cause of birth of new humans

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Re: cause of birth of new humans

Postby cooran » Wed Jun 02, 2010 8:22 pm

Hello PeterB,

It doesn't expose anything. Hypotheticals are "just thinking" i.e. Papanca "tendency to proliferation in the realm of concepts" or imagination.

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Re: cause of birth of new humans

Postby PeterB » Wed Jun 02, 2010 8:34 pm

cooran wrote:Hello PeterB,

It doesn't expose anything. Hypotheticals are "just thinking" i.e. Papanca "tendency to proliferation in the realm of concepts" or imagination.

with metta
Chris

Which cuts a number of ways..unless one has first hand knowledge of " again becoming", its ALL hypothetical.
I am aware of a number of ways to interpret the Buddhas teaching on the issue by more learned people than me. Some of those interpretations contradict each other. So in the absence of first hand knowledge I have no idea whose interpretation to accept.
And I have seen no compelling argument on this board or anywhere else to favour any particular view.

I can however continue to practice Vipassana as I was taught...

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Re: cause of birth of new humans

Postby cooran » Wed Jun 02, 2010 10:48 pm

Just so.

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Re: cause of birth of new humans

Postby acinteyyo » Thu Jun 03, 2010 8:58 am

Shonin wrote:
acinteyyo wrote:
salty-J wrote:Why is the sperm fertilizing the egg not a sufficent set of causes and conditions? Why would there have to be kamma involved? Isn't the male and female creatures having sex all the cause necessary, due to the details of reality?

the mere material causes and conditions are a sufficent set for the arising of a mere material clump of matter, but as for the clump of matter to become in essence somebody kamma (action) is the crucial factor.


Hope I don't sound pedantic here, but the teaching of anatta contradicts the notion that we are "in essence somebody". If you are talking about the arising of mental processes then as stated above there seems to be no reason that the dominant conditions for this could be (what we experience as) physical processes.

cooran wrote:Hello Shonin,
Shonin wrote:the teaching of anatta contradicts the notion that we are "in essence somebody".

Yes, I agree.

Hi Shonin, cooran,

sorry, it seems that I should have been expressing myself clearer. With "in essence somebody" I did not mean that we really are in essence somebody. I meant the act of "I-making", "my-making" which leads to the wrong view that we are "in essence somebody". The clump of matter for example, depending on kamma, really believes to be "in essence somebody" (sakkaya-ditthi), believes to be a personality.
So for the clump of matter to become a being, which believes to be in essence somebody (sakkaya-ditthi, atta-vada), kamma is the crucial factor. Otherwise the clump of matter remains just as a clump of matter. The same is valid also for the rest of the five aggregates. For consciousness to become a being, which believes to be in essence somebody, kamma is the crucial factor, too. The puthujjana regards one, more or all of the five aggregates of grasping as self. This is what makes him believe "to be in essence somebody". That's a delusion but the delusion itself is real.
That's why kamma is essential for birth of a being. In simple words, no action of "I-making", no "I". No notion of "I", then no one is to be found.

I hope it is now clearer. If not, just ask again.
best wishes, acinteyyo
Pubbe cāhaṃ bhikkhave, etarahi ca dukkhañceva paññāpemi, dukkhassa ca nirodhaṃ. (M.22)
Both formerly, monks, and now, it is just suffering that I make known and the ending of suffering.
Pathabyā ekarajjena, saggassa gamanena vā sabbalokādhipaccena, sotāpattiphalaṃ varaṃ. (Dhp 178)
Sole dominion over the earth, going to heaven or lordship over all worlds: the fruit of stream-entry excels them.

