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bardo... - Dhamma Wheel

bardo...

Exploring Theravāda's connections to other paths. What can we learn from other traditions, religions and philosophies?
alan...
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bardo...

Postby alan... » Mon Jan 21, 2013 7:01 am

EDIT: side question: what are we, as theravadins, supposed to do at the time of death? what does the canon say? END EDIT.

firstly, vajrayana is a wonderful thing and i respect all of it's teachings and their validity within their own tradition. this thread is about the possibility of the existence of the tibetan ideas of a death bardo as detailed in the tibetan book of the dead in the pali canon. so this is about the pali canon and the buddha found within. i fully accept that the buddha of the tibetan canon taught things that promote bardo practice and that it is a very important practice for tibetan buddhism. from here on i'm talking about the buddha of the pali canon and not the buddha of the tibetan canon. i am not saying one is right and the other is wrong. i'm just detailing what the buddha in the pali canon did or did not teach and making some assumptions about these things.

i had heard some say the ideas are in the pali canon and did some research.

immediate rebirth or in between stage? practice(s) required to pass through it into nibbana? can a person who is destined for higher realms or even nibbana fail to navigate the bardo and end up in lower realms again?

conclusions based on my research of the pali canon:

biggest conclusion: the buddha taught for FORTY FIVE YEARS, if some kind of bardo practice was important, he would have taught it. he never mentions anything of the sort, so there is no logical reason to assume that such a thing should be paid any mind.

1. according to vague allusions in the suttas there may be an in between stage (SN 44.9 among others).

2. the suttas in no way imply this state is a nightmarish experience as does the tibetan book of the dead or that one can completely control this state and influence ones future birth. instead it implies that some reach nibbana while in this state (SN 46.3*), but it does not say that people change their destination in any other way. it seems that they were just due for nibbana then, as opposed to using some skill to reach it while in said state.

3. the suttas do not imply this is a long period as does the tibetan book of the dead.

4. the buddha gives ZERO instructions on working with this state. literally zero. therefore we can conclude that either there are not practices for this state and people who reach nibbana there do so as a result of practice while living and not conscious intervention during said state, or that it is a waste of time (ie. practice time on earth is overwhelmingly more likely to lead one to nibbana if one practices what the buddha taught instead of working on some kind of in between practice plan). and it is certainly completely safe to assume that there's nothing to fear from this state that we should prepare for as, again, he would have mentioned it and taught about it and instead he says literally NOTHING about it in that way.

5. the odds of it being 100% systematized and the same for every person as taught in the tibetan book of the dead are practically zero. if this was the case the buddha would have taught on it (broken record i know but thousands of suttas and he never gives a single bardo practice, so the point is at the forefront). instead he gave extremely vague metaphors that simply imply that there is an in between state and gives no other information, thus one can safely conclude he didn't see it as important enough to even teach about except for a mention here and there.



*this sutta translated by bhikkhu bodhi in "connected discourses of the buddha" mentions directly the phrase "Nibbana in the interval". however the one on accesstoinsight does not.
Last edited by alan... on Mon Jan 21, 2013 7:52 am, edited 2 times in total.

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fig tree
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Re: bardo...

Postby fig tree » Mon Jan 21, 2013 7:25 am


alan...
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Re: bardo...

Postby alan... » Mon Jan 21, 2013 7:30 am


perkele
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Re: bardo...

Postby perkele » Mon Jan 21, 2013 7:45 am

Last edited by perkele on Mon Jan 21, 2013 11:58 am, edited 1 time in total.

alan...
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Re: bardo...

Postby alan... » Mon Jan 21, 2013 7:53 am


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cooran
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Re: bardo...

Postby cooran » Mon Jan 21, 2013 8:04 am

Hello alan, all,

The Metta Sutta speaks of:
Wishing: In gladness and in safety,
May all beings be at ease.
Whatever living beings there may be;
Whether they are weak or strong, omitting none,
The great or the mighty, medium, short or small,
The seen and the unseen,
Those living near and far away,
Those born and to-be-born
May all beings be at ease!
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .amar.html

AND dhammawiki notes:

In between state From The Dhamma Encyclopedia
Some people assert that after death, consciousness is suspended for a while before being reborn. This is called the in-between state (antarabhava). In Tibetan (Vajrayana) Buddhism there is much interest in the in between state where there are rituals and prayers to assist the departed toward a good rebirth. In Tibetan the in between state is known as the Bardo.

Some claim that this state lasts for seven days, others for 14 and yet others for 49 days. The in-between state is not mentioned specifically in the Tipitaka but we can assume that there is a pause of some duration before re-embodiment and the subsequent rebirth. The available fertilized eggs could not possibly correspond with the number of people who have just died and the consciousness seeking re-embodiment and thus some period of waiting must occur at least in some cases.

