the great rebirth debate

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Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby retrofuturist » Wed May 08, 2013 10:41 pm

Greetings porpoise,
porpoise wrote:
retrofuturist wrote:In other words, structural not temporal.


I'm still not clear what you mean by "structural" - could you briefly explain? Also I'm not clear about your objection to a temporal view, given that birth, aging and death are clearly temporal events ( see the nidana definitions in MN9, SN12.2, etc ).

Apologies for missing this post previously.

By structural I mean...

From a as a requisite condition comes b.
From b as a requisite condition comes c.
From c as a requisite condition comes d.

... and so on. There is a relationship at play between the nidanas, but the relationship that has been delineated in the suttas is a structural one, rather than one demarcated in temporal units (such as "moments", "minutes", "years", "lifetimes", or "aeons")

Hence, non-time-delimited.

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Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby Spiny Norman » Thu May 09, 2013 8:35 am

retrofuturist wrote:By structural I mean...
From a as a requisite condition comes b.
... and so on. There is a relationship at play between the nidanas, but the relationship that has been delineated in the suttas is a structural one, rather than one demarcated in temporal units (such as "moments", "minutes", "years", "lifetimes", or "aeons")
Hence, non-time-delimited.


Thanks Retro, but isn't "from a as a requisite condition comes b" based on a time-scale? If b arises in dependence on a, then by definition a must occur before b ( so for example birth must occur before death ).
This is one of the 2 main modes of conditionality in dependent origination, the other is "when a is, b is", which I agree can be considered independent of time because the conditionality is "simultaneous" ( for example while ignorance persists, suffering persists ).
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Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby binocular » Thu May 09, 2013 8:56 am

retrofuturist wrote:
binocular wrote:What role does the desire to fit in with the current mainstream scientific understanding of things play in having this take on kamma and rebirth?

Inasmuch are some forms of modern Buddhism in fact sophisticated attempts to justify and further the mainstream Western consumerist way of life?

None at all. If anything, the view leaves one further disenchanted with matters pertaining to "current mainstream scientific understanding of things" and "the mainstream Western consumerist way of life".


It just so happens that some interpretations of Buddhist teachings comply with "current mainstream scientific understanding of things" and "the mainstream Western consumerist way of life."
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Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby binocular » Thu May 09, 2013 8:58 am

Lazy_eye wrote:Therefore, to explain why some particular kamma ripens at some particular time is difficult. Any such explanation, it seems to me, leads to further "why" questions -- an infinite regress. The Buddha was wise to deem it an unconjecturable.

Sure, there are questions that are best put aside.
But one ought to put them aside for the right reason, for a wholesome reason. It's not always easy to discern what that is.
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Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby Spiny Norman » Thu May 09, 2013 9:02 am

binocular wrote:But one ought to put them aside for the right reason, for a wholesome reason.


I agree. Merely disliking a teaching or idea isn't usually a sound basis for putting it aside.
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Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby dharmagoat » Thu May 09, 2013 9:46 am

porpoise wrote:
binocular wrote:But one ought to put them aside for the right reason, for a wholesome reason.

I agree. Merely disliking a teaching or idea isn't usually a sound basis for putting it aside.

Still, there is no benefit in persisting with a teaching that you fundamentally disagree with.
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Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby Alex123 » Thu May 09, 2013 10:31 am

porpoise wrote:Thanks Retro, but isn't "from a as a requisite condition comes b" based on a time-scale?


A and B could be separated by a split second, or entire lifespan. Also A and B could be simultaneous. For example vedana, sanna, and vinnana occur at the same time.

I believe that DO could refer to one and many life interpretations, momentary, long, structural, etc.
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Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby Ben » Thu May 09, 2013 11:10 am

Alex123 wrote:
porpoise wrote:Thanks Retro, but isn't "from a as a requisite condition comes b" based on a time-scale?


A and B could be separated by a split second, or entire lifespan. Also A and B could be simultaneous. For example vedana, sanna, and vinnana occur at the same time


Perhaps you would like to provide some evidence for this assertion, Alex.
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Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby daverupa » Thu May 09, 2013 11:19 am

For example vedana, sanna, and vinnana occur at the same time


I wonder if it makes reference to this:

MN 43 wrote:For what one feels, that one perceives. What one perceives, that one cognizes. Therefore these qualities are conjoined, not disjoined, and it is not possible, having separated them one from another, to delineate the difference among them."


The Pali term "akāliko" seems to support the non-temporal discussion.
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    "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.
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Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby Alex123 » Thu May 09, 2013 11:44 am

daverupa wrote:
For example vedana, sanna, and vinnana occur at the same time


I wonder if it makes reference to this:

MN 43 wrote:For what one feels, that one perceives. What one perceives, that one cognizes. Therefore these qualities are conjoined, not disjoined, and it is not possible, having separated them one from another, to delineate the difference among them."


The Pali term "akāliko" seems to support the non-temporal discussion.


Correct. Moreover, for those who believe in Abhidhammatthasaṅgaho, during every state of citta there are 7 universal cetasikas (sabbacittasādhāraṇā) which are part of 5 Khandhas.

