the great rebirth debate

An open and inclusive investigation into Buddhism and spiritual cultivation

Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby Aloka » Sat Jul 06, 2013 5:36 pm

.

Its worth reading what Ajahn Amaro has to say about Dependent Origination and rebirth from pages 6 to 11 in his booklet "Theravada Buddhism in a Nutshell" (Beginning with 'Dependent Origination - The Source Code')

http://tisarana.ca/download/e-books/amaro_theravada_buddhism_in_a_nutshell.pdf

.
User avatar
Aloka
 
Posts: 3615
Joined: Wed Jan 21, 2009 2:51 pm

Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby reflection » Sat Jul 06, 2013 6:43 pm

BlackBird wrote:
reflection wrote: and I did see the smiley face. ;)


We've come a long way from the other night, I would say :)

I like the stuff you've written about DO and and the (literal) lower realms, this accords with my view, as according to Ven. Nyanavira, seeing dependent origination is the key to achieving stream entry and once it is seen the lower realms are cut off. We might differ on the 'how', but we seem to agree on the 'what'.

metta
Jack

We probably to a large degree also agree on the 'how'. What the main difference in our opinions is if right view does or doesn't include an intuitive knowledge of rebirth. In my eyes is not a real important difference as long as one is careful not to use it sort of as an 'excuse' to think they have right view, either way. Not saying you do, or anybody does, but just as a general concern on my behalf. But perhaps that makes it more clear why I think it's important we look carefully at the suttas.

:anjali:
Last edited by reflection on Sat Jul 06, 2013 6:48 pm, edited 1 time in total.
User avatar
reflection
 
Posts: 1115
Joined: Wed Mar 30, 2011 9:27 pm

Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby binocular » Sat Jul 06, 2013 6:47 pm

BlackBird wrote:Being able to be admonished easily is an important trait according to the Buddha.

I do believe that this is not the whole Buddhist idea of being admonished easily.

Being admonished easily is a virtue only if practiced in accordance with the Dhamma, and not just with any standard.

For example, someone may admonish you for not drinking enough beer. Surely you won't take that admonition to heart.



BlackBird wrote:Out of interest - If the Buddha was here today, is there anyone here that would not bow at his feet thrice, submit and be admonished by him as to their practice and way of life?

I am sure there are.
How on earth would one recognize the Buddha to begin with??
binocular
 
Posts: 1351
Joined: Sat Jan 17, 2009 11:13 pm

Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby clw_uk » Sat Jul 06, 2013 8:06 pm

I understood your posts just fine.

You are denying rebirth the way the Buddha categorically taught it, you've just build an elaborate conceptual framework as a means to eel-wriggle around the sutta passages that categorically disagree with your position. It's a very original interpretation of the suttas, but it is not the one the Buddha taught. To your credit building such a conceptual framework could not be accomplished by anyone other than one who has quite the intellectual mind, and that is part of the reason I have a good deal of respect for you.

Perhaps you are right that your position is not mere annihilationism, and it is true that at the very least it is a good deal more complicated than your average rebirth skeptic's annihilationism. Perhaps a better term would be self-denying-khandha-non-transmittance? I don't know. I was wrong to be so categorical about accusing you of that view. You have my apologies. But that falls short of dropping my accusation that your view is by necessity wrong. But do not fret, for you're in good company, until we're sotapannas we are all possessed of wrong view. Unless, of course you think you've already got there?


Any view of self comes from grasping at the aggregates, as we all know. Views also come about via grasping as well, for example "I will be reborn as a X" is a view from grasping, as is the view of "I will cease to be at death" etc

I have self view but I don't have a view of what happens at death, I dont know is my position.

However that aspect of "I dont know" is a dependently originated view point and so its not self

In relation to "eel-wriggling" Anathapindika was once challenged about what metaphysical views he had here

"So you don't know entirely what views Gotama the contemplative has or even that the monks have. Then tell us what views you have."

"It wouldn't be difficult for me to expound to you what views I have. But please let the venerable ones expound each in line with his position, and then it won't be difficult for me to expound to you what views I have."

When this had been said, one of the wanderers said to Anathapindika the householder, "The cosmos is eternal. Only this is true; anything otherwise is worthless. This is the sort of view I have."

Another wanderer said to Anathapindika, "The cosmos is not eternal. Only this is true; anything otherwise is worthless. This is the sort of view I have."

Another wanderer said, "The cosmos is finite... The cosmos is infinite... The soul & the body are the same... The soul is one thing and the body another... After death a Tathagata exists... After death a Tathagata does not exist... After death a Tathagata both does & does not exist... After death a Tathagata neither does nor does not exist. Only this is true; anything otherwise is worthless. This is the sort of view I have."

