the great rebirth debate

A discussion on all aspects of Theravāda Buddhism
User avatar
Aloka
Posts: 7189
Joined: Wed Jan 21, 2009 2:51 pm

Re: the great rebirth debate

Post by Aloka »

Pannapetar wrote: . In my understanding, the definition of a human lifetime as for the purpose of the illustration of dependent origination is a purposeful though ultimately arbitrary choice.
Why ? How is it arbitrary ?




.
User avatar
Alex123
Posts: 3477
Joined: Wed Mar 10, 2010 11:32 pm

Re: the great rebirth debate

Post by Alex123 »

Question to rebirth sceptics/agnostics.


Do you agree that Pali Canon does teaches existence of other (non-human, non-animal) realms ?
Do you agree that Pali Canon does teaches literal rebirth?


If not, how do you explain various suttas that talk about those?


http://metta.lk/tipitaka/2Sutta-Pitaka/ ... ita-e.html" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
http://metta.lk/tipitaka/2Sutta-Pitaka/ ... uta-e.html" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;


There were many occasions where the Buddha met Devas. In this case it is reunion with a former friend with whom they were together in Buddha Kassapa's dispensation.
“In the past I was the potter, Ghatikåra in Vehalinga. I supported my mother and father then As a lay follower of the Buddha Kassapa.
...I was your fellow villager,"
SN Devatå-samyutta 1.50 (10) Ghatikara
BB Trans.

“Here, friend, as I was coming down from Mount Vulture Peak, I saw a skeleton moving through the air. Vultures, crows, and hawks, pursuing it here and there, were pecking at it between the ribs, stabbing it, and tearing it apart while it uttered cries of pain. It occurred to me: ‘It is wonderful, indeed! It is amazing, indeed! That there could be such a being, that there could be such a spirit, that could be such a form of individual existence!

Then the Blessed One addressed the bhikkhus thus: “Bhikkhus, there are disciples who dwell having become vision, disciples who dwell having become knowledge, in that a disciple can know, see, and witness such a sight. In the past, bhikkhus, I too saw that being , but I did not speak about it. For if I had spoken about it, others would not have believed me, and if they would not have believed me that would have led to their harm and suffering for a long time.

“That being, bhikkhus, used to be a cattle butcher in this same Råjagaha. Having been tormented in hell for many years, for many hundreds of years, for many thousands of years, for many hundreds of thousands of years as a result of that kamma, as a residual
result of that same kamma he is experiencing such a form of individual existence.”&
SN19.1 - BB trans
"Life is a struggle. Life will throw curveballs at you, it will humble you, it will attempt to break you down. And just when you think things are starting to look up, life will smack you back down with ruthless indifference..."
PeterB
Posts: 3909
Joined: Tue Feb 17, 2009 12:35 pm

Re: the great rebirth debate

Post by PeterB »

Alex123 wrote:Question to rebirth sceptics/agnostics.


Do you agree that Pali Canon does teaches existence of other (non-human, non-animal) realms ?
Do you agree that Pali Canon does teaches literal rebirth?


If not, how do you explain various suttas that talk about those?


http://metta.lk/tipitaka/2Sutta-Pitaka/ ... ita-e.html" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
http://metta.lk/tipitaka/2Sutta-Pitaka/ ... uta-e.html" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;


There were many occasions where the Buddha met Devas. In this case it is reunion with a former friend with whom they were together in Buddha Kassapa's dispensation.
“In the past I was the potter, Ghatikåra in Vehalinga. I supported my mother and father then As a lay follower of the Buddha Kassapa.
...I was your fellow villager,"
SN Devatå-samyutta 1.50 (10) Ghatikara
BB Trans.

“Here, friend, as I was coming down from Mount Vulture Peak, I saw a skeleton moving through the air. Vultures, crows, and hawks, pursuing it here and there, were pecking at it between the ribs, stabbing it, and tearing it apart while it uttered cries of pain. It occurred to me: ‘It is wonderful, indeed! It is amazing, indeed! That there could be such a being, that there could be such a spirit, that could be such a form of individual existence!

Then the Blessed One addressed the bhikkhus thus: “Bhikkhus, there are disciples who dwell having become vision, disciples who dwell having become knowledge, in that a disciple can know, see, and witness such a sight. In the past, bhikkhus, I too saw that being , but I did not speak about it. For if I had spoken about it, others would not have believed me, and if they would not have believed me that would have led to their harm and suffering for a long time.

