Concept of Rebirth confuses me

A discussion on all aspects of Theravāda Buddhism
Ryan95227
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Concept of Rebirth confuses me

Post by Ryan95227 »

I 100% believe in rebirth but the concept that always gets to me is that the only memory that I have is my current self. To simplify this more, the only "experience of suffering" I seemed to have experienced has only happened in this current life it seems. If I truly lived through eons and eons of births wouldn't I have at least experience some sort of suffering and actually remember them? It boggles my mind because if I were to die and be reborn again as human and experience suffering again, the suffering I experienced in my previous life seems to be rather gone as if I never experienced it before. It's like I never actually went through that and just starting from the initial point again.
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Ceisiwr
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Re: Concept of Rebirth confuses me

Post by Ceisiwr »

We don’t even remember all of the suffering we experience in this life.
Last edited by Ceisiwr on Thu Jun 04, 2020 10:37 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Paññaṃ nappamajjeyya, saccamanurakkheyya, cāgamanubrūheyya, santimeva so sikkheyyā’ti
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Dhātuvibhaṅga Sutta
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cappuccino
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Re: Concept of Rebirth confuses me

Post by cappuccino »

Ryan95227 wrote: It's like I never actually went through that and just starting from the initial point again.
such is the promise and hope of each new day, each new year


consider it from another perspective?


endless days of suffering, endless years of suffering
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TamHanhHi
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Re: Concept of Rebirth confuses me

Post by TamHanhHi »

Ryan95227 wrote: Thu Jun 04, 2020 10:15 pmIt boggles my mind because if I were to die and be reborn again as human and experience suffering again, the suffering I experienced in my previous life seems to be rather gone as if I never experienced it before.
This general amnesia seems to be part of the process. Then again, like Ceisiwr said, we can't even remember things that happened to us in this life, so it's not that surprising. Death also seems to be a traumatic process, and trauma can induce amnesia as a protective mechanism.

So, what exactly were you doing this time ten years ago? Sure, there's a vague sense that you were there, and you can say "Oh, well, that was 2009 I must have been..." but do you remember?

Sometimes I think, suppose I were a five-year-old and I stole my ten-year-old cousins favorite toy and destroyed it. I might not have even known he was angry and upset by that, and even though I'd forgotten about it, he held the grudge his whole life. Now, at thirty, I still don't understand why he doesn't talk to me or want anything to do with me, until he tells me I never apologized. I'd be floored and surprised, and it certainly would feel like that wasn't me, the me here right now. And I'd be right from a Buddhist standpoint, but I'd also be the recipient of the fruits of the actions of my five-year-old self. When I think of it that way, it makes sense.

Hope that's helpful.
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SarathW
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Re: Concept of Rebirth confuses me

Post by SarathW »

Buddha did not teach rebirth.
He taught birth (Bhava)
There are causes and effects.
“As the lamp consumes oil, the path realises Nibbana”
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cappuccino
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Re: Concept of Rebirth confuses me

Post by cappuccino »

SarathW wrote: Buddha did not teach rebirth.
He taught birth (Bhava)
There are causes and effects.
craving leads to becoming, becoming leads to birth again


no craving, no becoming, no birth again
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JohnK
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Re: Concept of Rebirth confuses me

Post by JohnK »

Ryan95227 wrote: Thu Jun 04, 2020 10:15 pm ...just starting from the initial point again.
Well, it may seem that way, but the kamma from this life will follow -- so maybe best to focus on your good actions now.
:anjali:
Those who grasp at perceptions & views wander the internet creating friction. [based on Sn4:9,v.847]
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zerotime
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Re: Concept of Rebirth confuses me

Post by zerotime »

our present human state is not a valid reference. Nobody can know that, even for another human realm
Or think in the so called ghosts, who many times are obsessed with a past existence.
SarathW
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Re: Concept of Rebirth confuses me

Post by SarathW »

cappuccino wrote: Thu Jun 04, 2020 11:08 pm
SarathW wrote: Buddha did not teach rebirth.
He taught birth (Bhava)
There are causes and effects.
craving leads to becoming, becoming leads to birth again


no craving, no becoming, no birth again
Agree but this is not rebirth.
Rebirth is a Hindu idea.
“As the lamp consumes oil, the path realises Nibbana”
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cappuccino
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Re: Concept of Rebirth confuses me

Post by cappuccino »