When this had been said, Anathapindika the householder said to the wanderers, "As for the venerable one who says, 'The cosmos is eternal. Only this is true; anything otherwise is worthless. This is the sort of view I have,' his view arises from his own inappropriate attention or in dependence on the words of another. Now this view has been brought into being, is fabricated, willed, dependently originated. Whatever has been brought into being, is fabricated, willed, dependently originated, that is inconstant. Whatever is inconstant is stress. This venerable one thus adheres to that very stress, submits himself to that very stress." (Similarly for the other positions.)

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipit....093.than.html

Here Anathapindika teaches that views come into being via dependent co-arising. They arise when there is contact between a sense base and external object, which leads to the arising of feeling. For example there is a disciple hearing Jesus teaching there is eternal life. Jesus's words make contact with his ear and a feeling is produced, either pleasant, unpleasant or neutral. If it is a pleasant feeling (so the person agrees with jesus) he will grasp at it and so adhere to it so that this is then his view.

However as the process has shown, the view is impermanent, dependently risen and so dukkha if clung to, as it can change, for example losing ones faith can cause despair. It will also lead to disputes and arguments with people of an opposite doctrine.



When this had been said, the wanderers said to Anathapindika the householder, "We have each & every one expounded to you in line with our own positions. Now tell us what views you have."

"Whatever has been brought into being, is fabricated, willed, dependently originated, that is inconstant. Whatever is inconstant is stress. Whatever is stress is not me, is not what I am, is not my self. This is the sort of view I have."

"So, householder, whatever has been brought into being, is fabricated, willed, dependently originated, that is inconstant. Whatever is inconstant is stress. You thus adhere to that very stress, submit yourself to that very stress."

"Venerable sirs, whatever has been brought into being, is fabricated, willed, dependently originated, that is inconstant. Whatever is inconstant is stress. Whatever is stress is not me, is not what I am, is not my self. Having seen this well with right discernment as it actually is present, I also discern the higher escape from it as it actually is present."

When this had been said, the wanderers fell silent, abashed, sitting with their shoulders drooping, their heads down, brooding, at a loss for words. Anathapindika the householder, perceiving that the wanderers were silent, abashed... at a loss for words, got up & went to where the Blessed One was staying. On arrival, having bowed down to the Blessed One, he sat to one side. As he was seated there, he told the Blessed One the entirety of his conversation with the wanderers.

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipit....093.than.html

Here the wanderers try to accuse Anathapindika of holding to a view himself and so submitting himself to stress as well. However Anathapindika teaches them that while his view is also dependently co-arisen, he can see that the view has the three marks because of the view and so he does crave or cling to it, this is the higher escape. He is detached from the view.

This ties into the simile of the raft

"In the same way, monks, have I shown to you the Teaching's similitude to a raft: as having the purpose of crossing over, not the purpose of being clung to.
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/a.../wheel048.html



We have right view to lead us out of all views

Then we no longer cling to anything, be it the body, feelings or views and opinions


Also there is this interesting sutta

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipit....074.than.html

Some interesting points. First of all LongNails the wanderer states that "Nothing is acceptable to me" to which the Buddha replies

"But even this view of yours, Aggivessana — 'All is not pleasing to me' — is even that not pleasing to you?'"

Indicating that Longnails is attached to his own rejection of all views and so, in contradiction, holds a view. Also we could read into this that Longnails is still subject to dukkha since he rejects all doctrines and is therefore subject to aversion, that is craving for non-existence.

"With regard to those brahmans & contemplatives who are of the view, of the opinion, 'All is pleasing to me': A wise person among them considers that 'If I were to grasp and insist firmly on this view of mine that "All is pleasing to me," and to state that "Only this is true, all else is worthless," I would clash with two — the brahman or contemplative who is of the view, of the opinion that "All is not pleasing to me" and the brahman or contemplative who is of the view, of the opinion that "A part is pleasing to me; a part is not pleasing to me." I would clash with these two. Where there is a clash, there is dispute. Where there is a dispute, quarreling. Where there is quarreling, annoyance. Where there is annoyance, frustration.' Envisioning for himself clash, dispute, quarreling, annoyance, frustration, he both abandons that view and does not cling to another view. Thus there is the abandoning of these views; thus there is the relinquishing of these views.



Here Buddha teaches that clinging to any view, be it radical acceptance, radical scepticism or holding to one view and excluding others, leads to quarrels and disputes and so leads to Dukkha.

"Now, Aggivessana, this body — endowed with form, composed of the four primary elements, born from mother & father, nourished with rice & porridge, subject to inconstancy, rubbing, pressing, dissolution, and dispersion — should be envisioned as inconstant, stressful, a disease, a cancer, an arrow, painful, an affliction, alien, a disintegration, an emptiness, not-self. In one who envisions the body as inconstant, stressful, a disease, a cancer, an arrow, painful, an affliction, alien, a disintegration, an emptiness, not-self, any desire for the body, attraction to the body, following after the body is abandoned.

