Questions About Kamma and Rebirth

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Re: Questions About Kamma and Rebirth

Postby TheNoBSBuddhist » Mon Apr 28, 2014 8:14 am

No.

The Dhamma is hard to grasp because;

    We refuse to believe it is so simple
    We are too attached to compounded phenomena.
    We grasp at the desire for Permanence of familiar things.
    We fail to see that it is within reach.
    we TRY TOO HARD.

The Dhamma is like a handful of cream in the palm of our hands;
squeeze our hand into a fist, to clutch it tightly, and the cream escapes through every tiny crack and crevice, and leaves our hand empty...
But cradle it gently and merely fold your fingers to contain the cream, and it will always remain with you.

:namaste:

Edit:

OH.....
I was responding to a previous post , made by indian_buddhist, which read "That's because the Dharma is hard to grasp" in response to my sympathetic post for silver surfer....

That post seems to have been removed.
I apologise for the confusion, but it's not my fault.
:namaste:

You will not be punished FOR your 'emotions'; you will be punished BY your 'emotions'.



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‘Absit invidia verbo’ - may ill-will be absent from the word. And mindful of that, if I don't respond, this may be why....
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Re: Questions About Kamma and Rebirth

Postby mikenz66 » Mon Apr 28, 2014 8:23 am

Spiny Norman wrote:
mikenz66 wrote:By all means, explain what the Buddha meant by the expressions commonly translated as "rebirth" or "reincarnation", (there is no "re" in the Pali as far as I understand) and explain why the anatta doctrine makes the terms rebirth or reincarnation extremely misleading.


But surely we need some way of distinguishing between the cycle of dependent arising of consciousness with the assumption of anatta ( "rebirth" ), and the continual transmigration of a "soul" based on the assumption of atta ( "reincarnation" )?

Sure, you need to explain it like that! Not just make vague statements like: "The Buddha taught rebirth not reincarnation" and expect readers to figure out the difference between the synonyms...

I do understand that some Buddhists do adopt these two words in a technical way to distinguish the concepts (just as "suffering" or "mindfulness" are used as technical translations of the Pali terms dhukkha and sati), but expecting anyone to understand the difference that they are getting at without providing a detailed explanation is not helpful, in my opinion.

:anjali:
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Re: Questions About Kamma and Rebirth

Postby TheNoBSBuddhist » Mon Apr 28, 2014 10:49 am

I feel sure - although I could be wrong - that mikenz66 is referring to me with his criticism of omission of explanation.

If not, my mistake, but if so, then it's a valid point.

I did not wish to actually elaborate excessively until silver surfer came back and probed further.
I did not wish to bombard him with so much new information, given the amount of rubbish he already had to plough through, given the long, wordy, lengthy but ultimately largely frivolous text he posted.

I felt refraining from giving too much information might prompt further discussion with him, and pique his curiosity, enabling a shorter, clearer and more accurate discussion to ensue.

As it is - in my opinion - he has now been bombarded with so much information, and so many wordy, lengthy and perhaps rather complex replies, that it is hardly surprising to me that he seems to have (currently) abandoned discussing the matter further.

He may have been put off by the avalanche of responses, some of which I believe, actually reach beyond a beginner's initial capacity to digest.
We all know what we're talking about.
silver-surfer is a complete novice, and personally, I feel this thread has become too daunting.

But that's just me, ignoramus that I am.

:namaste:
:namaste:

You will not be punished FOR your 'emotions'; you will be punished BY your 'emotions'.



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‘Absit invidia verbo’ - may ill-will be absent from the word. And mindful of that, if I don't respond, this may be why....
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Re: Questions About Kamma and Rebirth

Postby mikenz66 » Mon Apr 28, 2014 11:12 am

Hi TNBSB,

I wasn't referring to you in particular. I was merely agreeing with LE that to tell someone new to Buddhism that "The Buddha taught rebirth not reincarnation" does not lead to reduced confusion, since it requires the reader to already have read the particular authors who make that particular distinction between two terms that are English-language synonyms. Some writers use the term "rebirth", some "reincarnation", and some "transmigration" http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/sn/sn15/sn15.003.than.html. Arguably, any of those terms are very misleading in a Buddhist context, since they seem to imply some sort of "soul" or "self" that is reborn, reincarnated, or transmigrated.

The explanations and links to what the Buddha taught, which you and others gave, are very helpful. I think that the link that Cooran gave here summarises the ideas quite well. In my view, in such a difficult topic, there are no shortcuts to giving a detailed explanation.

:anjali:
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Re: Questions About Kamma and Rebirth

Postby TheNoBSBuddhist » Mon Apr 28, 2014 11:18 am

Thank you for your kind and considered response, mike.

:sage:

I see what you mean about explanations needing to have substance and depth; indeed, it is impossible to not go into detail, I agree...

I just hope our OP comes back. It would be a shame, if not, because he seemed extremely enthusiastic!

:namaste:
:namaste:

You will not be punished FOR your 'emotions'; you will be punished BY your 'emotions'.



