Beginners questions

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Beginners questions

Postby Livindesert » Thu Jan 22, 2009 10:09 pm

O.k. some quick beginners questions. Why is rebirth not eternalism? I mean even without a soul if something can either be reborn or just continues on with no self without being annihilated then is'int that eternalism by default? :shrug:

If life is suffering then why raise a family?

If there is no self then why worry about karma?


thanks : )
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Re: Beginners questions

Postby clw_uk » Thu Jan 22, 2009 10:19 pm

Livindesert wrote:O.k. some quick beginners questions. Why is rebirth not eternalism? I mean even without a soul if something can either be reborn or just continues on with no self without being annihilated then is'int that eternalism by default? :shrug:

If life is suffering then why raise a family?

If there is no self then why worry about karma?


thanks : )


Rebirth is not eternalism becasue as you said there is no permanent Soul passing through only condtionality, thoughts, feelings, perception etc rise and fall and condtion the next, this causality runs through every moment not just lifetimes, its happening right this moment, for example you see something pleasing, this leads to a pleasent feeling arising, when you look away that pleasent feeling that was based on that object ceases. (This is a very simple example.)

The buddha didnt say life is suffering, he said there is suffering. Happines does arise but it has latent suffering because it is based on conditions and therefore it is impermanent and will one day cease to be thus causing pain if you are attached to it. Anything that is conditioned cannot bring lasting satisfaction. In reguards to family life this is not really something i feel qualified to answer as i have no family of my own.

The buddha didnt say there is no self this is wrong view, all things are not self. There is no permanent self in this moment yet there can still be dukkha, so endulging in unwholesome kamma will lead to only more negative experience.

Hope this answers your questions, if not please ask me to clarify :smile:

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Re: Beginners questions

Postby Individual » Thu Jan 22, 2009 10:46 pm

Livindesert wrote:O.k. some quick beginners questions. Why is rebirth not eternalism? I mean even without a soul if something can either be reborn or just continues on with no self without being annihilated then is'int that eternalism by default? :shrug:

If life is suffering then why raise a family?

If there is no self then why worry about karma?


thanks : )

#1. Some Buddhists do subtly teach eternalism through having the "bhavanga," whatever it might be, take the place of the soul in traditional eternalistic theories. This is especially true of Mahayana, which teaches the idea of a subtle mind that transmigrates. However, having an unhealthy obsession with opposing and refuting this view is likely a subtle form of annihilationism.

The Buddha did not teach eternalism, but was pretty explicit that the teaching is neither annihilationism nor eternalism. Recognizing the non-existence of self (both inwardly and outwardly), the question, "Where do I go at death?" ceases to have any meaning.

#2. The first noble truth has a variety of interpretations and it is often misunderstood. Some interpret the first noble truth as meaning life is unsatisfactory, that suffering is a necessary part of life. Others more substantially interpret it as meaning all life is basically worthless and suffering, because all conditioned dharmas, if clinged to, bring suffering, so delighting in conditioned dharmas is always painful.

The Buddha left his family and most monks (in accordance with Vinaya) do not raise families precisely because raising a family is conducive to craving and suffering. But it is possible for a layperson to skillfully endure raising a family, with non-attachment, so as to maximize the happiness from it and minimize the suffering (i.e. from things not going as expected and from family members passing away, or suffering).

#3. There is no self, but there is still selfing. Selfing goes on when you say, "I am this," or "I am not this." Buddhist ethics are not a question of should, but what, in that they do not command people to act a certain way, but simply point out quite stoically that actions have particular consequences. "Worry" is not the right word, though. Instead, it's "concern" for karma. And so, it's not that you should have concern or not for karma, but that having no concern for it will lead to suffering and ignorance, while having great concern for it will lead to joy and enlightenment. Whether you prefer joy and enlightenment over suffering and ignorance is up to you. :)

With metta :heart:,
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Re: Beginners questions

Postby Cittasanto » Thu Jan 22, 2009 11:32 pm

hi Livindesert
Livindesert wrote:Why is rebirth not eternalism? I mean even without a soul if something can either be reborn or just continues on with no self without being annihilated then is'int that eternalism by default? :shrug:


this has been answered quite nicely by Craig so wont add here.

If life is suffering then why raise a family?


Life isn't suffering where does the Buddha say this? There is Suffering, and things are Dukkha (which can be translated as stress, unsatisfactory, as well as suffering to name a few) or as the buddha said
"Now this, monks, is the noble truth of stress:1 Birth is stressful, aging is stressful, death is stressful; sorrow, lamentation, pain, distress, & despair are stressful; association with the unbeloved is stressful, separation from the loved is stressful, not getting what is wanted is stressful. In short, the five clinging-aggregates are stressful.

notice not everything is included only the clinging aggregates are Dukkha.
this is often described and merged with the second noble truth which is the origin of Dukkha the first noble truth not being the origin of, but the fact that Dukkha exists in allot of circumstances but not all is, otherwise it would be impossible to be happy and obvious in all circumstances.