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Re: cause of birth of new humans

Postby PeterB » Thu Jun 03, 2010 9:26 am

Absolutely clear I think Acinteyyo. You are saying that rather than a soul being the Ghost in The Machine as in for example Christianity, in your view kamma is the Ghost In The Machine.
I see no reason to accept that view. I think it begs more questions than it offers solutions.
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Re: cause of birth of new humans

Postby Shonin » Thu Jun 03, 2010 9:33 am

acinteyyo wrote:sorry, it seems that I should have been expressing myself clearer. With "in essence somebody" I did not mean that we really are in essence somebody. I meant the act of "I-making", "my-making" which leads to the wrong view that we are "in essence somebody". The clump of matter for example, depending on kamma, really believes to be "in essence somebody" (sakkaya-ditthi), believes to be a personality.
So for the clump of matter to become a being, which believes to be in essence somebody (sakkaya-ditthi, atta-vada), kamma is the crucial factor. Otherwise the clump of matter remains just as a clump of matter. The same is valid also for the rest of the five aggregates. For consciousness to become a being, which believes to be in essence somebody, kamma is the crucial factor, too. The puthujjana regards one, more or all of the five aggregates of grasping as self. This is what makes him believe "to be in essence somebody". That's a delusion but the delusion itself is real.
That's why kamma is essential for birth of a being. In simple words, no action of "I-making", no "I". No notion of "I", then no one is to be found.


Thanks for clarifying yourself. And thanks for re-iterating the orthodox doctrine on this matter. I note that it does not constitute an argument that kamma must be necessary for 'I making', only that it is an assertion that kamma is indeed necessary.

This sort of explanation begs all sorts of questions for me, such as:
What happens if two of the required factors are met but not three? Do the other two just 'wait'?
How does the kamma navigate to the sperm and egg? It appears to operate in time. Does it move through space or is it instantaneous?
What stops multiple streams of kamma from arriving at the same embryo at the same time?
What if there isn't enough kamma at any given moment? Or too much?
How did the mechanism come into being? And so on.

So, I don't find it very satisfactory as an explanation. It all seems very speculative and frankly, far-fetched. I'm inclined to focus on what I can actually experience and verify or at least provisionally accept as coherent.

EDIT TO ADD: Also, 'a lump of matter' will always function as psychically inert in an argument that defines it that way or assumes that to be the case. Whether what we experience as 'matter' is genuinely absent of all qualities for mental or proto-mental processes to occur (and thus requiring some pre-existing, separate, mysterious entity such as a 'soul' or 'life force' or 'kamma stream' or 'primordial consciousness' to animate it) is another matter (no pun intended) altogether.
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Re: cause of birth of new humans

Postby acinteyyo » Thu Jun 03, 2010 2:50 pm

PeterB wrote:Absolutely clear I think Acinteyyo. You are saying that rather than a soul being the Ghost in The Machine as in for example Christianity, in your view kamma is the Ghost In The Machine.
I see no reason to accept that view. I think it begs more questions than it offers solutions.

Sorry Peter but you misunderstood what I said. Kamma is no ghost in no machine and has nothing to do with it at all. kamma means action and all I'm trying to say is that the actual "I-making" is an action depending on clinging (upadana), more precisely the clinging to the belief in a self (atta-vada). So there is a physical base needed as well as the mental act of "I-making" for the arising of the view "to be in essence somebody", which is also called personality-view (sakkāya-ditthi), and the personality (sakkāya) is pañc'upādānakkhandhā. no ghost, no machine just namarupa.
best wishes, acinteyyo
Pubbe cāhaṃ bhikkhave, etarahi ca dukkhañceva paññāpemi, dukkhassa ca nirodhaṃ. (M.22)
Both formerly, monks, and now, it is just suffering that I make known and the ending of suffering.
Pathabyā ekarajjena, saggassa gamanena vā sabbalokādhipaccena, sotāpattiphalaṃ varaṃ. (Dhp 178)
Sole dominion over the earth, going to heaven or lordship over all worlds: the fruit of stream-entry excels them.