Also, avijjā (1) being mental thing cannot occur without mind (consciousness 3, nāma 4).
Avijjā is also included in Saṅkhāra (2).
Consciousness (3) cannot exist by itself, it requires other 3 mental aggregates (saṅkhāra 2, nāma 4) and for 5 senses - body (rūpa 4, birth 11 & death 12).
rūpa 4 occurs as five of six sense bases (5) during birth 11 and it dies 12.
Contact (6) cannot occur without nāma/rūpa 4 and can occur only when six bases (5) are present
Body 11 that is born is not separate from rūpa as part of nāmarūpa 4.
etc etc.

All factors of D.O. are either included in nāma or rūpa. Only few factors could be separated by LONG time, ex: avijjā and resultant dukkha, birth and death.
But we could say that "birth" of new implies the death of old, so even here there is a way how these are nearly simultaneous.
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Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby binocular » Thu May 09, 2013 12:08 pm

dharmagoat wrote:Still, there is no benefit in persisting with a teaching that you fundamentally disagree with.

It's not clear how one could persist with a teaching that one fundamentally disagrees with.
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Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby dharmagoat » Thu May 09, 2013 12:41 pm

binocular wrote:
dharmagoat wrote:Still, there is no benefit in persisting with a teaching that you fundamentally disagree with.

It's not clear how one could persist with a teaching that one fundamentally disagrees with.

I admit that I wasn't very clear in my wording.

What I meant to say is that, in my experience, no matter how much one tries, one can't force oneself to accept a teaching, or an aspect of a teaching, that goes against the grain of their current understanding, even if they recognise the benefits of doing so.
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Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby Spiny Norman » Thu May 09, 2013 1:35 pm

Alex123 wrote:Only few factors could be separated by LONG time, ex: avijjā and resultant dukkha, birth and death.
But we could say that "birth" of new implies the death of old, so even here there is a way how these are nearly simultaneous.


Not really. In DO birth, aging and death are described in physical terms, and clearly involve a progression through time ( see the nidana definitions in MN9, SN12.2 etc ).

In DO this /that conditionality ( idappaccayata ) is summarised by the following verse:
1. When this is, that is;
2. With the arising of this, that arises;
3. When this isn't, that isn't;
4. With the ceasing of this, that ceases.

Clearly 1 and 3 describe simultaneous causality , while 2 and 4 describe causality over time. I've seen these described as synchronic and diachronic causality respectively.
IMO understanding DO involves consideration of both these modes of conditionality.
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Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby Spiny Norman » Thu May 09, 2013 1:37 pm

dharmagoat wrote:
porpoise wrote:
binocular wrote:But one ought to put them aside for the right reason, for a wholesome reason.

I agree. Merely disliking a teaching or idea isn't usually a sound basis for putting it aside.

Still, there is no benefit in persisting with a teaching that you fundamentally disagree with.


Sure, but likewise there is no benefit in continually arguing against it.
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Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby Alex123 » Thu May 09, 2013 1:47 pm

porpoise wrote:Not really. In DO birth, aging and death are described in physical terms, and clearly involve a progression through time ( see the nidana definitions in MN9, SN12.2 etc ).


You are right that some factors in DO progress over time. But not all. Of course DO can and should be interpreted in multiple ways. The most important is the main principle: Avijjā -> dukkha.
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Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby binocular » Thu May 09, 2013 4:16 pm

dharmagoat wrote:What I meant to say is that, in my experience, no matter how much one tries, one can't force oneself to accept a teaching, or an aspect of a teaching, that goes against the grain of their current understanding, even if they recognise the benefits of doing so.

Sure. But what seems to be the problem here?
That something seems to be too good to be true?
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Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby dharmagoat » Thu May 09, 2013 6:34 pm

binocular wrote:
dharmagoat wrote:What I meant to say is that, in my experience, no matter how much one tries, one can't force oneself to accept a teaching, or an aspect of a teaching, that goes against the grain of their current understanding, even if they recognise the benefits of doing so.

Sure. But what seems to be the problem here?
That something seems to be too good to be true?

Someone with an empirical understanding of phenomena will have difficulty accepting a view that is based on inference and not supported by evidence. Likewise, someone with a religious understanding will have difficulty accepting a view that is in conflict with their chosen beliefs.
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Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby Spiny Norman » Fri May 10, 2013 8:20 am

Alex123 wrote:You are right that some factors in DO progress over time. But not all. Of course DO can and should be interpreted in multiple ways. The most important is the main principle: Avijjā -> dukkha.


Yes, although an important aspect of "dissolving" avijja is contemplation of anicca.
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Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby Spiny Norman » Fri May 10, 2013 12:25 pm

daverupa wrote:The Pali term "akāliko" seems to support the non-temporal discussion.


I'd associate timelessness with the un-conditioned and therefore with the cessation of DO, not with DO itself.
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Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby binocular » Fri May 10, 2013 3:14 pm

dharmagoat wrote:Someone with an empirical understanding of phenomena will have difficulty accepting a view that is based on inference and not supported by evidence. Likewise, someone with a religious understanding will have difficulty accepting a view that is in conflict with their chosen beliefs.

It's still not clear what the problem is here that you are pointing at.
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