the Dhamma without rebirth: amoral and what else?

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Re: the Dhamma without rebirth: amoral and what else?

Postby Kenshou » Sat Feb 06, 2010 8:29 am

nowheat wrote:All I ever seem to encounter is negatives and never do I see the Buddha say that anything at all -- not even a metaphor for anything at all -- goes on.


I can recall one at the moment: http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html

"But, Master Gotama, at the moment a flame is being swept on by the wind and goes a far distance, what do you designate as its sustenance then?"
"Vaccha, when a flame is being swept on by the wind and goes a far distance, I designate it as wind-sustained, for the wind is its sustenance at that time."
"And at the moment when a being sets this body aside and is not yet reborn in another body, what do you designate as its sustenance then?"
"Vaccha, when a being sets this body aside and is not yet reborn in another body, I designate it as craving-sustained, for craving is its sustenance at that time."
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Re: the Dhamma without rebirth: amoral and what else?

Postby nowheat » Sat Feb 06, 2010 11:39 am

Kenshou wrote:
nowheat wrote:All I ever seem to encounter is negatives and never do I see the Buddha say that anything at all -- not even a metaphor for anything at all -- goes on.


I can recall one at the moment: http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html

"But, Master Gotama, at the moment a flame is being swept on by the wind and goes a far distance, what do you designate as its sustenance then?"
"Vaccha, when a flame is being swept on by the wind and goes a far distance, I designate it as wind-sustained, for the wind is its sustenance at that time."
"And at the moment when a being sets this body aside and is not yet reborn in another body, what do you designate as its sustenance then?"
"Vaccha, when a being sets this body aside and is not yet reborn in another body, I designate it as craving-sustained, for craving is its sustenance at that time."

Thanks, Kenshou. So we have the "flame sustained by the wind" as a metaphor for "a being sustained by craving." So the literal half of that metaphor is a "being" -- and this is what is reborn. That's quite clear, isn't it.

Now, I understand that the Buddha defined a being as what's generated by the five aggregates. It's that "being" that goes missing once one becomes an arahant. It's the anatman, the thing we mistake for self. So it's the impermanent, changing, non-self that gets reborn, sustained by craving. That's consistent with the Buddha's teaching that there is no permanent, unchanging atman that gets reborn. That too seems quite clear. Is that the understanding of those who accept rebirth?

:namaste:
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Re: the Dhamma without rebirth: amoral and what else?

Postby BlackBird » Sat Feb 06, 2010 11:55 am

seanpdx wrote:Yes. If he did, in fact, have zero kidneys. See also: dialysis. Or if, perhaps, he had a genetic abnormality that caused more than two kidneys. See also: genetic mutation.


Playful discourse, or do I need to draw an inference there?

metta
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Re: the Dhamma without rebirth: amoral and what else?

Postby Abyss » Sat Feb 06, 2010 2:12 pm

nowheat wrote:
Abyss wrote:What about death? I don't want to die, therefore I seek liberation from death in this very life, which is possible according to the Buddha..

What do you get instead of death?

Freedom from fear/anxiety.
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Re: the Dhamma without rebirth: amoral and what else?

Postby nowheat » Sat Feb 06, 2010 4:35 pm

Abyss wrote:
nowheat wrote:
Abyss wrote:What about death? I don't want to die, therefore I seek liberation from death in this very life, which is possible according to the Buddha..

What do you get instead of death?

Freedom from fear/anxiety.

That's what you get when you die too.

:namaste:
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Re: the Dhamma without rebirth: amoral and what else?

Postby seanpdx » Sat Feb 06, 2010 4:40 pm

BlackBird wrote:
seanpdx wrote:Yes. If he did, in fact, have zero kidneys. See also: dialysis. Or if, perhaps, he had a genetic abnormality that caused more than two kidneys. See also: genetic mutation.


Playful discourse, or do I need to draw an inference there?

metta
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Nothing playful about it. Low probability, yes. But a possibility nonetheless. And something to very seriously consider. People often conflate the improbable with the impossible.

