Rebirth Deniers

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Rebirth Deniers

Postby nowheat » Mon Feb 01, 2010 11:05 pm

I keep seeing the term "rebirth denier" on these forums and wonder if anyone here who has used the term would kindly define it for me?

:namaste:
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Re: Rebirth Deniers

Postby retrofuturist » Mon Feb 01, 2010 11:15 pm

Greetings nowheat,

I think to do that, firstly someone would need to define "rebirth", and specifically address the question of what is "re'd". Short of that level of enquiry, I can just imagine a lot of talking at cross purposes (which is quite possibly what you're hoping to address through this topic?).

It would also be worth someone finding specific examples where the Buddha specifically used the (pali equivalent of the term) "rebirth" rather than alternative words and phrases.

The onus on doing this, however, lies with those using the term "rebirth denier".

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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Re: Rebirth Deniers

Postby nowheat » Mon Feb 01, 2010 11:28 pm

retrofuturist wrote:I think to do that, firstly someone would need to define "rebirth", and specifically address the question of what is "re'd". Short of that level of enquiry, I can just imagine a lot of talking at cross purposes (which is quite possibly what you're hoping to address through this topic?).


I'm not wanting to talk at cross purposes, I'm wanting to get clarification and perhaps see if, going forward, we can choose words carefully (skillful speech and all that) knowing more precisely what they mean to those conversing in this space.

It would also be worth someone finding specific examples where the Buddha specifically used the (pali equivalent of the term) "rebirth" rather than alternative words and phrases.

The onus on doing this, however, lies with those using the term "rebirth denier".


I don't know that we need to bring the Pali into this, though I wouldn't mind seeing such a list.

People here use the term "rebirth deniers". Presumably they know what they mean when they say it. I really do want them to tell me what they mean when they make calls to "rebirth deniers" to do something, or say things like "rebirth deniers would have you believe..."

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Re: Rebirth Deniers

Postby retrofuturist » Mon Feb 01, 2010 11:30 pm

Greetings nowheat,

nowheat wrote:I'm not wanting to talk at cross purposes, I'm wanting to get clarification and perhaps see if, going forward, we can choose words carefully (skillful speech and all that) knowing more precisely what they mean to those conversing in this space.

Yes, that's what I meant. Apologies if my clumsy language led to us talking at cross purposes. :tongue:

nowheat wrote:I don't know that we need to bring the Pali into this, though I wouldn't mind seeing such a list.

It might not seem relevant at first glance, but the Buddha had many ways of speaking about becoming, being, existence and birth, and the term "rebirth" often gets used (crudely?) as a catch-all for many of the Buddha's expressions. If we're going to get at precisely what people mean by "rebirth denier", we're going to need to precisely get at what they mean by "rebirth".

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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Re: Rebirth Deniers

Postby BlackBird » Tue Feb 02, 2010 12:30 am

I think a context here is important. Those who follow the Dhamma and do not believe that the Buddha taught postmortem continuance are a very distinct minority, a view and idea within Buddhism which has only cropped up very recently. Thus to the vast majority of practitioners - There's probably a bit of xenophobia towards those who do not ascribe to postmortem continuance. Wherever you have such a polarizing topic there is a need for a term, to define your adversaries position. Rebirth denial is the obvious choice, it even has the inference of being a close relative (in terms of logic) to holocaust denial.

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Re: Rebirth Deniers

Postby Dan74 » Tue Feb 02, 2010 12:33 am

Those evil rebirth deniers... :evil: someone should come and bloody well send them to their maker, then they'd find out what's what!

ok, back where i came from...

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Re: Rebirth Deniers

Postby retrofuturist » Tue Feb 02, 2010 12:36 am

Greetings Blackbird,

Your comments raise a few questions...

Is a "Rebirth Denier" someone who denies the Buddha taught post-mortem continuance, or who does not believe personally in post-mortem continuance despite what the suttas say?

What logic is used in the instance of "Holocaust denial" and how is that analogous to "Rebirth denial"?

:juggling:

You speak of the need to "define your adversaries position"... but be careful not to define straw-men in the process!

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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Re: Rebirth Deniers

Postby nowheat » Tue Feb 02, 2010 1:55 am

BlackBird wrote:I think a context here is important. Those who follow the Dhamma and do not believe that the Buddha taught postmortem continuance are a very distinct minority, a view and idea within Buddhism which has only cropped up very recently. Thus to the vast majority of practitioners - There's probably a bit of xenophobia towards those who do not ascribe to postmortem continuance. Wherever you have such a polarizing topic there is a need for a term, to define your adversaries position. Rebirth denial is the obvious choice, it even has the inference of being a close relative (in terms of logic) to holocaust denial.

metta
Jack :heart:

Thanks, Jack but I don't think it's that obvious.

