Not believing in life after death

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Re: Not believing in life after death

Postby retrofuturist » Tue Nov 17, 2009 2:35 am

Greetings Mike,

mikenz66 wrote:Is a bit (or a lot) of reading sufficient to really understand?


At an absolute minimum one would have to hear Dhamma (either via eye, or via ear) and relate what is heard to one's experience for verification. There were arahants for whom that was sufficient.

But we digress...

Metta,
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Whatever various forms of unease there are in the world, They originate founded in encumbering accumulation. (Pārāyanavagga)


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One who is such, calmed and ever mindful, He has no sorrows! -- Udana IV, 7


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Re: Not believing in life after death

Postby Laurens » Sun Nov 22, 2009 7:43 pm

There isn't a tendancy in Buddhism to tell you what you can and can't believe, it's much more about discovering the truth for yourself. That being said, one cannot discover the truth with a closed mind, meaning you shouldn't approach any subject such as life after death with complete denial. I think its much better to remain agnostic on such matters, untill one knows for one's self.

If you are against blind faith, then having blind faith that there is no life beyond this one is just as bad as having blind faith that there is.

But to answer in short, no I don't think such a belief is needed, but an open mind certainly is.

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Re: Not believing in life after death

Postby Northernbuck » Mon Nov 23, 2009 5:04 am

I tend to either overcomplicate issues or oversimplify issues. Remember, I'm just starting out. While I acknowledge that there is a possibility of rebirth, I cannot tell anyone that I believe in it as I do not remember the last time I died. I would rather concentrate on this moment in time. So I wouldn't worry about it. :D
But if this neutral feeling that has arisen is conditioned by the body which is impermanent, compounded and dependently arisen, how could such a neutral feeling be permanent? - SN 36.7
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Re: Not believing in life after death

Postby shjohnk » Mon Nov 23, 2009 6:40 am

An interesting thing for me is that we will never know whether there is rebirth or not, because when we are reborn (I believe we will be) we will not remember this life and that we wondered about it in this life. But for me a lot of the Buddha's teachings would seem pointless without literal rebirth. Just my opinion :thinking:

Edit: And there is that sutta about the Buddha's chief lay-supporter Anathapindika being reborn as a heavenly being and coming back to visit the Buddha... Without literal rebirth then what is this sutta? If this is 'allegorical' then why isn't that explained clearly? I don't see how literal rebirth deniers can accommodate this sutta in to their ideas.
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Re: Not believing in life after death

Postby Paññāsikhara » Mon Nov 23, 2009 7:18 am

shjohnk wrote:An interesting thing for me is that we will never know whether there is rebirth or not, because when we are reborn (I believe we will be) we will not remember this life and that we wondered about it in this life.


Hi John :)

But doesn't this assume that the only way to know is to die, and that there is no continuation of memory after death? Buddhism also states that there are other ways to know, while in the present life. And also that for some, they in fact do remember their past lives while in the present life. (Check out cases from Ian Stevenson, etc.)

The former comes from very deep forms of meditation, and it also appears that the latter is maybe more common in those who kept clear and wholesome mental states in their past lives, too. Or, in other words, when our minds are defiled, then we will not know. When the mind is purified, there is the possibility. To conclude that because our minds are "presently" obscured, we will "never know", is therefore a bit problematic.
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Re: Not believing in life after death

Postby Sanghamitta » Mon Nov 23, 2009 9:13 am

Paññāsikhara wrote:
shjohnk wrote:An interesting thing for me is that we will never know whether there is rebirth or not, because when we are reborn (I believe we will be) we will not remember this life and that we wondered about it in this life.


Hi John :)

But doesn't this assume that the only way to know is to die, and that there is no continuation of memory after death? Buddhism also states that there are other ways to know, while in the present life. And also that for some, they in fact do remember their past lives while in the present life. (Check out cases from Ian Stevenson, etc.)

The former comes from very deep forms of meditation, and it also appears that the latter is maybe more common in those who kept clear and wholesome mental states in their past lives, too. Or, in other words, when our minds are defiled, then we will not know. When the mind is purified, there is the possibility. To conclude that because our minds are "presently" obscured, we will "never know", is therefore a bit problematic.


