the great rebirth debate

A discussion on all aspects of Theravāda Buddhism
Dennenappelmoes
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Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby Dennenappelmoes » Fri Apr 26, 2013 3:37 pm

Though I have a fair amount of confidence in rebirth, based on the faith I have in people's claims, there are still some issues I struggle with. They may very well have come up at some previous stage in this topic but it is a bit too much for me to work through so please excuse me posing them anyway :)


1. We know today that many of our mental world - styles of thinking, habits, proneness to addiction etc are brain-related, genetic, and/or inheritable. So it would seem that the immaterial mind, when stripped from all of these physical conditions, is a very very abstract thing, maybe purely consciousness and nothing else. If this is so, then I find it quite difficult to give the law of karma a place beyond/through death, as many of these good and bad tendencies that we are trained in are stored in the brain and die with the brain. How does karma go from one life to the next? And how can this mind cause a particular rebirth, that is to say, "want" a particular rebirth, when "wanting" is something that rises from the (now dead) brain and all its memories, associations, etc?

2. If something dies, something will have to be born in order to have that mind reborn. So, if I kill something, that implies that causes a birth, and if I have a baby, I'm killing something else. Isn't this a violation of the law of cause and effect? Let's say for the sake of the argument we'd start a war and kill millions of people, how can this cause a birth wave, a phenomenon that in its own has his own completely separate causes? And what if we all decide to have lots of kids, where do those minds come from? See my point? Cause and effect seem really messed up there.

3. If we acknowledge minds are in all sentient beings, and they are countless, humans making up only a very tiny portion of them, then how comes it that people who claim to rememeber a past life (sometimes one from centuries ago) are always human? Why wouldn't anyone remember a completely strange and exotic kind of life? What are the odds of some mind turning out human on this little planet over here repeatedly? Isn't it strange?


I am not sure about the existence of rebirth but I am willing to have some confidence in it. These issues aren't about whether or not it exists, I'm just looking for a way of understanding it that makes sense considering these points. Anyone who has any insights in this that might help? I find this extremely curious since on the one hand I really do have faith in what evidence people bring to the table, but on the other hand these issues seem to completely discredit the whole idea. Thanks in advance :hello:

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Alex123
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Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby Alex123 » Fri Apr 26, 2013 4:47 pm

"Life is a struggle. Life will throw curveballs at you, it will humble you, it will attempt to break you down. And just when you think things are starting to look up, life will smack you back down with ruthless indifference..."

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manas
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Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby manas » Fri Apr 26, 2013 7:29 pm

Last edited by manas on Fri Apr 26, 2013 7:58 pm, edited 2 times in total.
Then the Blessed One, picking up a tiny bit of dust with the tip of his fingernail, said to the monk, "There isn't even this much form...feeling...
perception...fabrications...consciousness that is constant, lasting, eternal, not subject to change, that will stay just as it is as long as eternity."

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Alex123
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Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby Alex123 » Fri Apr 26, 2013 7:54 pm

"Life is a struggle. Life will throw curveballs at you, it will humble you, it will attempt to break you down. And just when you think things are starting to look up, life will smack you back down with ruthless indifference..."

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manas
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Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby manas » Fri Apr 26, 2013 8:33 pm

Then the Blessed One, picking up a tiny bit of dust with the tip of his fingernail, said to the monk, "There isn't even this much form...feeling...
perception...fabrications...consciousness that is constant, lasting, eternal, not subject to change, that will stay just as it is as long as eternity."