It seems to me that the term "rebirth denier" in this setting is perhaps too vague. It can be taken as "denying that the metaphysics in operation is rebirth operated through kammic principles regardless of what the Buddha taught" or it can be taken as "denying that the Buddha taught rebirth". As a simple term it sounds more like the former (denying rebirth), rather than the latter (denying that the Buddha taught rebirth as part of his teaching).

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Re: Rebirth Deniers

Postby BlackBird » Tue Feb 02, 2010 9:48 am

retrofuturist wrote:Greetings Blackbird,

Your comments raise a few questions...

Is a "Rebirth Denier" someone who denies the Buddha taught post-mortem continuance, or who does not believe personally in post-mortem continuance despite what the suttas say?

What logic is used in the instance of "Holocaust denial" and how is that analogous to "Rebirth denial"?

:juggling:

You speak of the need to "define your adversaries position"... but be careful not to define straw-men in the process!

Metta,
Retro. :)


Hi Retro

Sorry for the confusion if it was thought that I was stating my point of view, I was not. I was trying to have an objective take on the situation and the use of the phrase, whether I'm right or wrong on this one, I don't know - I'm just another blind man trying to see.

But to make an attempt to answer your questions in sequence:

1. Could be both, could it not? I must admit I have never seen an instance of the latter, is their a brief summary of their reasoning?
2. What I was trying to say was that from the point of view of your orthodox Theravadin, to say nothing of the Mahayana or Vajrayana: The reasoning put forth by 'rebirth deniers' doesn't make much logical sense - If one wanted to get polemical then it's easy and effective to link 'rebirth denial' with 'holocaust denial' especially in light of the scriptural evidence of rebirth. Eg. "There is a lot of evidence of the holocaust too, but it doesn't stop people from denying it happened."
3. Perhaps I am building up a straw man argument, perhaps you are right, time will tell I guess.

metta
Jack
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'The Blessed One is the Teacher, I am a disciple. He is the one who knows, not I." - MN. 70 Kitagiri Sutta
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Re: Rebirth Deniers

Postby retrofuturist » Tue Feb 02, 2010 11:15 am

Greetings Blackbird,

BlackBird wrote:1. Could be both, could it not? I must admit I have never seen an instance of the latter, is their a brief summary of their reasoning?

I'm probably not the best person to answer that, since it's not a view I share and I'm not a "rebirth denier" (though I was once called a crypto-annihilationist by a bigot who couldn't understand my views on post-mortem continuance or comments such as the one in my signature from Bhikkhu Nanananda ;) )

That said, the argument goes that rebirth was taught only to putthujanas who already believed it and took it as their world view, and would therefore benefit from kamma as a morality teaching. Supposedly the Buddha taught anatta to bhikkhus instead of rebirth. To repeat - not my view.

"There is a lot of evidence of the holocaust too, but it doesn't stop people from denying it happened."

OK, I see your perspective a little more clearly now. Indeed, even the above "explanation" (which is one of the better ones going around) invovles ignoring, or manipulating a lot of sutta evidence.

3. Perhaps I am building up a straw man argument, perhaps you are right, time will tell I guess.

It's just I've seen it done before ("crypto-annihilationist", remember :thinking: ) so I'm mindful to encourage people to speak accurately, without prejudice, without straw-men and without broad-brush generalizations.

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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Re: Rebirth Deniers

Postby kayy » Tue Feb 02, 2010 1:08 pm

oh dear.

I think it's worth being very careful indeed if one decides to step into the stormy territory of drawing comparisons with Hitler and the Holocaust!

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Re: Rebirth Deniers

Postby Cittasanto » Tue Feb 02, 2010 1:46 pm

kayy wrote:oh dear.

I think it's worth being very careful indeed if one decides to step into the stormy territory of drawing comparisons with Hitler and the Holocaust!

:thinking:


not necessarily, it depends on the use, and what it is trying to prove, or in some cases do.
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: Rebirth Deniers

Postby vinasp » Tue Feb 02, 2010 1:59 pm

Hi everyone,

I am a rebirth denier and I am free of that delusion. Perhaps the "rebirth fanatics" would kindly explain how belief in rebirth differs from a delusion.

Best wishes, Vincent.
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Re: Rebirth Deniers

Postby Cittasanto » Tue Feb 02, 2010 2:12 pm

vinasp wrote:Hi everyone,

I am a rebirth denier and I am free of that delusion. Perhaps the "rebirth fanatics" would kindly explain how belief in rebirth differs from a delusion.

Best wishes, Vincent.


can you define the term 'rebirth denier' and 'rebirth fanatic' can you kindly explain how denial of rebirth is not delusion in your view?
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: Rebirth Deniers

Postby Cittasanto » Tue Feb 02, 2010 2:33 pm

nowheat wrote:I keep seeing the term "rebirth denier" on these forums and wonder if anyone here who has used the term would kindly define it for me?