In one debate I had with a christian many years ago, a statement was made along the lines of how something or other was equivalent to a blind man climbing Mt Everest -- the inference being that it was impossible, or nearly so. I, of course, immediately mentioned Erik Weihenmayer.
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Re: the Dhamma without rebirth: amoral and what else?

Postby seanpdx » Sat Feb 06, 2010 4:44 pm

Paññāsikhara wrote:Another argument, apart from viz "punishment", is this:

Those with the belief in rebirth may be inclined to give full effort to the path.
Evidence: How many bhikkhus do not accept this teaching?
Extremely few.
Suggesting that without this view, one may be inclined to hold back from 100% commitment.


Similarly, those without the belief in rebirth may be inclined to give full effort to the path, because they only believe they have one life in which to do it.
Evidence: Me. (And, well, others who have said the same thing)
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Re: the Dhamma without rebirth: amoral and what else?

Postby Abyss » Sat Feb 06, 2010 5:36 pm

nowheat wrote:
Abyss wrote:
nowheat wrote:What do you get instead of death?

Freedom from fear/anxiety.

That's what you get when you die too.

Dukkha is not an intellectual problem. Emotions are blind. They don't care about "logic" or "reason". Apart from that I don't deny "rebirth". It's just not my main motivation.
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Re: the Dhamma without rebirth: amoral and what else?

Postby nowheat » Sun Feb 07, 2010 11:38 pm

nowheat wrote:
Kenshou wrote:I can recall one at the moment: http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html

"But, Master Gotama, at the moment a flame is being swept on by the wind and goes a far distance, what do you designate as its sustenance then?"
"Vaccha, when a flame is being swept on by the wind and goes a far distance, I designate it as wind-sustained, for the wind is its sustenance at that time."
"And at the moment when a being sets this body aside and is not yet reborn in another body, what do you designate as its sustenance then?"
"Vaccha, when a being sets this body aside and is not yet reborn in another body, I designate it as craving-sustained, for craving is its sustenance at that time."

Thanks, Kenshou. So we have the "flame sustained by the wind" as a metaphor for "a being sustained by craving." So the literal half of that metaphor is a "being" -- and this is what is reborn. That's quite clear, isn't it.

Now, I understand that the Buddha defined a being as what's generated by the five aggregates. It's that "being" that goes missing once one becomes an arahant. It's the anatman, the thing we mistake for self. So it's the impermanent, changing, non-self that gets reborn, sustained by craving. That's consistent with the Buddha's teaching that there is no permanent, unchanging atman that gets reborn. That too seems quite clear. Is that the understanding of those who accept rebirth?

Are y'all assenting with your silence in the way the Buddha often did?

:namaste:
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Re: the Dhamma without rebirth: amoral and what else?

Postby Paññāsikhara » Mon Feb 08, 2010 3:07 am

Hi,

nowheat wrote:
Now, I understand that the Buddha defined a being as what's generated by the five aggregates. It's that "being" that goes missing once one becomes an arahant. It's the anatman, the thing we mistake for self. So it's the impermanent, changing, non-self that gets reborn, sustained by craving. That's consistent with the Buddha's teaching that there is no permanent, unchanging atman that gets reborn. That too seems quite clear. Is that the understanding of those who accept rebirth?

:namaste:


I think that "a being as what's generated by the five aggregates" is misleading. It is not a case of the aggregates "generating" anything, maybe as a basis for designation, though. So there is not "being that goes missing once one becomes an arahant". The only thing that goes missing are the fetters. One of these is the idea of a being, but not a being itself. As for "its the anatman" - sounds like some serious reification going on there, making an adjectival term "anatman" into a noun as "it". Likewise for a "non-self that gets reborn".

It almost sounds like the Puggalavadins, but different again. Certainly doesn't sound like what the suttas are saying to me.
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Re: the Dhamma without rebirth: amoral and what else?

Postby nowheat » Mon Feb 08, 2010 9:16 am

Paññāsikhara wrote:I think that "a being as what's generated by the five aggregates" is misleading. It is not a case of the aggregates "generating" anything, maybe as a basis for designation, though. So there is not "being that goes missing once one becomes an arahant". The only thing that goes missing are the fetters. One of these is the idea of a being, but not a being itself. As for "its the anatman" - sounds like some serious reification going on there, making an adjectival term "anatman" into a noun as "it". Likewise for a "non-self that gets reborn".