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Re: cause of birth of new humans

Postby acinteyyo » Thu Jun 03, 2010 2:56 pm

Shonin wrote:What happens if two of the required factors are met but not three? Do the other two just 'wait'?
How does the kamma navigate to the sperm and egg? It appears to operate in time. Does it move through space or is it instantaneous? What stops multiple streams of kamma from arriving at the same embryo at the same time?
What if there isn't enough kamma at any given moment? Or too much?
How did the mechanism come into being? And so on.

please keep in mind that kamma and its results (kamma-vipaka) are unthinkable (acinteyya). It is one of the four unthinkables and transcends the limits of thinking and over which therefore one should not ponder.

best wishes, acinteyyo
Pubbe cāhaṃ bhikkhave, etarahi ca dukkhañceva paññāpemi, dukkhassa ca nirodhaṃ. (M.22)
Both formerly, monks, and now, it is just suffering that I make known and the ending of suffering.
Pathabyā ekarajjena, saggassa gamanena vā sabbalokādhipaccena, sotāpattiphalaṃ varaṃ. (Dhp 178)
Sole dominion over the earth, going to heaven or lordship over all worlds: the fruit of stream-entry excels them.

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Re: cause of birth of new humans

Postby Shonin » Thu Jun 03, 2010 3:01 pm

acinteyyo wrote:please keep in mind that kamma and its results (kamma-vipaka) are unthinkable (acinteyya). It is one of the four unthinkables and transcends the limits of thinking and over which therefore one should not ponder.


You can't have your cake and eat it. Many Buddhists make a lot of assertions about something that is supposedly unthinkable. All I'm doing is highlighting some problems with the views expressed.
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Re: cause of birth of new humans

Postby PeterB » Thu Jun 03, 2010 3:15 pm

acinteyyo wrote:
PeterB wrote:Absolutely clear I think Acinteyyo. You are saying that rather than a soul being the Ghost in The Machine as in for example Christianity, in your view kamma is the Ghost In The Machine.
I see no reason to accept that view. I think it begs more questions than it offers solutions.

Sorry Peter but you misunderstood what I said. Kamma is no ghost in no machine and has nothing to do with it at all. kamma means action and all I'm trying to say is that the actual "I-making" is an action depending on clinging (upadana), more precisely the clinging to the belief in a self (atta-vada). So there is a physical base needed as well as the mental act of "I-making" for the arising of the view "to be in essence somebody", which is also called personality-view (sakkāya-ditthi), and the personality (sakkāya) is pañc'upādānakkhandhā. no ghost, no machine just namarupa.
best wishes, acinteyyo

This replaces the "selfish gene "with upadana. Somehow clinging exists to beget itself. That becomes the whole purpose of human endevour..reduced to an endless chain of clinging. Sorry Acinteyyo as far as i am concerned it wont do. I can observe upadana..I need posit no origin other than its arising in the now.
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Re: cause of birth of new humans

Postby acinteyyo » Thu Jun 03, 2010 3:41 pm

PeterB wrote:
acinteyyo wrote:
PeterB wrote:Absolutely clear I think Acinteyyo. You are saying that rather than a soul being the Ghost in The Machine as in for example Christianity, in your view kamma is the Ghost In The Machine.
I see no reason to accept that view. I think it begs more questions than it offers solutions.

Sorry Peter but you misunderstood what I said. Kamma is no ghost in no machine and has nothing to do with it at all. kamma means action and all I'm trying to say is that the actual "I-making" is an action depending on clinging (upadana), more precisely the clinging to the belief in a self (atta-vada). So there is a physical base needed as well as the mental act of "I-making" for the arising of the view "to be in essence somebody", which is also called personality-view (sakkāya-ditthi), and the personality (sakkāya) is pañc'upādānakkhandhā. no ghost, no machine just namarupa.
best wishes, acinteyyo