:namaste:


for me it is the complete denial of rebirth as the Buddha taught it, siding on either nihilistic or eternalist views, and including a lesson learnt cycle of rebirth.
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: Rebirth Deniers

Postby nowheat » Tue Feb 02, 2010 2:36 pm

vinasp wrote:I am a rebirth denier and I am free of that delusion. Perhaps the "rebirth fanatics" would kindly explain how belief in rebirth differs from a delusion.

Perhaps that invitation would be better extended to continuation in the big rebirth thread, vincent? Here I am hoping we can stick to discussing our use and choice of labels.

What category of rebirth denial do you put yourself in, vincent?

A. someone who denies the Buddha taught rebirth
B. someone who does not personally believe in post-mortem continuance
C. someone who denies the Buddha taught and does not personally believe in post-mortem continuance

:namaste:

P.S. and, oh please, vincent, "rebirth fantatics"? Let's not add more prejudicial language to the pot.
Last edited by nowheat on Tue Feb 02, 2010 2:41 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Rebirth Deniers

Postby nowheat » Tue Feb 02, 2010 2:39 pm

first retrofuturist wrote:Is a "Rebirth Denier" someone who denies the Buddha taught post-mortem continuance, or who does not believe personally in post-mortem continuance despite what the suttas say?

then BlackBird wrote:1. Could be both, could it not? I must admit I have never seen an instance of the latter, is their a brief summary of their reasoning?


So now we have three definitions of “rebirth denier”?
A. someone who denies the Buddha taught rebirth
B. someone who does not personally believe in post-mortem continuance
C. someone who denies the Buddha taught and does not personally believe in post-mortem continuance

Are there any “deniers” of any kind in this forum willing to speak up and say what category they are in? I am in A, myself. I'm hoping we can get the proponents of each of these views to come up with their own labels to use as short-hand for their positions.

separately BlackBird wrote:If one wanted to get polemical then it's easy and effective to link 'rebirth denial' with 'holocaust denial' especially in light of the scriptural evidence of rebirth. Eg. "There is a lot of evidence of the holocaust too, but it doesn't stop people from denying it happened."


I would note that scriptural evidence for rebirth is on an entirely different level from factual evidence of the holocaust. Comparing denial of rebirth to denial of the holocaust is using the rhetorical device of prejudicial language and I suspect right speech would require that we be a little more circumspect in our choice of metaphors. If there were factual evidence for rebirth that your category B folks were denying, I'd still say comparing that to holocaust denial was a bit much, but at least it would be a little closer analogy, since “fact” would be in use in both cases. As it is you're comparing denial of factual evidence for a horrifying series of events to denial of one interpretation of scripture that has been passed on by humans for two thousand plus years.

:namaste:
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Re: Rebirth Deniers

Postby Sanghamitta » Tue Feb 02, 2010 3:02 pm

vinasp wrote:Hi everyone,

I am a rebirth denier and I am free of that delusion. Perhaps the "rebirth fanatics" would kindly explain how belief in rebirth differs from a delusion.

Best wishes, Vincent.

Are you the same Vinasp that does not practice meditation either ? All in all Its a marvel to me that we detain you.
Last edited by Sanghamitta on Tue Feb 02, 2010 4:09 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Rebirth Deniers

Postby kayy » Tue Feb 02, 2010 3:57 pm

Manapa wrote:
kayy wrote:oh dear.

I think it's worth being very careful indeed if one decides to step into the stormy territory of drawing comparisons with Hitler and the Holocaust!

:thinking:


not necessarily, it depends on the use, and what it is trying to prove, or in some cases do.



There are several reasons that I can see why one should take great care:

1. The Holocaust is an event that happened less than 80 years ago, that is historically verifiable (insofar as anything can be proven!) by thousands, millions of individual, governmental and societal testimonies. The people who deny it have a particular political motivation. The same cannot be said of rebirth.

2. Aside from proof, evidence and all the rest of it, the most important question is DOES IT MATTER? Does rebirth really matter? Would you behave differently if you knew you were to be reborn than if you just accepted that you didn't really know what would happen after your death? IMHO the question of rebirth is secondary to Buddhist practice. The Holocaust, on the other hand, is of great importance on many different levels. It happened, and it matters.

3. There may be people on here who are in some way personally connected to the events of WW2, particularly those with family members taken into concentration camps and killed by the Nazis. I spent last year living in Krakow, Poland, and learnt that it is necessary to be sensitive to this fact, and not make random comparisons to make a point that isn't really important anyway.

best wishes
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Re: Rebirth Deniers

Postby Cittasanto » Tue Feb 02, 2010 4:40 pm

I will stick to my first reasoning! don't underestimate the importance of rebirth within Buddhism, or think people don't understand some will be sensitive to certain subject or words, this is an international forum after all.
:focus:

EDIT: for a perspective on how important rebirth is to members, and to Buddhism have a look at this thread which has been going on over a year!
http://www.dhammawheel.com/viewtopic.php?f=16&t=41&hilit=rebirth
Last edited by Cittasanto on Tue Feb 02, 2010 8:45 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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"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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