"There are these three kinds of feeling: a pleasant feeling, a painful feeling, and neither-pleasant-nor-painful feeling. On the occasion when one feels a pleasant feeling, one does not feel either a painful feeling or a neither-pleasant-nor-painful feeling. One feels only a pleasant feeling on that occasion. On the occasion when one feels a painful feeling, one does not feel either a pleasant feeling or a neither-pleasant-nor-painful feeling. One feels only a painful feeling on that occasion. On the occasion when one feels a neither-pleasant-nor-painful feeling, one does not feel either a pleasant feeling or a painful feeling. One feels only a neither-pleasant-nor-painful feeling on that occasion.

"A pleasant feeling is inconstant, fabricated, dependently co-arisen, subject to ending, subject to vanishing, fading, ceasing. A painful feeling is also inconstant, fabricated, dependently co-arisen, subject to ending, subject to vanishing, fading, ceasing. A neither-pleasant-nor-painful feeling is also inconstant, fabricated, dependently co-arisen, subject to ending, subject to vanishing, fading, ceasing.

"Seeing this, an instructed disciple of the noble ones grows disenchanted with pleasant feeling, disenchanted with painful feeling, disenchanted with neither-pleasant-nor-painful feeling. Disenchanted, he grows dispassionate. From dispassion, he is released. With release, there is the knowledge, 'Released.' He discerns, 'Birth is ended, the holy life fulfilled, the task done. There is nothing further for this world.' A monk whose mind is thus released does not take sides with anyone, does not dispute with anyone. He words things by means of what is said in the world but without grasping at it."



Here the Buddha teaches that when one is mindful and sees with correct wisdom then one grows dispassionate towards the body and towards feelings. When one has grown dispassionate towards the body and towards feelings then dependent co-origination has stopped and all dukkha has ceased.

This is relevant to the rest of the Sutta because the Buddha is teaching that all views are dependently arisen and come from craving, from clinging and creating "I am", for example "I like this view, this view is correct and all others are wrong".

When one no longer clings then there is no "self" and so there is no taking up of doctrines and views. Doctrines and views are seen as impermanent, dukkha if grasped and not-self.

This is why Buddha didnt discuss metaphysical questions

"A monk whose mind is thus released does not take sides with anyone, does not dispute with anyone. He words things by means of what is said in the world but without grasping at it."
Last edited by clw_uk on Mon Jul 22, 2013 5:32 pm, edited 3 times in total.
“ Your mind is likewise blocked. But the right road awaits you still. Cast out your doubts, your fears and your desires, let go of grief and of hope as well, for where these rule , then the mind is their subject." Boetius
User avatar
clw_uk
 
Posts: 3479
Joined: Sun Jan 11, 2009 2:36 am
Location: Wales, United Kingdom

Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby clw_uk » Sat Jul 06, 2013 8:15 pm

he both abandons that view and does not cling to another view. Thus there is the abandoning of these views; thus there is the relinquishing of these views.



Ties into this sutta

Paramatthaka Sutta: On Views


"A person who associates himself with certain views, considering them as best and making them supreme in the world, he says, because of that, that all other views are inferior; therefore he is not free from contention (with others). In what is seen, heard, cognized and in ritual observances performed, he sees a profit for himself. Just by laying hold of that view he regards every other view as worthless. Those skilled (in judgment)[1] say that (a view becomes) a bond if, relying on it, one regards everything else as inferior. Therefore a bhikkhu should not depend on what is seen, heard or cognized, nor upon ritual observances. He should not present himself as equal to, nor imagine himself to be inferior, nor better than, another. Abandoning (the views) he had (previously) held and not taking up (another), he does not seek a support even in knowledge. Among those who dispute he is certainly not one to take sides. He does not [have] recourse to a view at all. In whom there is no inclination to either extreme, for becoming or non-becoming, here or in another existence, for him there does not exist a fixed viewpoint on investigating the doctrines assumed (by others). Concerning the seen, the heard and the cognized he does not form the least notion. That brahmana[2] who does not grasp at a view, with what could he be identified in the world?

"They do not speculate nor pursue (any notion); doctrines are not accepted by them. A (true) brahmana is beyond, does not fall back on views."


http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .irel.html


and finally

"And how is there the yoke of views? There is the case where a certain person does not discern, as it actually is present, the origination, the passing away, the allure, the drawbacks, & the escape from views. When he does not discern, as it actually is present, the origination, the passing away, the allure, the drawbacks, & the escape from views, then — with regard to views — he is obsessed with view-passion, view-delight, view-attraction, view-infatuation, view-thirst, view-fever, view-fascination, view-craving. This is the yoke of sensuality, the yoke of becoming, & the yoke of views.



http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html
“ Your mind is likewise blocked. But the right road awaits you still. Cast out your doubts, your fears and your desires, let go of grief and of hope as well, for where these rule , then the mind is their subject." Boetius
User avatar
clw_uk
 
Posts: 3479
Joined: Sun Jan 11, 2009 2:36 am
Location: Wales, United Kingdom

Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby clw_uk » Sat Jul 06, 2013 8:19 pm

It's a very original interpretation of the suttas, but it is not the one the Buddha taught.