“That being, bhikkhus, used to be a cattle butcher in this same Råjagaha. Having been tormented in hell for many years, for many hundreds of years, for many thousands of years, for many hundreds of thousands of years as a result of that kamma, as a residual
result of that same kamma he is experiencing such a form of individual existence.”&
SN19.1 - BB trans
And if Alex people agree or if they disagree what difference does it make to you and to your practice ?
User avatar
Pannapetar
Posts: 327
Joined: Wed Jul 29, 2009 6:05 am
Location: Chiang Mai, Thailand
Contact:

Re: the great rebirth debate

Post by Pannapetar »

PeterB wrote:And if Alex people agree or if they disagree what difference does it make to you and to your practice ?
Greetings Peter,

For someone who has vowed twice to stay out of the rebirth debate, you do post a lot. :lol:

Many people view philosophical debate as a waste of time. Some Buddhists might be especially dismissive because of the warnings against speculation in the Buddhist teaching. While these warnings are justified, one must consider that Buddhism is among -other things- a philosophy and that it is therefore important to clarify philosophical issues. This falls into the category "right view". The Tibetans even have a monastic tradition of debating, where one-on-one and panel debate are practiced as a part of the novice training.

Why is this important? Because our collective understanding is always greater than our individual understanding. Debate has the potential to uncover new ways of looking at things, and to expose problems and flaws with certain points of view, both of which increase individual understanding. Personally, I find that debate is integral to dhamma practice, and that it enhances right view, right intention, right speech, and right mindfulness. Therefore it does make a difference to one's practice.

Cheers, Thomas
User avatar
Aloka
Posts: 7189
Joined: Wed Jan 21, 2009 2:51 pm

Re: the great rebirth debate

Post by Aloka »

Why is this important? Because our collective understanding is always greater than our individual understanding. Debate has the potential to uncover new ways of looking at things, and to expose problems and flaws with certain points of view, both of which increase individual understanding. Personally, I find that debate is integral to dhamma practice, and that it enhances right view, right intention, right speech, and right mindfulness. Therefore it does make a difference to one's practice.

It depends on the quality of the debate and the level of understanding of the people debating though, does it not?

Why is this important ? Because If several prejudiced and arrogant people with limited understanding are waffling away about something ,then all that is being uncovered is just that the blind are leading the blind. The difference this makes to ones practice is simply that one should not be taking it too seriously !

:D
User avatar
Pannapetar
Posts: 327
Joined: Wed Jul 29, 2009 6:05 am
Location: Chiang Mai, Thailand
Contact:

Re: the great rebirth debate

Post by Pannapetar »

Aloka wrote:It depends on the quality of the debate and the level of understanding of the people debating though, does it not?
It depends on the perceptiveness of the participants, not necessarily on their understanding, and probably not on the "quality of debate" which is highly subjective, unless you mean that participants are addressing arguments in a constructive and logical fashion. Levels of understanding differ. Whether understanding is raised from level 0 to level 1 or from level 9 to to 10, the result is in both cases an increase of 1. Arrogance is certainly a problem, because it prevents perception of alternative points of view.

Cheers, Thomas
Sanghamitta
Posts: 1614
Joined: Wed Jul 29, 2009 9:21 am
Location: By the River Thames near London.

Re: the great rebirth debate

Post by Sanghamitta »

Pannapetar wrote:
Aloka wrote:It depends on the quality of the debate and the level of understanding of the people debating though, does it not?
It depends on the perceptiveness of the participants, not necessarily on their understanding, and probably not on the "quality of debate" which is highly subjective, unless you mean that participants are addressing arguments in a constructive and logical fashion. Levels of understanding differ. Whether understanding is raised from level 0 to level 1 or from level 9 to to 10, the result is in both cases an increase of 1. Arrogance is certainly a problem, because it prevents perception of alternative points of view.

Cheers, Thomas
Arrogance certainly is.
The going for refuge is the door of entrance to the teachings of the Buddha.

Bhikku Bodhi.
User avatar
Alex123
Posts: 3477
Joined: Wed Mar 10, 2010 11:32 pm

Re: the great rebirth debate

Post by Alex123 »

Hello all,


Do you accept that kusala/akusala or vipaka citta is conditioned at least in part by prior cittas?