The Abhidhamma and the Classical Theravada hold that rebirth is always immediate with no intermediate state. Although there is no indication from the Suttas that directly references an immediate rebirth in all cases. It is only insisted upon in the Abhidhamma, which although part of the Pali Canon, is a later text.

There are a few Suttas which suggest that there could be this intermediate state. One of the strongest indications of this is in the Metta Sutta which speaks of extending loving-kindness to 'bhuutaa vaa sambhavesii vaa' -- "to beings who have come to be and those about to come to be."

If there is an intermediate state (and the above suggests that there is) it would probably be reserved for just those higher or noble ones who are awaiting a good birth. For most, including animals and others, it is most likely instant.
http://www.dhammawiki.com/index.php?tit ... ween_state

with metta
Chris
---The trouble is that you think you have time---
---Worry is the Interest, paid in advance, on a debt you may never owe---
---It's not what happens to you in life that is important ~ it's what you do with it ---

alan...
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Re: bardo...

Postby alan... » Mon Jan 21, 2013 8:19 am


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cooran
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Re: bardo...

Postby cooran » Mon Jan 21, 2013 8:42 am

Hello alan,

I think it might refer to an appropriate rebirth according to ones' kamma-vipaka. Most people are not sotapannas or above, but, for those very few who are, there is no rebirth in the lower realms.

Here is an essay by Bhikkhu Sujato. Have a look at what Bhante has to say on
Rebirth and the In-between State in Early Buddhism
http://santifm.org/santipada/2010/rebir ... -buddhism/

with metta
Chris
---The trouble is that you think you have time---
---Worry is the Interest, paid in advance, on a debt you may never owe---
---It's not what happens to you in life that is important ~ it's what you do with it ---

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cooran
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Re: bardo...

Postby cooran » Mon Jan 21, 2013 9:07 am

A little more:

SN 44.9 Kutuhalasala Sutta: With Vacchagotta
[..........]
‘’ "And at the moment when a being sets this body aside and is not yet reborn in another body, what do you designate as its sustenance then?"
"Vaccha, when a being sets this body aside and is not yet reborn in another body, I designate it as craving-sustained, for craving is its sustenance at that time."
‘’
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html

with metta
Chris
---The trouble is that you think you have time---
---Worry is the Interest, paid in advance, on a debt you may never owe---
---It's not what happens to you in life that is important ~ it's what you do with it ---

gendun
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Re: bardo...

Postby gendun » Mon Jan 21, 2013 10:48 am

Gendun P. Brownlow.
Karma Kagyu student.

perkele
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Re: bardo...

Postby perkele » Mon Jan 21, 2013 12:30 pm

Last edited by perkele on Mon Jan 21, 2013 12:59 pm, edited 1 time in total.

gendun
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Re: bardo...

Postby gendun » Mon Jan 21, 2013 12:43 pm

I may be that all schools lead to Nirvana/Nibbana in their own way.
I think that there are two extremes to be avoided.
The first is for one school to dismiss another school completely on the grounds of doctrinal differences.
The other extreme is for obvious glaring differences in doctrine and pracise to be minimised because the resulting dissonance makes us uncomfortable as individuals.

:anjali:
Gendun P. Brownlow.
Karma Kagyu student.

perkele
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Re: bardo...

Postby perkele » Mon Jan 21, 2013 1:06 pm


alan...
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Re: bardo...

Postby alan... » Mon Jan 21, 2013 5:37 pm


alan...
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Re: bardo...

Postby alan... » Mon Jan 21, 2013 5:45 pm


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Re: bardo...

Postby Cittasanto » Mon Jan 21, 2013 5:55 pm

Don't see that anyone has linked this thread yet so
viewtopic.php?f=16&t=5678&start=0&hilit=bardo


He who knows only his own side of the case knows little of that. His reasons may be good, and no one may have been able to refute them.
But if he is equally unable to refute the reasons on the opposite side, if he does not so much as know what they are, he has no ground for preferring either opinion …
...
He must be able to hear them from persons who actually believe them … he must know them in their most plausible and persuasive form.

alan...
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Re: bardo...

Postby alan... » Mon Jan 21, 2013 5:57 pm


gendun
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Re: bardo...

Postby gendun » Mon Jan 21, 2013 6:12 pm

I had no idea that the Bardo teachings were being promulgated outside of the Vajrayana..and certainly not that they are being looked for in the Pali Canon.
Obviously that puts a different spin on the issue.
Gendun P. Brownlow.
Karma Kagyu student.

alan...
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Re: bardo...

Postby alan... » Mon Jan 21, 2013 6:13 pm


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Re: bardo...

Postby mikenz66 » Mon Jan 21, 2013 6:15 pm

See also this thread:


It's a longish thread, with many interesting posts pointing out the diversity of practice in SE Asia.

:anjali:
Mike


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