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Alex123
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Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby Alex123 » Fri Apr 26, 2013 8:57 pm

"Life is a struggle. Life will throw curveballs at you, it will humble you, it will attempt to break you down. And just when you think things are starting to look up, life will smack you back down with ruthless indifference..."

binocular
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Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby binocular » Sat Apr 27, 2013 5:57 am

Last edited by binocular on Sat Apr 27, 2013 6:03 am, edited 1 time in total.

binocular
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Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby binocular » Sat Apr 27, 2013 6:02 am


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Alex123
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Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby Alex123 » Sat Apr 27, 2013 11:08 am

"Life is a struggle. Life will throw curveballs at you, it will humble you, it will attempt to break you down. And just when you think things are starting to look up, life will smack you back down with ruthless indifference..."

binocular
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Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby binocular » Sat Apr 27, 2013 11:57 am


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Alex123
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Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby Alex123 » Sat Apr 27, 2013 12:08 pm

"Life is a struggle. Life will throw curveballs at you, it will humble you, it will attempt to break you down. And just when you think things are starting to look up, life will smack you back down with ruthless indifference..."

binocular
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Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby binocular » Sat Apr 27, 2013 12:44 pm


Dennenappelmoes
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Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby Dennenappelmoes » Mon May 06, 2013 11:46 pm


5heaps
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Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby 5heaps » Tue May 07, 2013 12:11 am

A Japanese man has been arrested on suspicion of writing a computer virus that destroys and replaces files on a victim PC with manga images of squid, octopuses and sea urchins. Masato Nakatsuji, 27, of Izumisano, Osaka Prefecture, was quoted as telling police: "I wanted to see how much my computer programming skills had improved since the last time I was arrested."

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daverupa
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Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby daverupa » Tue May 07, 2013 12:11 am

Stop thinking that it must conform to what you already know - one planet, etc. If you don't know, even speculations will be inadequate. Get on with the training!

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retrofuturist
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Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby retrofuturist » Tue May 07, 2013 12:48 am

"Do not force others, including children, by any means whatsoever, to adopt your views, whether by authority, threat, money, propaganda, or even education." - Ven. Thich Nhat Hanh

"The uprooting of identity is seen by the noble ones as pleasurable; but this contradicts what the whole world sees." (Snp 3.12)

"To argue with a person who has renounced the use of reason is like administering medicine to the dead" - Thomas Paine

5heaps
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Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby 5heaps » Tue May 07, 2013 1:12 am

A Japanese man has been arrested on suspicion of writing a computer virus that destroys and replaces files on a victim PC with manga images of squid, octopuses and sea urchins. Masato Nakatsuji, 27, of Izumisano, Osaka Prefecture, was quoted as telling police: "I wanted to see how much my computer programming skills had improved since the last time I was arrested."

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retrofuturist
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Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby retrofuturist » Tue May 07, 2013 1:21 am

Greetings 5heaps,

Rebirth just doesn't factor into my "practice". If it exists, it is simply part of "in the future". If it doesn't, so be it. Its validity or otherwise has no discernible bearing on how I live and does not trouble me.

Understanding the arising of sankharas, and their qualitative nature (as explained by the roots of greed/aversion/delusion & non-greed/non-aversion/non-delusion - i.e. kamma), and the resultant experience of nama-rupa (as explained from vinnana/nama-rupa onwards in paticcasamuppada, which could alternatively be thought of as sabba or loka) is sufficient for me to know the appropriate way to respond to situations in life.

Metta,
Retro. :)
"Do not force others, including children, by any means whatsoever, to adopt your views, whether by authority, threat, money, propaganda, or even education." - Ven. Thich Nhat Hanh

"The uprooting of identity is seen by the noble ones as pleasurable; but this contradicts what the whole world sees." (Snp 3.12)

"To argue with a person who has renounced the use of reason is like administering medicine to the dead" - Thomas Paine

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Aloka
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Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby Aloka » Tue May 07, 2013 1:27 am

Hi Dennenappelmoes,

I don't know one way or the other about rebirth and find it pointless speculating about past and future lives. Therefore I set it aside in order to deal with the living of my present life and practice here and now.

with kind wishes,

Aloka

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Ben
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Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby Ben » Tue May 07, 2013 1:52 am

“No lists of things to be done. The day providential to itself. The hour. There is no later. This is later. All things of grace and beauty such that one holds them to one's heart have a common provenance in pain. Their birth in grief and ashes.”
- Cormac McCarthy, The Road

Learn this from the waters:
in mountain clefts and chasms,
loud gush the streamlets,
but great rivers flow silently.
- Sutta Nipata 3.725

(Buddhist aid in Myanmar) • •

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