It almost sounds like the Puggalavadins, but different again. Certainly doesn't sound like what the suttas are saying to me.

Thank you for answering. Then how would you describe and/or name what it is that gets reborn? What is this "being" that like a flame from candle to candle jumps from one body to another supported by the nutriment of craving?

:namaste:
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Re: the Dhamma without rebirth: amoral and what else?

Postby Reductor » Mon Feb 08, 2010 6:05 pm

nowheat wrote:
Paññāsikhara wrote:I think that "a being as what's generated by the five aggregates" is misleading. It is not a case of the aggregates "generating" anything, maybe as a basis for designation, though. So there is not "being that goes missing once one becomes an arahant". The only thing that goes missing are the fetters. One of these is the idea of a being, but not a being itself. As for "its the anatman" - sounds like some serious reification going on there, making an adjectival term "anatman" into a noun as "it". Likewise for a "non-self that gets reborn".

It almost sounds like the Puggalavadins, but different again. Certainly doesn't sound like what the suttas are saying to me.

Thank you for answering. Then how would you describe and/or name what it is that gets reborn? What is this "being" that like a flame from candle to candle jumps from one body to another supported by the nutriment of craving?

:namaste:


The error here is to think that the being that is reborn is separate from the aggregates, or in possession of them, and so is changing from life to life. In fact the aggregates are the result of kamma coming to fruition and it are these aggregates that are clung to as mine, me, myself. So when one set of aggregates disbands, the enormous kammic 'tide' continues separately from those aggregates, acting as the cause of a new binding of elements* together into what might be called a being, and a new set of aggregates. So while each set of aggregates is separate from the next, the two sets of aggregates are both fruition of the same kammic tide. So the term of rebirth is not speaking of a soul or real self moving from life to life, but rather of the continued fruition of kamma in the mode of aggregates.


* Six elements: earth, water, wind, fire, space and consciousness.
Michael

The thoughts I've expressed in the above post are carefully considered and offered in good faith.

And friendliness towards the world is happiness for him who is forbearing with living beings. -- Ud. 2:1
To his own ruin the fool gains knowledge, for it cleaves his head and destroys his innate goodness. -- Dhp 72

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Re: the Dhamma without rebirth: amoral and what else?

Postby Paññāsikhara » Tue Feb 09, 2010 2:33 am

nowheat wrote:
Paññāsikhara wrote:I think that "a being as what's generated by the five aggregates" is misleading. It is not a case of the aggregates "generating" anything, maybe as a basis for designation, though. So there is not "being that goes missing once one becomes an arahant". The only thing that goes missing are the fetters. One of these is the idea of a being, but not a being itself. As for "its the anatman" - sounds like some serious reification going on there, making an adjectival term "anatman" into a noun as "it". Likewise for a "non-self that gets reborn".

It almost sounds like the Puggalavadins, but different again. Certainly doesn't sound like what the suttas are saying to me.

Thank you for answering. Then how would you describe and/or name what it is that gets reborn? What is this "being" that like a flame from candle to candle jumps from one body to another supported by the nutriment of craving?

:namaste:


Well, the Buddha taught rebecoming, not rebirth. There is a continuity of causality, not continuity of a thing - mental or physical or otherwise.
As for candles, best not to take metaphors too far, they are only for reference, and never match the actuality described.
However, craving, ignorance, have their continuity through causality. It is not that the same craving and ignorance go from even moment to moment (let alone life to life), but one moment of craving and ignorance is the primary cause for the next.
The whole notion of "being" is merely a thought, an idea, which the ignorant transpose upon this continuity of causality. Successive times which are similar, causality related, but not the same actual thing, are mistakening appropriated as a single entity or entities. Becomes even worse once a name is dropped on them.
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Re: the Dhamma without rebirth: amoral and what else?

Postby retrofuturist » Tue Feb 09, 2010 2:50 am

:goodpost:

Well said, bhante.