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Re: Questions About Kamma and Rebirth

Postby beeblebrox » Mon Apr 28, 2014 11:52 am

Spiny Norman wrote:But surely we need some way of distinguishing between the cycle of dependent arising of consciousness with the assumption of anatta ( "rebirth" ), and the continual transmigration of a "soul" based on the assumption of atta ( "reincarnation" )?


Hi Spiny,

I don't think that's quite right... the birth had been ended for the Buddha and arahants because they've understood anatta completely, among other things. (If we viewed the nibbana as the ending of greed, hatred and delusion, this would fall under the category of delusion.)

The rebirth continues because of the assumption of the self, or "clinging."

It also doesn't end if we decided to just get rid of the self (i.e., annihilationism and/or nihilism), because it is still an assumption that the problem was self-based.

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Re: Questions About Kamma and Rebirth

Postby silver surfer » Mon Apr 28, 2014 1:50 pm

Thank you all, for all the stuff you've provided.

Actually, the thing I'm having trouble understanding is; the being that is born = is it the me of right now, or someone/something else. In meditation I focus on my breath, and try to put a distance between my current (momentary) mind and my heart. So what's breathing = is this the thing that is constantly being born? I guess this was my question. I can't say that I fully get it, as I have no idea about my past lives, yet. It's just blank and I don't know anything. I'm trying know, or recollect. But nothing, I really don't know what I am, nor where I came from (yet).

By the way;

TheNoBSBuddhist,
I would think such a person could not possibly exist. A person cannot honestly and compassionately manifest such virtues AND simultaneously think the way you describe. Such a life would be a sham, a pretense. It can't be done.


I guess you got me wrong,

By horrific thoughts, I meant fear and anxiety. Not bad intentions for others. The person I described is wholly good in the heart, but living a bad life because of his conditions. There is also hatred in him, hatred as in, for example ~ hate for animal hunters, because he loves animals so much and feels the utmost compassion for them, but he lacks the power to stop the evil, so he can't find peace. I can't understand how this kind of a craving is bad, it originates out of compassion/empathy. I'm sure you understand what I mean. So what can you say? What kind of a kamma would this person cause?

He is;
good, caring, compassionate, moral, almost egoless.

What his conditions give him;
stress, doubt, hatred, fear and despair.

Well?
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Re: Questions About Kamma and Rebirth

Postby TheNoBSBuddhist » Mon Apr 28, 2014 2:17 pm

silver surfer wrote:Thank you all, for all the stuff you've provided.

Actually, the thing I'm having trouble understanding is; the being that is born = is it the me of right now, or someone/something else. In meditation I focus on my breath, and try to put a distance between my current (momentary) mind and my heart. So what's breathing = is this the thing that is constantly being born? I guess this was my question. I can't say that I fully get it, as I have no idea about my past lives, yet. It's just blank and I don't know anything. I'm trying know, or recollect. But nothing, I really don't know what I am, nor where I came from (yet).


If you read my introductory post, I explain, in my very first post here on site, just how basic, ignorant and simple-minded my practice is.
I am not well-versed in the Dhamma, so cannot give accurate quotations or references.
But this I know:

There is absolutely NO POINT whatsoever, in any way shape or form, in being concerned about what was, who/what you were, what effect it's having or why you are as you are.

You are as you are, because it is what it is.

You are just as able to make a mess of your life now, as it is possible you did in the past.
The Past, you can neither know, or change (with regard to 'previous existences').
All you can do, is to focus on what you are doing here, now, today, and be the best 'silver surfer' you can be.
That truly is what matters.
it's ALL that matters.
Forget trying to work out what kammic events brought you here.
They are not relevant.
Continually trying to fathom them, remember them, work them out - it's completely pointless - as you have discovered!!
so leave it be.
Concentrate on what is before you, now.


By the way;
TheNoBSBuddhist,

I would think such a person could not possibly exist. A person cannot honestly and compassionately manifest such virtues AND simultaneously think the way you describe. Such a life would be a sham, a pretense. It can't be done.


I guess you got me wrong,

By horrific thoughts, I meant fear and anxiety. Not bad intentions for others. The person I described is wholly good in the heart, but living a bad life because of his conditions. There is also hatred in him, hatred as in, for example ~ hate for animal hunters, because he loves animals so much and feels the utmost compassion for them, but he lacks the power to stop the evil, so he can't find peace. I can't understand how this kind of a craving is bad, it originates out of compassion/empathy. I'm sure you understand what I mean. So what can you say? What kind of a kamma would this person cause?

He is;
good, caring, compassionate, moral, almost egoless.

What his conditions give him;
stress, doubt, hatred, fear and despair.

Well?


You need to cultivate an understanding of the 4 Brahma~Viharas:

This is an interesting entry:

http://www.dhammawiki.com/index.php?tit ... ma_Viharas

And also, access to Insight will have much beneficial information.

A person cannot practise sincere Compassion if they have hatred, resentment and animosity in their heart; but the first person you need to go easy on - is you.
We cannot save the world all at once; but by our actions can we be known.