This replaces the "selfish gene "with upadana. Somehow clinging exists to beget itself. That becomes the whole purpose of human endevour..reduced to an endless chain of clinging. Sorry Acinteyyo as far as i am concerned it wont do. I can observe upadana..I need posit no origin other than its arising in the now.
:anjali:

sorry, but I don't think that I understand your post completely. I'm not talking about any other time but now. What "selfish gene" are you talking about? What do you mean with "clinging exists to beget itself"? In the end it's not the clinging or the craving and so on it's the ignorance of how the world works and the ignorance of that ignorance. I'm not trying to convince you, that would be useless. If you realize it you'll know it for sure. That's the only way.

best wishes, acinteyyo
Pubbe cāhaṃ bhikkhave, etarahi ca dukkhañceva paññāpemi, dukkhassa ca nirodhaṃ. (M.22)
Both formerly, monks, and now, it is just suffering that I make known and the ending of suffering.
Pathabyā ekarajjena, saggassa gamanena vā sabbalokādhipaccena, sotāpattiphalaṃ varaṃ. (Dhp 178)
Sole dominion over the earth, going to heaven or lordship over all worlds: the fruit of stream-entry excels them.

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Re: cause of birth of new humans

Postby PeterB » Thu Jun 03, 2010 4:13 pm

I think we need no a priori explanation for the existence of humanity. Neither "selfish genes" nor ignorance of how the world is. Such explanations ( as the latter ) have their origin in the life- negative soil of Indian spirituality from which Buddhadhamma sprang. The Buddha used the spiritual lingua franca of his day to flesh out his ideas to those who had but little dust in their eyes...we dont need to use those models exclusively. We have a variety of models with which to approach the unspeakable. We do not have to continue to employ exclusively the fearful idealism of the Upanishadic world to express the core of the Buddhas message.
For example in another thread there is talk of Brahma. We have the choice whether to employ a literalist view of Brahma or to see Brahma as an example of the Buddhas skillful use of symbolic forms to communicate with his contemporaries in terms that they would understand...
Upadana clearly is the case. The 3rd NT shows us our options with reference to upadana. We do not need to posit upadana into a mythos based on a life- negative stance.
The irony is that the Buddha used the existing mythos of his day to undermine papanca. But if we attempt to import that mythos into our culture wholesale and uninterpreted then the inevitable outcome is...papanca.
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Re: cause of birth of new humans

Postby acinteyyo » Thu Jun 03, 2010 5:26 pm

your association skills are already quite well developed. you're free to think whatever you like.

best wishes, acinteyyo
Pubbe cāhaṃ bhikkhave, etarahi ca dukkhañceva paññāpemi, dukkhassa ca nirodhaṃ. (M.22)
Both formerly, monks, and now, it is just suffering that I make known and the ending of suffering.
Pathabyā ekarajjena, saggassa gamanena vā sabbalokādhipaccena, sotāpattiphalaṃ varaṃ. (Dhp 178)
Sole dominion over the earth, going to heaven or lordship over all worlds: the fruit of stream-entry excels them.

:anjali:
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Re: cause of birth of new humans

Postby cooran » Thu Jun 03, 2010 8:25 pm

This might be of interest:

How does Kamma cause Rebirth?
Great pictures, lots of links, and direct quotes
viewtopic.php?f=13&t=110&start=460#p69357

Clearly not just the Buddha using skillful means in a particular society - but a Teaching of exactly what the Enlightened One wishes us to understand.

with metta
Chris
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---Worry is the Interest, paid in advance, on a debt you may never owe---
---It's not what happens to you in life that is important ~ it's what you do with it ---
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Re: cause of birth of new humans

Postby Rui Sousa » Fri Jun 04, 2010 2:35 pm

On the "A Comprehensive manual of Abhidhamma", on the compendium of conditionality, from §15 onwards there information I find very relevant for this matter: http://books.google.pt/books?id=hxopJgv85y4C&lpg=PP1&ots=DSNfxHYRLW&dq=comprehensive%20manual%20to%20abhidhamma%20conditions&pg=PA307#v=onepage&q&f=false