Quite, It requires a huge leap of faith to deny the reality of Rebirth in Buddhism. It requires believing that generations of Buddhists over the last 2500 years have been fooling themselves or others when they say that remember their previous births, or that they are simply lying. The Buddhists who claim to remember include among them some of the wisest and most learned and compassionate people that have emerged from among the Buddhas followers, so if they are wrong or lying then we might want to ask ourselves what about Buddhism IS reliable and worthy of our attention. There are far more direct and less demanding ways to improve our psychological functioning. A Buddhism without Rebirth stretches my credulity too far.
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Re: Not believing in life after death

Postby Bhikkhu Pesala » Mon Nov 23, 2009 11:05 am

Sanghamitta wrote:Quite, It requires a huge leap of faith to deny the reality of Rebirth in Buddhism.

Not to mention turning a blind eye to most of what is says in texts such as the Mahāsīhanāda Sutta, among many others.

Now on that occasion Sunakkhatta, son of the Licchavis, had recently left this Dhamma and Discipline. [1] He was making this statement before the Vesali assembly: "The recluse Gotama does not have any superhuman states, any distinction in knowledge and vision worthy of the noble ones. [2] The recluse Gotama teaches a Dhamma (merely) hammered out by reasoning, following his own line of inquiry as it occurs to him, and when he teaches the Dhamma to anyone, it leads him when he practices it to the complete destruction of suffering.

"Sariputta, this misguided man Sunakkhatta will never infer of me according to Dhamma: 'That Blessed One is accomplished, fully enlightened, perfect in true knowledge and conduct, sublime, knower of worlds, incomparable leader of persons to be tamed, teacher of gods and humans, enlightened, blessed.

"Again, with the divine eye, which is purified and surpasses the human, the Tathagata sees beings passing away and reappearing, inferior and superior, fair and ugly, fortunate and unfortunate, and he understands how beings pass on according to their actions thus: 'These worthy beings who were ill-conducted in body, speech and mind, revilers of noble ones, wrong in their views, giving effect to wrong view in their actions, on the dissolution of the body, [71] after death, have reappeared in a state of deprivation, in a bad destination, in perdition, even in hell; but these worthy beings who were well-conducted in body, speech and mind, not revilers of noble ones, right in their views, giving effect to right view in their actions, on the dissolution of the body, after death, have reappeared in a good destination, even in the heavenly world.' Thus with the divine eye, which is purified and surpasses the human, he sees beings passing away and reappearing, inferior and superior, fair and ugly, fortunate and unfortunate, and he understands how beings pass on according to their actions.
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Re: Not believing in life after death

Postby pilgrim » Mon Nov 23, 2009 11:53 am

One can believe or not believe. But no one can deny that the Fully Enlightened One taught it as a literal truth.
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Re: Not believing in life after death

Postby Laurens » Mon Nov 23, 2009 1:53 pm

pilgrim wrote:One can believe or not believe. But no one can deny that the Fully Enlightened One taught it as a literal truth.

I agree, but the thing is people will insist upon denying it! I'm not sure why, it clearly says in the suttas:

"Householders, it is by reason of unrighteous conduct, conduct not in accordance with the Dhamma, that some beings here, on the breakup of the body, after death, are reborn in a state of misery, in a bad destination, in the lower world, in hell."

MN 41

Nevertheless people continue trying to make out that the Buddha did not teach literal rebirth, although you can't really get more literal than the quote above.

Anyways, I'll shush before we go too far off topic.

Best wishes
Laurens
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Re: Not believing in life after death

Postby clw_uk » Mon Nov 23, 2009 2:18 pm

shjohnk wrote:An interesting thing for me is that we will never know whether there is rebirth or not, because when we are reborn (I believe we will be) we will not remember this life and that we wondered about it in this life. But for me a lot of the Buddha's teachings would seem pointless without literal rebirth. Just my opinion :thinking:

Edit: And there is that sutta about the Buddha's chief lay-supporter Anathapindika being reborn as a heavenly being and coming back to visit the Buddha... Without literal rebirth then what is this sutta? If this is 'allegorical' then why isn't that explained clearly? I don't see how literal rebirth deniers can accommodate this sutta in to their ideas.