As I posted earlier its not original, monks were teaching it before me

Ajahn Sumedho

In Ajahn Buddhadasa's book on Dependent Origination, he emphasises that his approach has been on the paticcasamuppada as working in the moment rather than in terms of past present and future lives. When you contemplate, when you practise, you realise that that is the only way it could ever be. This is because we are working with the mind itself. Even when we are considering the birth of a human body, we are not commenting on the birth of our own bodies, but recognising mentally that these bodies were born. Then, in reflection we are noting that mental consciousness arises and ceases. So that whole sequence of Dependent Origination arises and ceases in a moment. The arising and the cessation from avijja is momentary, it is not a kind of permanent avijja. It would be a mistaken view to assume that everything began with avijja and sometime in the future it would all cease.


http://www.amaravati.org/documents/the_ ... 20moa.html



Ajahn Amaro

Then jati (“birth”) comes after that. Birth is the moment we get what we want.
It’s the moment of no turning back. At bhava we can still withdraw. We can be all the
way down the stairs and then think, “Get back in there. Come on, he’s halfway through a
Dhamma talk. This is really too much!” There is still time to get out of it. But jati is
where there’s no turning back. The die is cast, and we’re in there spinning our story to
the cook and getting what we want


http://tisarana.ca/download/e-books/ama ... tshell.pdf

Ajahn Buddhadasa

http://www.what-buddha-taught.net/Books ... uppada.htm

However as our PM's this will be my last post to you

As we agreed its a pointless topic to discuss further as it just goes on and on and on in circles

:toast: :namaste:
“ Your mind is likewise blocked. But the right road awaits you still. Cast out your doubts, your fears and your desires, let go of grief and of hope as well, for where these rule , then the mind is their subject." Boetius
User avatar
clw_uk
 
Posts: 3479
Joined: Sun Jan 11, 2009 2:36 am
Location: Wales, United Kingdom

Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby Ben » Sat Jul 06, 2013 8:31 pm

clw_uk wrote:As we agreed its a pointless topic to discuss further as it just goes on and on and on in circles

:toast: :namaste:


Sadhu!

May I kindly suggest: viewtopic.php?f=41&t=2647

with metta,

Ben
"One cannot step twice into the same river, nor can one grasp any mortal substance in a stable condition, but it scatters and again gathers; it forms and dissolves, and approaches and departs."

- Hereclitus


Compassionate Hands Foundation (Buddhist aid in Myanmar) • Buddhist Global ReliefUNHCR
Buddhist Life Stories of Australia

e: ben.dhammawheel@gmail.com
User avatar
Ben
Site Admin
 
Posts: 16073
Joined: Wed Dec 31, 2008 12:49 am
Location: Land of the sleeping gods

Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby clw_uk » Sat Jul 06, 2013 8:33 pm

Ben wrote:
clw_uk wrote:As we agreed its a pointless topic to discuss further as it just goes on and on and on in circles

:toast: :namaste:


Sadhu!

May I kindly suggest: http://www.dhammawheel.com/viewtopic.php?f=41&t=2647

with metta,

Ben


Much better lol :hug:
“ Your mind is likewise blocked. But the right road awaits you still. Cast out your doubts, your fears and your desires, let go of grief and of hope as well, for where these rule , then the mind is their subject." Boetius
User avatar
clw_uk
 
Posts: 3479
Joined: Sun Jan 11, 2009 2:36 am
Location: Wales, United Kingdom

Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby clw_uk » Sat Jul 06, 2013 11:58 pm

To your credit building such a conceptual framework could not be accomplished by anyone other than one who has quite the intellectual mind, and that is part of the reason I have a good deal of respect for you.


And I do for you :)
“ Your mind is likewise blocked. But the right road awaits you still. Cast out your doubts, your fears and your desires, let go of grief and of hope as well, for where these rule , then the mind is their subject." Boetius
User avatar
clw_uk
 
Posts: 3479
Joined: Sun Jan 11, 2009 2:36 am
Location: Wales, United Kingdom

Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby clw_uk » Sun Jul 07, 2013 12:04 am

BlackBird wrote:Out of interest - If the Buddha was here today, is there anyone here that would not bow at his feet thrice, submit and be admonished by him as to their practice and way of life?



Buddha didn't die 2500 years ago. Arahants are around today as they were then.

