daverupa wrote:Setting aside the occasions (or is it just the one?) of the later 'right view with effluents' shoehorning, I don't see rebirth as a teaching.
Though you set it aside for your purposes in the moment, I did want to respond to "or is it just the one". Presumably "the one" is MN 117, and you're referring to the tripled division of Wrong View, sorta-right view, and The Real Right View. I have found a couple of suttas that indicate to me that it is not just the one, but though they indicate the use of the same model, they don't use exactly the same language.
In MN 78 the Buddha talks about the unwholesome and wholesome (Bodhi's translation) aka the unskillful/skillful (Thanissaro's), and while it is probably obvious to all of us that one needs to replace the unwholesome with the wholesome, he goes on to talk about how practice leads to the end of the wholesome, too, which might seem a bit odd if we didn't have the context of the divided classification of Right View:
"And what are skillful habits? Skillful bodily actions, skillful verbal actions, purity of livelihood. These are called skillful habits. What is the cause of skillful habits? Their cause, too, has been stated, and they are said to be mind-caused. Which mind? — for the mind has many modes & permutations. Any mind without passion, without aversion, without delusion: That is the cause of skillful habits. Now where do skillful habits cease without trace? Their cessation, too, has been stated: There is the case where a monk is virtuous, but not fashioned of virtue. He discerns, as it actually is, the awareness-release & discernment-release where those skillful habits cease without trace. And what sort of practice is the practice leading to the cessation of skillful habits? There is the case where a monk generates desire...for the sake of the non-arising of evil, unskillful qualities that have not yet arisen...for the sake of the abandoning of evil, unskillful qualities that have arisen...for the sake of the arising of skillful qualities that have not yet arisen...(and) for the...development & culmination of skillful qualities that have arisen. This sort of practice is the practice leading to the cessation of skillful habits.
When he says, "...a monk is virtuous, but not fashioned of virtue..." I read this as talking about an attitude of being virtuous (to use a modern phrase:) "for virtue's sake" or (to use my own phrasing:) "applying the rules from the outside to the inside, rather than having an understanding on the inside that leads to good behavior without a need for rules". Certainly. But also including trying to "bank virtue" or "bank merit" towards one's own advantage (whether that's for the esteem of one's peers and gain one's own followers, or toward a good rebirth in the future), and in this last I think we find the Tainted Right View.
I would say that this division is also the point of the shaggy dog story he tells in MN 120, in which the body of the sutta describes what is, in the quote above, skillful (skillful aspiring, I guess, in this case), whereas the punchline (which I read as "...or, you could just cut to the chase and go directly to liberative practices...") represents the attitude he is aiming us toward developing, where skillful habits have ceased without a trace.
And for those wondering "what this has to do with rebirth" for one thing, MN 120 is couched in terms of rebirth and to me it says, "skip hoping for a good rebirth, go straight to practicing for liberation here-and-now" but that is just how I interpret it.