If you want to see a response I have posted one in the great rebirth debate thread


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Re: Not believing in life after death

Postby clw_uk » Mon Nov 23, 2009 2:21 pm

pilgrim wrote:One can believe or not believe. But no one can deny that the Fully Enlightened One taught it as a literal truth.




he did teach it but not in the way you think of it, refer to great rebirth debate thread
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Re: Not believing in life after death

Postby Laurens » Mon Nov 23, 2009 2:45 pm

clw_uk wrote:
pilgrim wrote:One can believe or not believe. But no one can deny that the Fully Enlightened One taught it as a literal truth.




he did teach it but not in the way you think of it, refer to great rebirth debate thread


Can you be sure that he taught it in the way that you think of it?
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Re: Not believing in life after death

Postby clw_uk » Mon Nov 23, 2009 2:53 pm

Laurens wrote:
clw_uk wrote:
pilgrim wrote:One can believe or not believe. But no one can deny that the Fully Enlightened One taught it as a literal truth.




he did teach it but not in the way you think of it, refer to great rebirth debate thread


Can you be sure that he taught it in the way that you think of it?




If there is one thing that is certain in the universe its that nothing is certain :jumping: . Of course i cant say im 100% sure this is exactly what Buddha meant and neither can anyone else here really (i assume). I can only go by what the evidence is via the suttas, what the monks and nuns say and what my experience and understanding says


for me (and others as well) rebirth after death as a frog just doesnt make sense in relation to what the Buddha was trying to get across. Now i dont say that he never mentioned such a thing to some people and I dont deny there is such a thing as rebirth I just dont see them in the teachings of the Buddha (4nt's/NEFP, meditation subjects etc etc)


now im probably going to get into trouble for posting this here so if you would like to discuss it more please refer to the great rebith debate thread :)


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Re: Not believing in life after death

Postby Sanghamitta » Mon Nov 23, 2009 2:57 pm

Sanghamitta wrote:
Paññāsikhara wrote:
shjohnk wrote:An interesting thing for me is that we will never know whether there is rebirth or not, because when we are reborn (I believe we will be) we will not remember this life and that we wondered about it in this life.


Hi John :)

But doesn't this assume that the only way to know is to die, and that there is no continuation of memory after death? Buddhism also states that there are other ways to know, while in the present life. And also that for some, they in fact do remember their past lives while in the present life. (Check out cases from Ian Stevenson, etc.)

The former comes from very deep forms of meditation, and it also appears that the latter is maybe more common in those who kept clear and wholesome mental states in their past lives, too. Or, in other words, when our minds are defiled, then we will not know. When the mind is purified, there is the possibility. To conclude that because our minds are "presently" obscured, we will "never know", is therefore a bit problematic.


Quite, It requires a huge leap of faith to deny the reality of Rebirth in Buddhism. It requires believing that generations of Buddhists over the last 2500 years have been fooling themselves or others when they say that remember their previous births, or that they are simply lying. The Buddhists who claim to remember include among them some of the wisest and most learned and compassionate people that have emerged from among the Buddhas followers, so if they are wrong or lying then we might want to ask ourselves what about Buddhism IS reliable and worthy of our attention. There are far more direct and less demanding ways to improve our psychological functioning. A Buddhism without Rebirth stretches my credulity too far.

So clw uk, are those generations of Buddhists who decribe their memories of of previous births merely mistaken, or are they lying ?
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Re: Not believing in life after death

Postby clw_uk » Mon Nov 23, 2009 2:58 pm

ignore my last post, already answered u there




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Re: Not believing in life after death

Postby Sanghamitta » Mon Nov 23, 2009 3:37 pm

Well actually you havent answered it at all. You have merely stated an alternative set of beliefs of your own, You have not addressed the testimony of the those who have won through to that state of knowledge at all.
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Re: Not believing in life after death

Postby retrofuturist » Mon Nov 23, 2009 10:16 pm

Greetings,

In light of this...

zooropa1844 wrote:Thank you all of you for your advise and opinions (and the link). They have been really helpful. I've gathered some gems in your posts and that's enough for the moment to overcome my concern on this issue and keep on discovering the Dhamma.

Javi


... and the increasingly blurred lines between this topic and The Great Rebirth Debate, I'm going to close this topic down and redirect anyone who wishes to continue the conversation to...

The Great Rebirth Debate
viewtopic.php?f=16&t=41

Javi.... if you come to have any further questions on the matter which you would like to discuss independently of the Great Rebirth Debate, feel free to start a new topic to do so.

Metta,
Retro. :)
If you have asked me of the origination of unease, then I shall explain it to you in accordance with my understanding:
Whatever various forms of unease there are in the world, They originate founded in encumbering accumulation. (Pārāyanavagga)


Exalted in mind, just open and clearly aware, the recluse trained in the ways of the sages:
One who is such, calmed and ever mindful, He has no sorrows! -- Udana IV, 7


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