They understand the same dhamma as the Buddha and their teachings are there to find :)

We don't need to keep returning to the first recoreded arahant all the time and tbh I think it's more skilful for western ears to refer to the teachings of contemporary arahants (since we use the same language etc)
“ Your mind is likewise blocked. But the right road awaits you still. Cast out your doubts, your fears and your desires, let go of grief and of hope as well, for where these rule , then the mind is their subject." Boetius
User avatar
clw_uk
 
Posts: 3479
Joined: Sun Jan 11, 2009 2:36 am
Location: Wales, United Kingdom

Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby Sylvester » Sun Jul 07, 2013 2:26 am

Spiny Norman wrote:
Sylvester wrote: The "when" in the formula is a causative when, such as "When I add yeast to the dough, it rises".


So does this reasoning also apply to "when this arises, that arises"?


Sorry for the late reply. You're referring to the 2nd limb of the formula -

imassuppādā idaṃ uppajjati


Unlike the first limb, which is framed in the locative absolute (imasmiṃ sati), the imassa in the 2nd limb is either a dative or genitive of ayaṃ (this). Ven T seems to take it as a genitive, when he translates it as "From the arising of this comes the arising of that" - http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html
BB also translates it in its genitive sense "With the arising of this, that arises" : see his translation of SN 12.21.

Since this is not framed in the genitive absolute, no simultaneity is implied. Ven T explains this limb as exemplifying the linear principle (separated by time), while he explains the 1st limb as being synchronic (ie simultaneous) - http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/auth ... index.html

I think Ven T, in interpreting the 1st limb as importing simultaneity, is relying on the possibility offered by the grammar that L.As formed with a present participle (sati = locative of santo; santo = pres p of atthi) can import simultaneity. BUT, that possibility only seems to be true of adverbial sentences (ie 2 clauses in one sentence, each clause with an action verb). The grammars don't extend this option to nominal clauses such as those whose predicate/verb is atthi or hoti (there is, is).

Edit - you can find an expanded explanation of the above here - viewtopic.php?f=23&t=6014&p=252658#p252658
Sylvester
 
Posts: 1503
Joined: Tue Mar 10, 2009 9:57 am

Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby Spiny Norman » Sun Jul 07, 2013 11:42 am

Sylvester wrote:
Spiny Norman wrote:
Sylvester wrote: The "when" in the formula is a causative when, such as "When I add yeast to the dough, it rises".


So does this reasoning also apply to "when this arises, that arises"?


Sorry for the late reply. You're referring to the 2nd limb of the formula -

imassuppādā idaṃ uppajjati


Unlike the first limb, which is framed in the locative absolute (imasmiṃ sati), the imassa in the 2nd limb is either a dative or genitive of ayaṃ (this). Ven T seems to take it as a genitive, when he translates it as "From the arising of this comes the arising of that" - http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html
BB also translates it in its genitive sense "With the arising of this, that arises" : see his translation of SN 12.21.

Since this is not framed in the genitive absolute, no simultaneity is implied. Ven T explains this limb as exemplifying the linear principle (separated by time), while he explains the 1st limb as being synchronic (ie simultaneous) - http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/auth ... index.html

I think Ven T, in interpreting the 1st limb as importing simultaneity, is relying on the possibility offered by the grammar that L.As formed with a present participle (sati = locative of santo; santo = pres p of atthi) can import simultaneity. BUT, that possibility only seems to be true of adverbial sentences (ie 2 clauses in one sentence, each clause with an action verb). The grammars don't extend this option to nominal clauses such as those whose predicate/verb is atthi or hoti (there is, is).

Edit - you can find an expanded explanation of the above here - viewtopic.php?f=23&t=6014&p=252658#p252658


Thanks, I will try to digest this. I wish I knew more Pali.
User avatar
Spiny Norman
 
Posts: 2508
Joined: Fri Mar 05, 2010 10:32 am
Location: With the cockney chimney-sweeps in Mary Poppins

Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby BlackBird » Sun Jul 07, 2013 1:41 pm

clw_uk wrote:
BlackBird wrote:Out of interest - If the Buddha was here today, is there anyone here that would not bow at his feet thrice, submit and be admonished by him as to their practice and way of life?



Buddha didn't die 2500 years ago. Arahants are around today as they were then.

They understand the same dhamma as the Buddha and their teachings are there to find :)

We don't need to keep returning to the first recoreded arahant all the time and tbh I think it's more skilful for western ears to refer to the teachings of contemporary arahants (since we use the same language etc)


This I take great problem with. The Buddha is not merely an arahant. And furthermore how can you prove any teacher today is one. They don't have a great big sign pointing to them. You only have your faith, and even then that might be widely misplaced.

"We don't need to keep returning to the first recorded arahant" <- Yes we do, he's the only perfectly enlightened being, and the only one who can represent the teachings correctly beyond a shadow of a doubt - The Buddha and his immediate disciples that is.

"I think it's more skillful for western ears to refer to the teachings of contemporary arahants" <- Fallacious notion, and frankly very very unskillful thing to say. To discourage anyone from seeking out the Buddha's own words - That is not a skillful thing to do. To assume that contemporary teachers know the Dhamma just as well as the Buddha did is shoddy thinking. As I have already mentioned, you seem to take it for granted that there are teachers who are arahants today and that they're common enough that you can refer your western friends to a random teacher and there's a good enough chance he'll be an arahant that they're better off listening to him than reading the Buddha's own words.

