Spiny Norman wrote:
BlackBird wrote: If the Buddha just made it all up, lied about it to garner support from the populace at large that believed that stuff back in the day, it does not bode well for his character being perfect in every way. Or say the Scholar monks invented it all and the Buddha never taught it. Well - Then my faith is shot too, because how much do you know is real Dhamma the Buddha spoke and how much is invention? How do you seperate the wheat from the chaff?
Skeptics employ a variety of strategies in their attempts to marginalise the teachings on rebirth and kamma. Personally I don't find these strategies very convincing, because I think they often represent thinly-disguised aversion, rather than reflecting an objective and open-minded reading of the suttas.
I agree that they're not convincing. I think those who are not prepared to accept Rebirth and Kamma often still put themselves and their own intellect above that of the Buddha, or at the very least on the same level. It is a subtle conceit, but logically it denies the fact that the Buddha was enlightened and the person is deluded by avijja. We're wandering around in the dark here and I do find it laughable that some have the conceit to think they know better than the Buddha, or at the very least that their views are just as valuable as the Tathagata's.
Of course I do not mean to lump all those who do not accept rebirth in this category. Personally I don't think everyone
who is an annihilationist has aversion, but they most certainly have wrong view, and more wrong view than those who accept kamma and rebirth. I think there is a tendency to disregard this important statement the Buddha has made, i.e. That annihilationism is wrong view
. Furthermore mundane
right view is known as a belief in kamma and rebirth.
So frankly I don't think it's correct for these people to call themselves a follower
of the Buddha's teachings. Because following requires submission, which is something they refuse to do, they would rather make the Buddha Dhamma fit with their predilections than make their predilections fit with the Buddha Dhamma. Perhaps they can say that they are a practitioner of meditation and they have an interest in Buddhism, but they have not taken refuge in my view - That requires submission of one's own views regarding that which cannot be directly seen for oneself - Rebirth and Kamma.
Rebirth skeptics seem to feel as though they can surgically remove rebirth and kamma from the Buddha's teachings the way one might remove an appendix, but this is not the case. Removing rebirth and kamma from the Buddha's teachings is like removing the lungs.
I don't think you can be a real Buddhist and not believe in rebirth and kamma - You're cutting away vast swathes of the nikayas, entire suttas fall under the knife of rebirth skepticism. It is a slippery slope I'm afraid - Once you start butchering up something that the Buddha has already declared is free of patchwork, you've crossed the rubicon, and why stop at rebirth and kamma, why not reinterpret anything else that poses difficulties, that disagrees with your own predilections? It would certainly become easier to do after the initial rejection.
Not believing in rebirth and kamma does not stop one meditating, practicing satipatthana, all that jazz, heck Ven. Nyanavira (whose claim to Stream entry I wholeheartedly believe) even stated that for a sotapanna rebirth must still be taken on faith. So on one hand I don't think the path and fruit are cut off for one who maintains a skeptical view of agnosticism or that 'it's not important' but I really must question whether they have the urgency that those who believe in rebirth do, and without that urgency, will you make it to nibbana? What's the point striving for nibbana when you can just wait for death to come along and you'll get the same thing.
For those of us who believe the Buddha's teaching on rebirth - We need to strive and put forth great effort, because death is coming and we could be reborn anywhere. But for those who don't? What's the rush? You can just meditate and you can live comfortably, and maybe it would be cool to reach sotapatti because hey - that's a novelty too, but really? What's the point, why bother - When death will be the release from experience anyway.
I really wish you rebirth skeptics were right. Things would be a lot easier. But I think the Buddha knows best.
I'm sorry to be so blunt and critical because there are a couple of posters in here who do not accept rebirth or are skeptical whose company I do enjoy and I mean you no offense. This is just the way I feel on the subject.
Edit: Upon re-examination I have decided that I was wrong to say those who do not believe in Kamma and Rebirth are not real buddhists. I don't have a right to say that. I am sorry if any offense was taken when rebirth skeptics read this passage.