SarathW wrote:
cappuccino wrote: craving leads to becoming, becoming leads to birth again


no craving, no becoming, no birth again
Agree but this is not rebirth.
Rebirth is a Hindu idea.
reincarnation is a Hindu idea


rebirth is a Buddhist idea
"All men's souls are immortal, but the souls of the righteous are immortal and divine." -Socrates
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sentinel
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Re: Concept of Rebirth confuses me

Post by sentinel »

Ryan95227 wrote: Thu Jun 04, 2020 10:15 pm I 100% believe in rebirth but ... It's like I never actually went through that and just starting from the initial point again.
Sometimes it is good to start afresh , otherwise life is really boring .

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SteRo
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Re: Concept of Rebirth confuses me

Post by SteRo »

Ryan95227 wrote: Thu Jun 04, 2020 10:15 pm ... It boggles my mind because if I were to die and be reborn again as human and experience suffering again, the suffering I experienced in my previous life seems to be rather gone as if I never experienced it before. It's like I never actually went through that and just starting from the initial point again.
That's the illusion of worldlings not knowing that what appears to ordinary mind as "starting from the initial point again" is actually starting on the basis of accumulated kamma of former lives.
So the suffering of previous lives is gone, yes, but the kamma accumulated caused by that suffering is not necessarily gone.

For the time being there's only faith in the teachings. If the topic of rebirth obstructs faith then that's an issue and you should find a way to put the topic rebirth aside and focus on things necessary for practice. Because only through practice all questions as to rebirth can be clarified.
Exhaling अ and inhaling धीः amounts to བྷྲཱུཾ་བི་ཤྭ་བི་ཤུད་དྷེ It's definitely not science but science may provide guidelines nevertheless.
Srilankaputra
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Re: Concept of Rebirth confuses me

Post by Srilankaputra »

From Bhikkhu Bodhi's Manual of Abhidhamma;
Purification of view:
This purification is arrived at in the the course of meditation by discerning the personality as a compound of mental and material factors which occur interdependently
In order to get our heads around this, atleast intellectually, we probably need to get out of any materialistic point of views.

Perhaps by way of some similes, rather than a static and solid computer running a computer program it's probably more like the propagation of a electro-magnetic pulse which consists of two interacting and interdependent energies. There is also a kind of capacitance, a sort of a accumulation and release of energy/memory which propels the pulse forward (ie kamma). Rebirth might simply be like passing the interface between two media but kamma does not get deleted.

Also, according to petavatthu and vimanavatthu some beings can be reborn as ghost like beings or gods with full recall of their previous life. Rather like we wake up in the morning after going to sleep.

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NuanceOfSuchness
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Re: Concept of Rebirth confuses me

Post by NuanceOfSuchness »

TamHanhHi wrote: Thu Jun 04, 2020 10:42 pm
Ryan95227 wrote: Thu Jun 04, 2020 10:15 pmIt boggles my mind because if I were to die and be reborn again as human and experience suffering again, the suffering I experienced in my previous life seems to be rather gone as if I never experienced it before.
This general amnesia seems to be part of the process. Then again, like Ceisiwr said, we can't even remember things that happened to us in this life, so it's not that surprising. Death also seems to be a traumatic process, and trauma can induce amnesia as a protective mechanism.

So, what exactly were you doing this time ten years ago? Sure, there's a vague sense that you were there, and you can say "Oh, well, that was 2009 I must have been..." but do you remember?

Sometimes I think, suppose I were a five-year-old and I stole my ten-year-old cousins favorite toy and destroyed it. I might not have even known he was angry and upset by that, and even though I'd forgotten about it, he held the grudge his whole life. Now, at thirty, I still don't understand why he doesn't talk to me or want anything to do with me, until he tells me I never apologized. I'd be floored and surprised, and it certainly would feel like that wasn't me, the me here right now. And I'd be right from a Buddhist standpoint, but I'd also be the recipient of the fruits of the actions of my five-year-old self. When I think of it that way, it makes sense.

Hope that's helpful.
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DooDoot
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Re: Concept of Rebirth confuses me

Post by DooDoot »

SarathW wrote: Thu Jun 04, 2020 10:52 pm Buddha did not teach rebirth.
He taught birth (Bhava)
Bhava is not birth. Buddha taught bhava, birth (jati) & 'rebirth' (upapajjati).
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