I happen to think Stream enterers are very rare to say nothing of arahants. But either way, neither view can be proven, so this is one area where a healthy skepticism is not just worthwhile, but necessary. We cannot prove anyone's an arahant, but we can take the Buddha at his word as being the Buddha, which means he possessed qualities arahants did not. Sariputta was among disciples, the foremost in understanding of doctrine, Mogallana? The best at supernormal powers. Ananda - The best at remembering the teachings. Maha Kassapa? The best at Kammathana and forest dwelling. Which proves that arahants are not created equally. The Buddha was miles above everyone in every factor and quality.

Honestly, no offence man, but you speak so casually as if 'why bother with the Buddha's teachings when you've got arahants of today's time' - I just think that's really disrespectful to the Buddha. Sorry if thats not what you intended by it, but that's the way it comes off.

Go to the source, get the message from the horse's mouth - It will never serve you wrong people.

I'm done here.

metta
Jack
"For a disciple who has conviction in the Teacher's message & lives to penetrate it, what accords with the Dhamma is this:
'The Blessed One is the Teacher, I am a disciple. He is the one who knows, not I." - MN. 70 Kitagiri Sutta
User avatar
BlackBird
 
Posts: 1861
Joined: Fri Apr 17, 2009 12:07 pm
Location: New Zealand

Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby Vern Stevens » Mon Jul 08, 2013 12:46 am

BlackBird wrote: Fallacious notion, and frankly very very unskillful thing to say. To discourage anyone from seeking out the Buddha's own words - That is not a skillful thing to do. To assume that contemporary teachers know the Dhamma just as well as the Buddha did is shoddy thinking.


What if a person needs a more western interpretation first because they don't "get" the words of the Buddha on reading them? It's not necessarily a matter of whether contemporary teachers understand the Dhamma better than the Buddha. Rather, it may simply be a matter if a teacher can start someone down a path to understanding the Buddha's words better. Yes, ultimately one should read the Buddha's words, but then we also have to "trust" translation unless we learn Pali. Note, I'm not suggesting that any contemporary teachers are actually arahants... I have no idea if they are or not. For some folks, the path cannot be as straight as it can be for others. If you only knew the curvy road that's brought me here.... :)

Kind regards.
“What we think, we become.“ - The Buddha
User avatar
Vern Stevens
 
Posts: 61
Joined: Sat May 25, 2013 11:19 pm
Location: Virginia Beach, VA

Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby Aloka » Mon Jul 08, 2013 3:25 pm

Vern Stevens wrote:
BlackBird wrote: Fallacious notion, and frankly very very unskillful thing to say. To discourage anyone from seeking out the Buddha's own words - That is not a skillful thing to do. To assume that contemporary teachers know the Dhamma just as well as the Buddha did is shoddy thinking.


What if a person needs a more western interpretation first because they don't "get" the words of the Buddha on reading them? It's not necessarily a matter of whether contemporary teachers understand the Dhamma better than the Buddha. Rather, it may simply be a matter if a teacher can start someone down a path to understanding the Buddha's words better.


Yes, what you have said is timely and reasoned, Vern. Speaking as someone qualified as a schoolteacher for 11 to 18 year olds, its clear that adults, after leaving school, as well as teenagers. benefit from further discussion and explanation in connection with subject areas which they find difficult. There's no reason why trying to understand some of the suttas should be any different, or why it could be wrong to receive help and advice from living Dhamma teachers who have dedicated their lives to the Buddha and his teachings.


:anjali:
User avatar
Aloka
 
Posts: 3615
Joined: Wed Jan 21, 2009 2:51 pm

Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby binocular » Sun Jul 14, 2013 2:16 pm

BlackBird wrote:Go to the source, get the message from the horse's mouth

When there is uncertainty about how adequately the Pali Canon (and even more so if one has to read it only in translations) represents the teachings of the Buddha, one cannot simply take it on unquestionable faith that the Pali Canon is the teachings of the Buddha.
This kind of uncertainty comes up for many people, and it can manifest in many forms. One cannot just ignore one has this uncertainty, pretending that everything is fine.
binocular
 
Posts: 1351
Joined: Sat Jan 17, 2009 11:13 pm

Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby nowheat » Mon Jul 15, 2013 7:25 am

Hello all. Returning (after long absence) to the party.

reflection wrote:So what could get us more back on is this, from a sutta quoted earlier:
[The Buddha:] "Don't say that, Ananda. Don't say that. Deep is this dependent co-arising, and deep its appearance. It's because of not understanding and not penetrating this Dhamma that this generation is like a tangled skein, a knotted ball of string, like matted rushes and reeds, and does not go beyond transmigration, beyond the planes of deprivation, woe, and bad destinations.
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html

So understanding dependent origination makes one go beyond the bad destinations. Or in other words, one with right view won't be reborn in lower realms, as stated in various suttas. Of course, somebody could say that a momentary dependent origination somehow prevents one from being reborn there, but isn't it far more logical that actually understanding the process of rebirth has something to do with it?