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: the Dhamma without rebirth: amoral and what else?

Postby nowheat » Tue Feb 09, 2010 2:52 am

Paññāsikhara wrote:Well, the Buddha taught rebecoming, not rebirth. There is a continuity of causality, not continuity of a thing - mental or physical or otherwise.
As for candles, best not to take metaphors too far, they are only for reference, and never match the actuality described.

I took the candle as a metaphor. Are you saying that "being" is also a metaphor -- not literal?

However, craving, ignorance, have their continuity through causality. It is not that the same craving and ignorance go from even moment to moment (let alone life to life), but one moment of craving and ignorance is the primary cause for the next.

This sounds like you're not one who "accepts literal rebirth" but you are standing up for the more psychological moment-to-moment type of explanation. If this is the case I need to point out that in this particular thread I'm trying to work towards my own understanding of how the literalists interpret rebirth and its necessity to the Buddha's teaching, so while I am interested in other interpretations of rebirth this thread isn't the best place for that discussion. But maybe that's not what you're saying?

The whole notion of "being" is merely a thought, an idea, which the ignorant transpose upon this continuity of causality. Successive times which are similar, causality related, but not the same actual thing, are mistakening appropriated as a single entity or entities. Becomes even worse once a name is dropped on them.

Are you saying that there is literal rebirth but it is a "continuity of causality" that moves to the next life?

:namaste:
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Re: the Dhamma without rebirth: amoral and what else?

Postby nowheat » Tue Feb 09, 2010 3:07 am

thereductor wrote:The error here is to think that the being that is reborn is separate from the aggregates, or in possession of them, and so is changing from life to life. In fact the aggregates are the result of kamma coming to fruition and it are these aggregates that are clung to as mine, me, myself. So when one set of aggregates disbands, the enormous kammic 'tide' continues separately from those aggregates, acting as the cause of a new binding of elements* together into what might be called a being, and a new set of aggregates. So while each set of aggregates is separate from the next, the two sets of aggregates are both fruition of the same kammic tide. So the term of rebirth is not speaking of a soul or real self moving from life to life, but rather of the continued fruition of kamma in the mode of aggregates.


* Six elements: earth, water, wind, fire, space and consciousness.


So you are saying that what the Buddha was calling a "being" moving to the new body is not a unified thing at all but a wave, a "kammic tide". Is that right?

:namaste:
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Re: the Dhamma without rebirth: amoral and what else?

Postby Reductor » Tue Feb 09, 2010 3:42 am

nowheat wrote:So you are saying that what the Buddha was calling a "being" moving to the new body is not a unified thing at all but a wave, a "kammic tide". Is that right?

:namaste:


"Moving to a new body" is a little misleading, as the body and mind of the greater 'being' are both arisen together. But yes, the 'being' does not travel from life to life as a unified thing, but is rather the result of cause and effect on a massive scale. The six elements are impersonal in the sense that none of them is a self, but when acted on by cause and effect they are forced together to create a 'being'. This being responds to the cause and effect (kamma) which is creating it and acting on it, and so it in turn perpetuates the kamma that forces the creation of the 'being' from moment-to-moment and life-to-life.

Now we can see and measure the first five elements, but it is the inclusion of consciousness as an element which can be acted on by events which takes this whole things from the realm of mechanical materialism to the spiritual.

When people struggle with the idea of rebirth I suspect they are struggling with a very subtle perception of having a 'real' self. A 'real' self is not something that can be reconciled with all this talk on the aggregates, rebirth and nibbana.
Michael

The thoughts I've expressed in the above post are carefully considered and offered in good faith.

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To his own ruin the fool gains knowledge, for it cleaves his head and destroys his innate goodness. -- Dhp 72

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Re: the Dhamma without rebirth: amoral and what else?

Postby Paññāsikhara » Tue Feb 09, 2010 4:04 am

nowheat wrote:
Paññāsikhara wrote:Well, the Buddha taught rebecoming, not rebirth. There is a continuity of causality, not continuity of a thing - mental or physical or otherwise.
As for candles, best not to take metaphors too far, they are only for reference, and never match the actuality described.

