NDE

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NDE

Postby clw_uk » Fri Feb 27, 2009 5:26 pm

I was reading an article about Near death experiences today when it hit me that what i was reading was at odds with the tradition i practice, as most of us here are Theravadins, i assume that if we view rebirth in any way, we see it as instant

In most if not all Near death experiences however there are reports of floating around the body, going to different places, talking with people and tunnels of light etc


How do you all see near death experiences in line with the Traditional Theravada view of instant rebirth


I dont excpect to uncover the answer to the mystery of NDE's, just thought it be interesting discussion



:anjali:
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Re: NDE

Postby Jechbi » Fri Feb 27, 2009 5:29 pm

clw_uk wrote:How do you all see near death experiences in line with the Traditional Theravada view of instant rebirth
I try not to judge them at all. I figure I'll find out soon enough.
Rain soddens what is kept wrapped up,
But never soddens what is open;
Uncover, then, what is concealed,
Lest it be soddened by the rain.
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Re: NDE

Postby appicchato » Fri Feb 27, 2009 9:44 pm

As the term implies...near death...one hasn't gotten there yet...so it's (seemingly) putting the cart before the horse to speculate...if I were asked that is...

Be well... :smile:
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Re: NDE

Postby appicchato » Fri Feb 27, 2009 9:45 pm

Sorry folks...
Last edited by appicchato on Fri Feb 27, 2009 9:49 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: NDE

Postby appicchato » Fri Feb 27, 2009 9:47 pm

:cookoo:
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Re: NDE

Postby Ben » Fri Feb 27, 2009 10:08 pm

Please don't be sorry Venerable!

My attitude is much the same. I view them as interesting phenomenological experiences before death.
They don't contradict Theravadin/Abhidhammic explanations of what occurs at death.
Kind regards

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Re: NDE

Postby clw_uk » Fri Feb 27, 2009 11:48 pm

Of course i forgot that the Abhidhamma has teachings about how visions before death are to do with a kamma thats coming to fruitation thats going to determine the next birth (am i wrong)




:anjali:
“ Your mind is likewise blocked. But the right road awaits you still. Cast out your doubts, your fears and your desires, let go of grief and of hope as well, for where these rule , then the mind is their subject." Boetius
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Re: NDE

Postby AdvaitaJ » Sat Feb 28, 2009 1:44 am

that if we view rebirth in any way, we see it as instant
Perhaps "immediate" would be a better word than "instant". Every description that I've read spoke of a "movement" into the next birth. Time is inherent in movement. I recently listened to an Ajahn Brahm video in which he related a story in which a monk (the abbot?) in deep mediation in an Asian monastery "saw" the consciousness of a dying being "travel" to its new existence nearby. This travel took place immediately, but apparently not instantly.

BTW -- I seem to remember a scientific explanation for the common experience of the "bright light" as merely being the spasmodic firing of neurons(?) in the optic nerve as it reaches a critical physical state. On the other hand, I've often wondered if the description of nimittas is in some way the same, or similar to, the "bright light" of a NDE.

Regards: AdvaitaJ
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Re: NDE

Postby Individual » Sat Feb 28, 2009 2:57 am

clw_uk wrote:I was reading an article about Near death experiences today when it hit me that what i was reading was at odds with the tradition i practice, as most of us here are Theravadins, i assume that if we view rebirth in any way, we see it as instant

In most if not all Near death experiences however there are reports of floating around the body, going to different places, talking with people and tunnels of light etc


How do you all see near death experiences in line with the Traditional Theravada view of instant rebirth


I dont excpect to uncover the answer to the mystery of NDE's, just thought it be interesting discussion



:anjali:

I am ambivalent about dogmatic explanations of post-mortem states. It seems likely to me that both the Theravadin and Tibetan accounts of rebirth are partially true. Because there is no time, as we think of it, or space, as we think of it, it is equally arbitrary to describe it as instantaneous or a series of dream-like moments. For people who have experienced NDEs, I think they would agree that it is an oversimplification to say that "they" were floating around the body (because you might ask, so what do you mean by "you"), and "going" to "other places" (because you might ask, in which direction did you go and how far?), and seeing things like beings and tunnels of light.