There is more than one way to look at what the Buddha said there. He could well have meant that this generation does not get beyond transmigration, planes of deprivation,woe and bad destinations in their thinking. This would be logical since it is the way we think about things that is at the heart of our problems. So the Buddha is suggesting that folks are stuck in their thinking, because those are the views they cling to: transmigration, planes of deprivation, etc. He may be saying here that dependent arising, when understood, takes one beyond that sort of thinking.

:namaste:
nowheat
 
Posts: 525
Joined: Thu Oct 15, 2009 3:42 am

Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby nowheat » Mon Jul 15, 2013 8:47 am

clw_uk wrote:
"Now what is aging and death? Whatever aging, decrepitude, brokenness, graying, wrinkling, decline of life-force, weakening of the faculties of the various beings in this or that group of beings, that is called aging. Whatever deceasing, passing away, breaking up, disappearance, dying, death, completion of time, break up of the aggregates, casting off of the body, interruption in the life faculty of the various beings in this or that group of beings, that is called death.

"And what is birth? Whatever birth, taking birth, descent (into the mother's womb), coming-to-be, coming-forth, appearance of aggregates, & acquisition of [sense] media of the various beings in this or that group of beings, that is called birth.


Is that part of the original sutta?

And I read here the definition of birth and ageing in all its forms

birth of of the aggregates, birth of "I am" in moments etc

ageing of aggregates, decay of "I am" in moments etc


In SN 12.2, where the Buddha gives that detailed analysis of each link, "into the mother's womb" isn't in the Pali, but (as noted well after the post I quoted here) it does appear in DN 15, albeit there it is back in the third link, when "consciousness descends into the mother's womb" (which is in the Pali: mātukucchismiṃ okkamitvā, with the latter defined briefly as "having entered; having fallen into; having come on" but PED has a very nice discussion of okkamati as representing an internal change -- in the same sort of way "going to sleep" doesn't involve going anywhere). At any rate, I have no problem with having the definition above include literal birth.

In my understanding of Dependent Arising (DA) that doesn't make the link *about* literal birth, however tempting it is to see it that way. There is another way to understand what's going on in these links, as I've argued before, and that is to recognize that they aren't definitions in the way we define things now, they aren't telling us "what" is, but "where" it is. DA, being an object of meditation, is telling us the field we need to pay attention to in order to see what is going on in each link, and it is describing a condition that has to be present in order for what's going on to happen, but it isn't actually explaining what's happening.

This is why consciousness at #3 is fine being explained as something that "descends into the womb" (or however we want to use the word, whether from a rebirth perspective or a modern science perspective) it is that consciousness that comes into being through conception, pregnancy, and birth. It is within that consciousness that something is going on that we need to see to locate the problem. So when the Buddha says to Ananda in DN 15 that if there were no consciousness there could be no name-and-form, that's quite true: the field we are talking about (consciousness) does indeed depend on name-and-form.

reflection wrote:Birth of aggregates is literal birth. For one thing, because one of the aggregates, it doesn't arise all the time: "this body composed of the four great elements is seen standing for a year, two years, three, four, five, ten, twenty, thirty, forty, fifty, a hundred years or more." (SN 12.61). And about "acquisition of [sense] media of the various beings in this or that group of beings", you are suggesting "I am" arises in various groups of beings? As in, animals, humans etc.

Likewise, the part about death, it's even more clear: "decline of life-force, completion of time, casting off of the body, interruption in the life faculty ".. don't you think it is all very obvious? Now how would the 'birth' "I am" logically lead to this literal death? It doesn't.


The same is the case for the last step as aging-and-death. The field in which what we're looking for is taking place is in that decline of life, and the casting off of the body -- effectively in impermanence. The literal description is the field -- the nutriment, really -- for what is being pointed out: dukkha. We experience dukkha in the field of sickness, aging and death.

We experience what goes on in "birth" in the field of our continued existence (as opposed to the transitory experience of bhava, which comes before). If there were no birth, of any being of any kind anywhere, would we ever move on to experience dukkha? Of course not! So, yes, jati, "birth" is describing birth in ways that people of the day would understand it literally, but not because "birth" is what is being described, but because it is the field that is required for our visible actions in the world to take place.

This is why, when Sariputta describes Right View in MN 9, shortly before he sets off doing each of the links, he includes the nutriments: we need to understand the place of nutriments to understand DA -- because it is described in terms of nutriments (or fields, or "where") not in terms of "what".