I took the candle as a metaphor. Are you saying that "being" is also a metaphor -- not literal?


"Being" is a term which is posited upon the aggregates as "I" (or sometimes outside of them, but associated with them as "mine" or "my soul"). Those aggregates however, change all the time. They change because they are conditioned. As the conditions change, they change. Even this is just an expression. Rather than "aggregate changes", which implies that it is still essentially the same thing, albeit in a different form, one may also consider it in the sense of "not even the same aggregate". However, the "essentially the same" approach leads most to fall to the extreme of eternalism, whereas the "not the same same" approach makes most fall to the extreme of annihilism.

Metaphor is different. eg. "the mind is like the driver of a car". It's an even more colloquial parallel that may help one understand. But don't then examine the metaphor, find holes in it, and declare that the argument is thus invalid. It just means that the metaphor is not a 100% parallel, that is all.

However, craving, ignorance, have their continuity through causality. It is not that the same craving and ignorance go from even moment to moment (let alone life to life), but one moment of craving and ignorance is the primary cause for the next.

This sounds like you're not one who "accepts literal rebirth" but you are standing up for the more psychological moment-to-moment type of explanation.


This old one, huh?

Both. In effect, the process of continuity from one moment to the next, is the same as what happens when (in colloquial terms) a person "dies" (ie. snuffs it, croaks, pushes up the daisies, rolls off the mortal coil, passes away, is kapput, etc.).

However, for most people, they think that the body is the same pretty much, so think that "moment to moment" is psychological. Actually, the body is constantly changing too. The difficulties that annihilists attribute to explanations of post mortem rebecoming are equally applicable to their own explanation, but they often fail to see that. eg. When body and mind are both changing constantly, what is to stop the two becoming separated? Again, it is causality. Specific causality.

If this is the case I need to point out that in this particular thread I'm trying to work towards my own understanding of how the literalists interpret rebirth and its necessity to the Buddha's teaching, so while I am interested in other interpretations of rebirth this thread isn't the best place for that discussion. But maybe that's not what you're saying?


Causality. Causal process. Specific causality. Want to talk about anything much in Buddhism - get a really good understanding on dependent origination. Both what it is, and what it is not.

The whole notion of "being" is merely a thought, an idea, which the ignorant transpose upon this continuity of causality. Successive times which are similar, causality related, but not the same actual thing, are mistakening appropriated as a single entity or entities. Becomes even worse once a name is dropped on them.

Are you saying that there is literal rebirth but it is a "continuity of causality" that moves to the next life?

:namaste:


There is continuity of causality. That is not a "thing" which could "move" anywhere. But in the whole process, there is nothing outside of that causal process.
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Re: the Dhamma without rebirth: amoral and what else?

Postby Kenshou » Tue Feb 09, 2010 5:05 am

Both. In effect, the process of continuity from one moment to the next, is the same as what happens when (in colloquial terms) a person "dies" (ie. snuffs it, croaks, pushes up the daisies, rolls off the mortal coil, passes away, is kapput, etc.).


The difficulty I have in this is, how exactly it is that the breaking up of one interdependent-mind-body-causal-process-whatever leads to the arising of another? It's all a continuous constantly changing process, yeah, but after the "being" as we call it, "dies", what particular stacks of causal dominoes continue on and end up allowing the process to continue? I just can't get my head around it.
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Re: the Dhamma without rebirth: amoral and what else?

Postby Paññāsikhara » Tue Feb 09, 2010 5:21 am

Kenshou wrote:
Both. In effect, the process of continuity from one moment to the next, is the same as what happens when (in colloquial terms) a person "dies" (ie. snuffs it, croaks, pushes up the daisies, rolls off the mortal coil, passes away, is kapput, etc.).


The difficulty I have in this is, how exactly it is that the breaking up of one interdependent-mind-body-causal-process-whatever leads to the arising of another? It's all a continuous constantly changing process, yeah, but after the "being" as we call it, "dies", what particular stacks of causal dominoes continue on and end up allowing the process to continue? I just can't get my head around it.


that's why it's called specific conditionailty. ie. non-random.
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