The Bible has a good passage describing the nature of death.

1 Corinthians 13:12
"For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face ; now I know in part, but then I will know fully just as I also have been fully known."

I think it is possible that NDEs might merely be chemical reactions in the brain, or it might have something to do with rebirth.

In any case, we must always be clear that there is no self that is either annihilated or transmigrates at death. This consciousness ceases with the break-up of the body, but karma is the basis for name and clan, and thus a new arising of new consciousness.
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Re: NDE

Postby Ben » Sat Feb 28, 2009 3:13 am

Hi AdvaitaJ

According to the Abhidhamma there is no lapse between the end of the death consciousness, the rebirth-linking consciousness and the arising of the next consciousness in the new life. One follows the other.

v. 37: Death and rebirth-linking

To one who is on the verge of death, either at the end of a cognitive process or the dissolution of the life-continuum, the death consciousness, the consumation of the present life, arises and ceases in the way of death.
Immediately after that (death consciousness) has ceased, a rebirth-linking consciousness arises and is established in the subsequent existence, apprehending the object thus obtained, either supported by the heart-base or baseless, as is appropriate; it is generated by a volitional formation that is enveloped by latent ignorance and rooted in latent craving. The rebirth-linking consciousness, so called because it links together the two consecutive existences, is conjoined with its mental adjuncts, and acts as a forerunner to the conascent stats as their locus (or foundation)

-- Acariya Anurrudha. Vithimuttasangaha, Abhidhammatthasangaha


Guide to v. 37
To one who is on the verge of death: The last cognitive process begins when the bhavanga is interrupted, vibrates for one moment, and is then arrested. Thereafter follows either a sense-door process taking as object some sense object presenting itself at one of the five sense doors or a bare mind-door process taking as object either some sense object or a mental object preseniting itself at the mind door. Within this terminal process the javana phase, by reason of its weakness, runs for only five mind-moments rather than the usual seven. This process lacks original productive kammic potency, but acts rather as the channel for the past kamma that has assumed the revirth-generative function. Following the javana stage two registration cittas (tadarammana) may or may not follow. In some cases the bhavanga may follow the last process cittas. Then, as the very last citta, the death consciousness arises performing the function of passing away from the present life. With the ceasing of the death consciousness, the life faculty is cut off. Then the body remains a mass of inanimate material phenomena born of temperature and continues as such until the corpse is reduced to dust.

Immediately after that has ceased: Following the dissolution moment of the death consciousness, there arises in a new existence the rebirth-linking consciousness apprehending the object thus obtained in the final javana process of the previous life. This citta is supported by the heart-base in realms which include matter, but is baseless in the immaterial realms. It is generated by a volitional formation, i.e. the kamma of the previous javana process, which in turn is grounded in the twin roots of the round of existence, latent ignorance and latent craving. The rebirth consciousness is conjoined with its mental adjuncts, which it serves as a forerunner not in the sense that it precedes them, but in that it acts as their locus or foundation.

-- Bhikkhu Bodhi, Compendium of the Process Freed, A Comprehensive Manual of the Abhidhamma
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Re: NDE

Postby AdvaitaJ » Sun Mar 01, 2009 1:19 am

Ben, et al,

There may still be no inherent conflict between NDEs and the Theravadin view. I found the following statement in the Guide to v.37 very intriguing:
Then, as the very last citta, the death consciousness arises performing the function of passing away from the present life

Suppose the "function of passing away" is that period where the "floating", etc is occurring.
I think this further supports the Venerable's statement that the subject is still only near death, but that
...the ceasing of the death consciousness...
has not yet occurred.
The birds have vanished down the sky. Now the last cloud drains away.
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