People who wish to change the world, should start with a small garden; a famous 17th Century prayer goes:

"Oh Lord, change the world; begin I pray thee, with me."

Whether we can indeed make a huge difference in our lifetime, is an unknown, but a man walking along a beach, observed a woman picking up stranded starfish, and hurling them back into the ocean. There were thousands, littering the seashore....

he advised her that the work was too much; there were too many of them for her to make any difference.

She hurled another one far out into the waves, and replied, cheerfully:

"Well it made a difference to THAT one!"

Don't burden yourself with the grief of the world; look to yourself, your immediate surroundings, community, family and neighbours, and begin there.
One step at a time, just one....

:namaste:
:namaste:

You will not be punished FOR your 'emotions'; you will be punished BY your 'emotions'.



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Pay attention, simplify, and (Meditation instruction in a nutshell) "Mind - the Gap."
‘Absit invidia verbo’ - may ill-will be absent from the word. And mindful of that, if I don't respond, this may be why....
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Re: Questions About Kamma and Rebirth

Postby santa100 » Mon Apr 28, 2014 2:19 pm

silver surfer wrote:the being that is born = is it the me of right now, or someone/something else. In meditation I focus on my breath, and try to put a distance between my current mind and my heart. So what's breathing = is this the thing that is constantly being born? I guess this was my question. I can't say that I fully get it, as I have no idea about my past lives, yet. It's just blank and I don't know anything. I'm trying know, or recollect. But nothing, I really don't know what I am, nor where I came from (yet).

The Five Aggregates are just "processes", you won't find a "you" or "him" or "her" in them. The body contantly sheds its old cells and generates new cells, so technically you are not exactly the same "you" a moment ago. As a result, questions like "who am I", "what am I", "where I came from", "where I'll become" are irrelevant for they don't address the most important problem which is suffering. Suffering is real and it needs to be addressed.
silver surfer wrote:By horrific thoughts, I meant fear and anxiety. Not bad intentions for others. The person I described is wholly good in the heart, but living a bad life because of his conditions. There is also hatred in him, hatred as in, for example ~ hate for animal hunters, because he loves animals so much and feels the utmost compassion for them, but he lacks the power to stop the evil, so he can't find peace. I don't know if this kind of clinging is bad, because the clinging originates out of compassion. I'm sure you understand what I mean. So what can you say? What kind of a kamma would this person cause?

Then s/he still needs to work on his aversion/hatred defilements and extend his narrow compassion for the animals to include the poachers also. So, clinging doesn't originate out of compassion. It originates out of craving and attachment.
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Re: Questions About Kamma and Rebirth

Postby Spiny Norman » Tue Apr 29, 2014 8:31 am

beeblebrox wrote:
Spiny Norman wrote:But surely we need some way of distinguishing between the cycle of dependent arising of consciousness with the assumption of anatta ( "rebirth" ), and the continual transmigration of a "soul" based on the assumption of atta ( "reincarnation" )?


Hi Spiny,

I don't think that's quite right... the birth had been ended for the Buddha and arahants because they've understood anatta completely, among other things. (If we viewed the nibbana as the ending of greed, hatred and delusion, this would fall under the category of delusion.)
The rebirth continues because of the assumption of the self, or "clinging."


Yes, and DO explains that the cycle of "rebirth" persists while ignorance persists.
I was trying to distinguish between 2 models of becoming - one where where anatta is assumed ( the Buddhist one ) and one where atta is assumed.
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Re: Questions About Kamma and Rebirth

Postby indian_buddhist » Wed Apr 30, 2014 8:45 am

Silver Surfer

your enthusiasm is your greatest strength. Keep that going and you will reach your destination eventually.
Identification with my country is one of my fetters.
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Re: Questions About Kamma and Rebirth

Postby sunyavadin » Wed Apr 30, 2014 10:45 am

It is interesting and relevant that the original expression of the various 'wrong views concerning eternalism' is the Brahmajāla Sutta, the 'All Encompassing Net of Views'. The notion that is mainly criticized on account of it being 'eternalism' is the idea that 'the Self' is something which will endure for ever and ever - like a mountain peak or a pole set fast in the earth are the kinds of similes that are given. This is said to be the view of 'certain ascetics and contemplatives' who had recalled 10, or 20, or hundreds, or thousands of previous existences and came to the conclusion that they therefore were, to all intents, eternal. (Actually if one recalled thousands of prior births, I think that might be an eminently reasonable conclusion.)

Now, whether that view actually amounts to what Western sources mean by 'the soul' is far from obvious. 'The soul' doesn't have to be conceived as 'something self-existent, unchanging and eternal'. 'The soul' might simply be a way of referring to the totality of the human - something more than simply the ego/persona, and encompassing the latencies, tendencies and aspirations which might not be available to conscious introspection. In that way of speaking 'soul' is more a process than an entity - more like, in fact, the 'mind-stream' which is the (rather inelegant) expression that exponents of re-birth are often obliged to adopt.

Just some things to comtemplate.

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