If there is no self then why worry about karma?


Kamma is what we do now and we inherit our Kamma which is action but more precisely Volition
This offering maybe right, or wrong, but it is one, the other, both, or neither!
With Metta
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Blog, - Some Suttas Translated, Ajahn Chah.
"Others will misconstrue reality due to their personal perspectives, doggedly holding onto and not easily discarding them; We shall not misconstrue reality due to our own personal perspectives, nor doggedly holding onto them, but will discard them easily. This effacement shall be done."
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Re: Beginners questions

Postby Livindesert » Thu Jan 22, 2009 11:55 pm

this causality runs through every moment not just lifetimes,


Would not something that runs without stopping be eternal?

"Now this, monks, is the noble truth of stress:1 Birth is stressful, aging is stressful, death is stressful; sorrow, lamentation, pain, distress, & despair are stressful; association with the unbeloved is stressful, separation from the loved is stressful, not getting what is wanted is stressful. In short, the five clinging-aggregates are stressful.


That still seems like he is saying life sucks.
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Re: Beginners questions

Postby clw_uk » Fri Jan 23, 2009 12:03 am

Livindesert wrote:
this causality runs through every moment not just lifetimes,


Would not something that runs without stopping be eternal?

"Now this, monks, is the noble truth of stress:1 Birth is stressful, aging is stressful, death is stressful; sorrow, lamentation, pain, distress, & despair are stressful; association with the unbeloved is stressful, separation from the loved is stressful, not getting what is wanted is stressful. In short, the five clinging-aggregates are stressful.


That still seems like he is saying life sucks.


Only if its the same thing from everymoment, same thought, same feeling, same consciousness. This is the only way there can be permanence, but there is no such thing. There is no permanent feeling, thought etc. True the causality, unless stopped will continue, but it cannot be classed as permanent as it is constantly changing from moment to moment without any permanent "thing" passing through. When something is permanent and eternal it is the exactly the same forever without any kind of alteration.


It is clinging and craving that makes existence dukkha. There are moments of happiness so you cant simply state "life sucks" as this implies a sense of non-stop misery, which it is not. The point is that any happiness that arises from conditionality will never satisfy and bring lasting happiness, not that happiness based on conditions does not exsist.

:namaste:
“Happy is the man who has broken the chains which hurt the mind, and has given up worrying once and for all.” Ovid
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Re: Beginners questions

Postby David N. Snyder » Fri Jan 23, 2009 3:21 am

Livindesert wrote:
"Now this, monks, is the noble truth of stress:1 Birth is stressful, aging is stressful, death is stressful; sorrow, lamentation, pain, distress, & despair are stressful; association with the unbeloved is stressful, separation from the loved is stressful, not getting what is wanted is stressful. In short, the five clinging-aggregates are stressful.


That still seems like he is saying life sucks.

That is the First Noble Truth. There are three more.

It is the un-enlightened life that is suffering. Arahants do not suffer. Pain exists, suffering is optional.
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Re: Beginners questions

Postby Element » Fri Jan 23, 2009 3:37 am

Livindesert wrote:O.k. some quick beginners questions. Why is rebirth not eternalism? I mean even without a soul if something can either be reborn or just continues on with no self without being annihilated then is'int that eternalism by default? :shrug:

Hi Livindesert

I agree with your sentiment. It is both eternalisnm and egoism by default.

If life is suffering then why raise a family?

If you are free, you have choice about raising a family. For example, disciples of the Buddha who succeed at meditation do not need to have a family because they dwell with at least the bliss of meditative absorption or the bliss of Nirvana.

However, if one is a householder, one ideally has a family to develop oneself as a human being, to mature, to develop virtue, love and unselfishness. By developing these virtues and providing good things for one's children, one will gain many benefits such as happiness, long life, beauty, strength, wisdom and self-respect.

If there is no self then why worry about karma?

This question is invalid. Karma arises from self interest. If there was no self there would be no karma.

However, to answer your question, according to its intention, from bad kamma comes suffering and we do not really wish to suffer.

With metta

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Re: Beginners questions

Postby Livindesert » Fri Jan 23, 2009 11:34 am

This question is invalid. Karma arises from self interest. If there was no self there would be no karma.


So are you saying their is a self just a temporary one? In other words its all in your mind.

Also if there is annihilation whats the point of living or for that matter practicing spirituality. Where as eternalism to me would seem to be the only reason to start Buddhist practice. On another thread it was stated that fetters get dropped on rebirth, that would imply that their is something to be dropped off of.

Thanks for all of the answers so far :smile:
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Re: Beginners questions

Postby Element » Fri Jan 23, 2009 12:14 pm

Livindesert wrote:So are you saying their is a self just a temporary one? In other words its all in your mind.