Reading this I made me understand better how mind conditions matter and matter conditions mind, making the bundle of nama-rupa we take as self.
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Re: cause of birth of new humans

Postby salty-J » Mon Jun 07, 2010 1:27 am

I'd forgotten about posting this thread until this afternoon. What interesting reading and links, thanks everyone for participating! I was taking a shower when I remembered about it and wondered about if there would be many posts or not, and what it was I'd posted in the first place, then I thought, "I think I'm supposed to be mindful of this experiance of washing my arm." So that's what I did, but aften I finished I gave in and checked up on my thread anyway. :twothumbsup:
"It is what it is." -foreman infamous for throwing wrenches in fits of rage
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Re: cause of birth of new humans

Postby chownah » Wed Jun 09, 2010 2:45 pm

What with invitro fertilization etc. seems like descending in a womb is not necessary any more....and....that you can freeze an egg and a sperm indefinitely and then unite them resulting in a living being....is there some ghost like entity keeping track of all the frozen eggs and sperms and just waiting for any possible union and then either assigning or not assigning a kammic connection at that exact moment?.....is there a cosmic validation window where all egg/sperm duos go apply for permission etc.??????.....or maybe is the kammic connection just a way to explain to people that sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn't?....did people in the Buddha's time even know about sperm and eggs?....I think they knew that the male had to contribute a bit of fluid (as evidenced by similarities with many observable animals like cows, frogs, fish, etc.) but could they have just had the idea that the fluid presented at the right time created the possibility and there was some cosmic decider....the whole idea seems a bit bizarre and not really too important an idea when it comes to progress on the path....
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Re: cause of birth of new humans

Postby PeterB » Wed Jun 09, 2010 2:56 pm

All good points Chownah. And what we see now is just the beginning of a new technology of baby making whether we are comfortable with that or not. Spliced genes from multiple parents to enhance certain qualities and so on. ...and whatever our feelings about those developments they are already making our primitive understanding of a little bundle of kamma waiting for a vehicle look pretty obsolete.

I think we need to get used to the fact that its what happens after birth to that baby and before the eventual death of the person it becomes that needs to be the focus of Buddhadhamma, not metaphysical speculation.
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Re: cause of birth of new humans

Postby acinteyyo » Wed Jun 09, 2010 4:11 pm

I don't consider the points made by chownah as good. Actually they don't even make any sense to me with regard to kamma.

It seems to me that in this thread the concoction of matter where the outcome is something which is usually called a human "being" or baby and the craving and clinging which leads to "becoming" or "being" is considered to be equal.
imho both is called "birth" indeed but only the last thing has something to do with kamma. The former is just matter behaving in line with its nature. The latter is unskillful action which leads to birth and the whole mass of suffering, in short the five aggregates of grasping.

best wishes, acinteyyo
Pubbe cāhaṃ bhikkhave, etarahi ca dukkhañceva paññāpemi, dukkhassa ca nirodhaṃ. (M.22)
Both formerly, monks, and now, it is just suffering that I make known and the ending of suffering.
Pathabyā ekarajjena, saggassa gamanena vā sabbalokādhipaccena, sotāpattiphalaṃ varaṃ. (Dhp 178)
Sole dominion over the earth, going to heaven or lordship over all worlds: the fruit of stream-entry excels them.

:anjali:
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Re: cause of birth of new humans

Postby PeterB » Wed Jun 09, 2010 5:54 pm

So all human endevour, noble and ignoble, mundane and creative, merciful and cruel, indeed the sum total of human existance is reducible to unskillful action ? Goethe, Shakespeare, Michelangelo, Einstein, Picasso, all those who man suicide prevention lines, all those who care for the newborn, who care for the dying, who spend the night in meditation, who feed the needy, who give their lives in the cause of justice, all those who use their intellects to solve the riddles of creation and to find cures for disease and explore the depths of space and of the oceans....all exist because of unskillful action ? Because of grasping ?
This is kamma as Original Sin.
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