:namaste:
nowheat
 
Posts: 525
Joined: Thu Oct 15, 2009 3:42 am

Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby Sylvester » Mon Jul 15, 2013 9:32 am

nowheat wrote:Hello all. Returning (after long absence) to the party.

reflection wrote:So what could get us more back on is this, from a sutta quoted earlier:
[The Buddha:] "Don't say that, Ananda. Don't say that. Deep is this dependent co-arising, and deep its appearance. It's because of not understanding and not penetrating this Dhamma that this generation is like a tangled skein, a knotted ball of string, like matted rushes and reeds, and does not go beyond transmigration, beyond the planes of deprivation, woe, and bad destinations.
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html

So understanding dependent origination makes one go beyond the bad destinations. Or in other words, one with right view won't be reborn in lower realms, as stated in various suttas. Of course, somebody could say that a momentary dependent origination somehow prevents one from being reborn there, but isn't it far more logical that actually understanding the process of rebirth has something to do with it?


There is more than one way to look at what the Buddha said there. He could well have meant that this generation does not get beyond transmigration, planes of deprivation,woe and bad destinations in their thinking. This would be logical since it is the way we think about things that is at the heart of our problems. So the Buddha is suggesting that folks are stuck in their thinking, because those are the views they cling to: transmigration, planes of deprivation, etc. He may be saying here that dependent arising, when understood, takes one beyond that sort of thinking.

:namaste:


Hi hi.

It might be possible to read it as such (ie one cannot escape thinking in terms of x, y or z).

But is the term ativattati ever actually used in the context of escaping a framework/world-view, or does it only ever pop up in terms of escaping from the real stuff (instead of the mere conceptualisations)? You get the same formula used in AN 4.199 -

Taṇhaṃ vo bhikkhave desissāmi jāliniṃ saritaṃ visaṭaṃ visattikaṃ, yāya ayaṃ loko uddhasto pariyonaddho tantākulakajāto gulāguṇḍikajāto muñjababbajabhūto apāyaṃ duggatiṃ vinipātaṃ saṃsāraṃ nātivattati.

Monks, I will teach you craving: the ensnarer that has flowed along, spread out, and caught hold, with which this world is smothered & enveloped like a tangled skein, a knotted ball of string, like matted rushes and reeds, and does not go beyond transmigration, beyond the planes of deprivation, woe, & bad destinations.


DN 15 says that the generation does not escape saṃsāra, while AN 4.199 says the same for the world. DN 15 says the cause is ananubodhā appaṭivedhā (not understanding and not penetrating), while AN 4.199 identifies the cause as craving. Can saṃsāraṃ nātivattati (does not escape the round) in AN 4.199 lend itself to a mere conceptual grip, or a yoke to the saṃsāra?

:anjali:
Sylvester
 
Posts: 1503
Joined: Tue Mar 10, 2009 9:57 am

Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby nowheat » Mon Jul 15, 2013 6:07 pm

Sylvester wrote:But is the term ativattati ever actually used in the context of escaping a framework/world-view, or does it only ever pop up in terms of escaping from the real stuff (instead of the mere conceptualisations)?
...
DN 15 says that the generation does not escape saṃsāra, while AN 4.199 says the same for the world. DN 15 says the cause is ananubodhā appaṭivedhā (not understanding and not penetrating), while AN 4.199 identifies the cause as craving. Can saṃsāraṃ nātivattati (does not escape the round) in AN 4.199 lend itself to a mere conceptual grip, or a yoke to the saṃsāra?

Given that what I am arguing (in a small way above, but in a much larger framework elsewhere) is that the Buddha tends to be saying, most of the time, something deep and profound by saying something that can easily be taken just literally, then, yes, even if ativattati always appears to be literal in context, he is very likely pointing out something else he wants us to see. This is what I am saying, too, with the literal description of birth. It makes perfect sense that that definition of birth is literal -- it is, I agree, literal -- but you have to understand the context (in that case, the underlying structure of DA) to get that it is pointing out something much more profound.

Adding on to the double-leveled vocabulary, I will point out that the Buddha was arguing against (among many other views) the view that self and the world are one and the same, so when he speaks of "the world" in phrases like the one you mentioned "escape from the world" it is quite logical to see that as a clever way of suggesting that one needs to escape from the self. This same set up is used in the famous sutta where he is asked if one can escape by walking to the end of the world; all the word-play in there in which he says you can't but you must revolves around the two ways of perceiving what is meant by "the world".

Even in the last snippet you quoted, where "the world" is described as smothered in craving -- the physical world doesn't give a whit about craving; it is not caught by any human cravings, and it is certainly not what does not go beyond transmigration -- it is people, and more particularly what passes for a self that folks understand as being smothered in and held back by craving.

:namaste:
nowheat
 
Posts: 525
Joined: Thu Oct 15, 2009 3:42 am

PreviousNext

Return to Open Dhamma

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Sanjay PS and 5 guests