nowheat wrote:So when folks ask "Without rebirth, what is the point?" this is my answer: reducing dukkha for all of us. Does this not seem to you to be a worthwhile motivation?
Am I the only one who recognizes this? I come back to this point over and over and I never hear anyone who believes the Buddha was speaking about literal rebirth and counting it as essential to practice and liberation explain why he would be fostering an attitude that *my* future suffering should be of greater concern than the effect I have on the world-at-large. ((this quote was directed at everyone -- no one has answered it that I have seen.))
Do you disagree that his concern was firstly for the world, and secondarily on individuals... Do you see his teachings as only about how to reduce dukkha for oneself, or don't you find -- as I do -- that the talk of morality has as a pivot point what effect our behavior has on others -- so that we should be concerned not so much with our own suffering but what we cause others? Should our concern with our behavior be significant largely because of merit and our future rebirths? Or are we aiming to understand it -- aside from selfish goals about future rebirth -- through its impact on others? If you find that to be important, can you address my doubts about how helpful rebirth is to a goal of putting the emphasis on the world's suffering, rather than one's own?
Or if I am doing what we humans seem to do so well -- asking questions that are logical within my paradigm but aren't even valid questions within yours -- please show me how the pieces fit in yours. ((this series of quotes was directed specifically to tilt))
nowheat wrote:What I see is that the Buddha recognized this. He set out to cure the suffering for the world, not for one individual. How could he be asking us to focus on one individual, when he says we aren't individuals -- we are not separate.
Ok fine, and so you think you "see" what the Buddha recognised - and you think he set out to cure the suffering of the whole world etc etc....but where did he actually say that he wanted to cure the world's suffering ?
Please provide some actual references to support your statements, Nowheat.
You actually answer my questions when I ask them of you directly, Aloka, so let me give you a brief answer. Though I haven't got a sutta to hand*, if I recall correctly, the Buddha is seen in the suttas to consider just going off by himself now that he has had his awakening -- but he chooses not to. This is what I mean when I say that "he set out to cure the suffering for the world, not for one individual."
Do you disagree with that?
By extension, his concern was not with any one individual, or I guess he'd have gone off and taught that person. As I see (<-- indication that this is my general understanding = opinion) what he was doing, he taught individuals with his aim being to free as many people from dukkha as possible with his teachings. I get this from *his actions* not because he goes around making statements about it. From the way he didn't go off and meditate; from the way he very carefully structured his lessons; and sent monks off to teach; from the way he kept it up for four decades.
That doesn't seem obvious to you? Do you read his actions some other way?
In various ways I have asked folks in general here, and tilt in particular, (see the beginning of this message) how they perceive the practice as regards concern with ones own future rewards vs. concern with how our actions affect others, and not gotten an answer. I am not asking for a battle of the sutta-thumpers, I'm asking for people to share their understanding. My understanding is that the practice is not about fostering a concern with one's own future, but about doing away with all that and recognizing how what we do affects not only us, but those around us; and how the practice leads us to understand that our desire to reduce our suffering is something in common with all people, and that this is the reason we should be kind to others. If you do not perceive reduction of dukkha for all to be what the practice is, ultimately, about, I'd want to hear your understanding of what it is about. If you agree that the practice is, ultimately, not strongly focused on how we create our own suffering (though clearly, that is a part) but, using our own desire to reduce our suffering, directs us towards compassion for others and an understanding of how what we do affects others, then I would like to know how you perceive developing a belief in rebirth works to foster that compassion. I don't actually think that my asking for such a discussion is so far out there that it deserves to be ignored, or buried under extraneous requests for proofs of things I indicated were opinions.
Before anyone asks me to cite suttas in support of this, I will want them to say *they disagree* with me on this point -- that, instead, they think Buddhism puts concern for one's future rebirths over recognition of the ways the things we do in our ignorance harm not just ourselves but others.
* if you need me to provide that sutta, I'll look for it after I've finished the homework Sylvester gave me, which I'll do after I finish the paper I'm working on.