If you did all that, and read all that, and came to the conclusion that rebirth and kamma are not core teachings, then who am I to argue?
I don't know. Who are you?
Yes, rebirth is by no means central to the 4 noble truths. You can apply the noble truths to a single lifetime, to the present moment without any issues
By cultivating Right View and observing in what ways it influences your sila and other aspects of your practice.
Your rebirth beliefs influence your sila. That is the whole idea of this "belief". It is a mundane right view for morality
. You can believe it if you like. Or you can let beliefs go and just be a good person, abiding by the Buddhist precepts whether there is rebirth or not. As simple as that.
It's not a question of testing "rebirth" per se. None of us here, unless we have some really advanced meditators among us, can say we have verified it first hand.
Well I asked it because you
to "test the teachings out for myself". As you yourself agree, there is no way to "test' these things. They remain to be beliefs that you can take up if you like or leave them be. The super-mundane Dhamma is "visible here and now
". You can test how suffering arises and dies here and now. You can mindfully observe how self view arises in your mind here and now. You can see how attachments cause dukkha here and now. Therefore, some of us don't see the need to believe in rebirth to practice Dhamma.
Lazy_eye wrote:It's a provisional teaching; the point is to apply it.I don't see how that's relevant to the question of what the Buddha taught or didn't teach. Anyone can "verify" this by reading the suttas -- there's nothing up the Buddha's sleeve.
The suttas clearly state that rebirth belief is a mundane teaching for morality
and is not a part of the super-mundane right view that leads to cessation. It is not mandatory to take up these beliefs. In fact, as per the same suttas you are referring to, the Buddha encouraged his disciples to verify dhamma for themselves and not to believe in anything just because he said so.
Lazy_eye wrote: A "Buddhist" usually signifies someone who has taken refuge, which presumably means that he/she considers the Buddha reliable enough to take refuge in.
I have taken refuge in the Buddha's teachings of the four noble truths, I can verify my faith by applying his teachings to this moment.