar
Spiny Norman
 
Posts: 2666
Joined: Fri Mar 05, 2010 10:32 am
Location: Spam, wonderful spam

Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby Jerrod Lopes » Tue Jan 08, 2013 5:55 pm

Aloka wrote:
Jerrod Lopes wrote:I've found that rebirth can't be seen by someone who doesn't want to know it. It's not a matter of belief anyway, it's a matter of knowledge. This knowledge doesn't make one better than the other any more than long legs or brown hair does. Knowing it is an eventuality for every living being. In my experience, anatta must be understood first. Without knowledge of non-self you don't have a clue what is reborn in the first place. If one's views are way off, then one just won't get it until they're not way off. I think, after many dozens, if not more discussions, that problem with seeing rebirth stems from still believing in an eternal soul or personality that gets passed from one being to the next. That is reincarnation, not rebirth. YOU are not reborn. If that were the case, YOU would have full recollection of all the past lives. Sorry to bust in. Be well. :smile:



OK... please explain clearly and without waffling, from your own knowledge, the step-by-step details of the process of rebirth when someone dies, for the benefit of those members who can understand anatta (not-self).

Many thanks. :anjali:


Dear sir or madam,

Respectfully, those who already understand non-self don't need an explanation of the process of rebirth. All they need is to think on it momentarily and it is quite clear in all its anticlimactic and boring glory, IMO. I have found that trying to explain rebirth to someone who doesn't realize non-self is non-productive and tends to make people upset. Perhaps when I'm felling a bit less lazy I'll try and start a thread with a link to an explanation entitled "What Gets Reborn" from another web site I contribute to. The tone I perceive from the words you've chosen above does not seem so much like someone who wants an explanation in order to learn something as much as someone who wants an explanation to argue over. I apologize in advance if I am incorrect about this.
User avatar
Jerrod Lopes
 
Posts: 77
Joined: Tue Jan 08, 2013 2:11 am

Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby Jerrod Lopes » Tue Jan 08, 2013 5:59 pm

I didn't mean to infer that you didn't understand anatta as I'm assuming you do given your post. While Buddhism is not new to me, this forum is and I don't see a way to edit posts just yet. I apologize for any inconveniences. I work hard to follow the ideal of right speech, but right typing is a whole other thing. :lol:
User avatar
Jerrod Lopes
 
Posts: 77
Joined: Tue Jan 08, 2013 2:11 am

Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby Aloka » Tue Jan 08, 2013 7:03 pm

Jerrod Lopes wrote:
Dear sir or madam

I'm female

Jerrod Lopes wrote:Respectfully, those who already understand non-self don't need an explanation of the process of rebirth... etc etc


Lol, Mr Purple Haze, I'm assuming that you are implying that you are one of those people. What's your opinion of Buddhadasa's "Annata and Rebirth", then ?

http://www.what-buddha-taught.net/Books7/Buddhadasa_Bhikkhu_Anatta_and_Rebirth.pdf

Perhaps when I'm felling a bit less lazy I'll try and start a thread with a link to an explanation entitled "What Gets Reborn" from another web site I contribute to


Lets hope its not about 2 candles ! :candle:

:)
User avatar
Aloka
 
Posts: 3641
Joined: Wed Jan 21, 2009 2:51 pm

Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby daverupa » Tue Jan 08, 2013 8:55 pm

porpoise wrote:A dustbin is where we put our rubbish with a view to throwing it out. The use of this language points to rejection and skepticism.
I think an agnostic would use a phrase like putting these teachings "on the back burner".


It's tough to predict what agnostics will say agnostically, and which phrases they will agnosticize. Your connotative take is one thing, but to assert that your connotative take is the right interpretation of a phrase used by another is a rather odd approach... to then say that agnostics would use phrases which conform to your expectations boggles the mind as well.

:group:
    "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]
User avatar
daverupa
 
Posts: 4166
Joined: Mon Jan 31, 2011 6:58 pm

PreviousNext

Return to Open Dhamma

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 8 guests