Self is selfcentredness. Self is a mental state. Like when we have a headache. For example, I am late for work and I say: "I must get to work". I see one taxi and a person walking towards the taxi and I run to beat that person to the taxi. From 'self' comes kamma. 'Self' arises from various emotions.

Also if there is annihilation whats the point of living or for that matter practicing spirituality.

There is suffering here, today. Like when we are hungry, we find food. To ask "what is the point of practicing spirituality" is the same as asking "why should I eat?" "If I am going to die one day I might as well not eat and die today". We practice spirituality so we can have optimal happiness here, now, today.

Where as eternalism to me would seem to be the only reason to start Buddhist practice.

Why? What to you expect to gain in the future that you do not think you need today?
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Re: Beginners questions

Postby clw_uk » Fri Jan 23, 2009 2:00 pm

Element wrote:I agree with your sentiment. It is both eternalisnm and egoism by default.


If you are free, you have choice about raising a family. For example, disciples of the Buddha who succeed at meditation do not need to have a family because they dwell with at least the bliss of meditative absorption or the bliss of Nirvana.

However, if one is a householder, one ideally has a family to develop oneself as a human being, to mature, to develop virtue, love and unselfishness. By developing these virtues and providing good things for one's children, one will gain many benefits such as happiness, long life, beauty, strength, wisdom and self-respect.Element


Something can only be seen as eternal if it is seen as the same thing, unchanging forever. It is only egoism if you believe it to be self. If you have confidence in another birth of aggregates after death it doesnt have to be taken up as eternalism or egoism.


I do disagree slightly here as i have no family nor do i intend to ever have one yet i do not feel i am lacking in the virtues you listed above. One can be a householder without a family and still have these virtues and one can be a householder with a family and lack these virtues.

:namaste:
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Re: Beginners questions

Postby Element » Fri Jan 23, 2009 2:13 pm

clw_uk wrote:One can be a householder without a family and still have these virtues and one can be a householder with a family and lack these virtues.

:namaste:

Hi Craig

I agree here however this understanding was not the intention of my post. I was merely listing some reasons for having a family. :hug:

Regards,

E
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Re: Beginners questions

Postby clw_uk » Fri Jan 23, 2009 2:19 pm

Apologies if that wasnt your intention :namaste:
“Happy is the man who has broken the chains which hurt the mind, and has given up worrying once and for all.” Ovid
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Re: Beginners questions

Postby Element » Fri Jan 23, 2009 2:21 pm

Whilst you apology is unnecessary, thank you. :namaste:
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Re: Beginners questions

Postby Livindesert » Sat Jan 24, 2009 11:48 am

There is suffering here, today. Like when we are hungry, we find food. To ask "what is the point of practicing spirituality" is the same as asking "why should I eat?" "If I am going to die one day I might as well not eat and die today". We practice spirituality so we can have optimal happiness here, now, today.



So how would taking up a bowl and leaving my family(which would get me in legal trouble in this day and age) be better than a Taoist approach of enjoying the moment? Or a Mahayana approach of keeping the family and practicing dhamma?
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Re: Beginners questions

Postby jcsuperstar » Sat Jan 24, 2009 11:56 am

who says you cant have a family and practice the dhamma?
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the mountain may be heavy in and of itself, but if you're not trying to carry it it's not heavy to you- Ajaan Suwat
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Re: Beginners questions

Postby clw_uk » Sat Jan 24, 2009 1:10 pm

you dont have to leave your family, no one is telling you to do that :smile:

You only become a monk and renounce family life if you really feel that it will be a benefit to your practice to become enlightened. There are many householders in the pali canon that achieve a great deal, from stream-winner up to to non-returner. Some even became arahants without ever becoming a monk (although as far as i have read this seems to be when they were on their death bed)
“Happy is the man who has broken the chains which hurt the mind, and has given up worrying once and for all.” Ovid
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Re: Beginners questions

Postby Element » Sun Jan 25, 2009 12:10 am

Livindesert wrote:So how would taking up a bowl and leaving my family (which would get me in legal trouble in this day and age) be better than a Taoist approach of enjoying the moment? Or a Mahayana approach of keeping the family and practicing dhamma?

I think the Theravada approach is the same as the other approaches. In fact, i would say Theravada offers many more teachings than both Taoism and Mahayana for one living the household life. There is no need to leave our family.

With metta

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Re: Beginners questions

Postby Livindesert » Sun Jan 25, 2009 1:46 am

I would say Theravada offers many more teachings than both Taoism and Mahayana for one living the household life.

I would be interested in a quick overview of some of those :smile:
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Re: Beginners questions

Postby retrofuturist » Sun Jan 25, 2009 1:49 am

Greetings Livindesert,

See this thread for examples...

Suttas for the Householder
viewtopic.php?f=14&t=259

Metta,
Retro. :)
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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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