If so, then the first citta in a newborn (or fetus) is dependent on prior cittas. Thus there is rebirth. Cittas don't appear for not cause.

If you accept causeless kusala/akusala/vipaka cittas, then it would make no sense to develop ethical (or unethical) qualities as they would not need to affect future cittas.
"Life is a struggle. Life will throw curveballs at you, it will humble you, it will attempt to break you down. And just when you think things are starting to look up, life will smack you back down with ruthless indifference..."
PeterB
Posts: 3909
Joined: Tue Feb 17, 2009 12:35 pm

Re: the great rebirth debate

Post by PeterB »

It makes perfect sense to develop ethical qualities because they are their own reward.
PeterB
Posts: 3909
Joined: Tue Feb 17, 2009 12:35 pm

Re: the great rebirth debate

Post by PeterB »

Blast ! I Have just rememberd my vow not to take part in Rebirth debates..
User avatar
Alex123
Posts: 3477
Joined: Wed Mar 10, 2010 11:32 pm

Re: the great rebirth debate

Post by Alex123 »

PeterB wrote:It makes perfect sense to develop ethical qualities because they are their own reward.
Only if the current kusala/akusala/vipāka citta is conditioned by past cittas. If citta can arise ex nihilo, then nothing can be done to affect it in any way. "Good" or "Bad" intentions would have equal (zero) effect on future citta.

So, do you accept that any kusala/akusala/vipāka citta is at least partially conditioned by previous cittas?
"Life is a struggle. Life will throw curveballs at you, it will humble you, it will attempt to break you down. And just when you think things are starting to look up, life will smack you back down with ruthless indifference..."
PeterB
Posts: 3909
Joined: Tue Feb 17, 2009 12:35 pm

Re: the great rebirth debate

Post by PeterB »

No.
User avatar
Pannapetar
Posts: 327
Joined: Wed Jul 29, 2009 6:05 am
Location: Chiang Mai, Thailand
Contact:

Re: the great rebirth debate

Post by Pannapetar »

I think Peter is making good progress. Having vowed not to get involved with rebirth discussions, he has already reduced replies to single words. Peter, you're almost there. :smile:

The causal citta theory of rebirth sounds slightly contrived to me, although I am not sure if I understand it completely. I have heard it being explained as causal transference where citta means something like "states of minds" rather than "mind" or "consciousness". Well, it sounds a bit like the Catholic church declaring God to be the cause of the Big Bang. Not totally convincing as far as the synthesis of science and faith goes, but perhaps someone can enlighten me... :?

Cheers, Thomas
PeterB
Posts: 3909
Joined: Tue Feb 17, 2009 12:35 pm

Re: the great rebirth debate

Post by PeterB »

That actually made me laugh out loud Thomas..
Well I am consistant only in my inconsistancy.


" All ditthi ( good or bad views, correct or incorrect ) are upadana. ( clinging ).
The chain is broken by removing all ditthi, thereby removing upadana , this needs no speculation.
It is a matter of careful observation "

Ajahn Buddhadasa.
User avatar
Alex123
Posts: 3477
Joined: Wed Mar 10, 2010 11:32 pm

Re: the great rebirth debate

Post by Alex123 »

Pannapetar wrote:I think Peter is making good progress. Having vowed not to get involved with rebirth discussions, he has already reduced replies to single words. Peter, you're almost there. :smile:

The causal citta theory of rebirth sounds slightly contrived to me, although I am not sure if I understand it completely.
The idea is that citta isn't uncaused, but is caused by prior cittas.

If citta can be uncaused, then any sort of mental development (meditation, keeping the precepts, study, etc) is superfluous as it can't affect future cittas since they are uncaused. If akusala can appear randomly (is uncaused) then any sort of ethical development is a matter of chance and circumstances.


So the first citta of a newborn is not "ex nihilo" nor is it 100% caused by matter. If it is "ex nihilo" and appears as bad akusalavipaka, then nothing saintly would be possible in that life and all development is in vain for that life. So again, the ethical evelopment is damaged.
"Life is a struggle. Life will throw curveballs at you, it will humble you, it will attempt to break you down. And just when you think things are starting to look up, life will smack you back down with ruthless indifference..."
Post Reply