the great rebirth debate

A discussion on all aspects of Theravāda Buddhism
Sanghamitta
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Re: Can Buddhism exist without the doctrine of reincarnation?

Post by Sanghamitta »

As I see it these threads always come down to a few positions with slight variations.

Those who accept the basic premise of punarbhava, and encourage others to examine the evidence.
Those who are unconvinced at present for what ever reason.
Those who simply decide to press on with practice and worry about punarbhava as and when.
Those who confuse punarbhava with reincarnation of an atta.

and.....those who predicate a Buddhism based on a belief system. Which they then use to draw a distinction between us and them.
Which latter group is no different to any other group of religious believers whose practice of their religion is largely about defending a belief. And excluding those who do not at present share that belief. I find this latter group causes me concern as someone who accpts punarbhava.
I find it hard not to assume that the latter group are largely attempting to convince themselves. They do protest too much. Or so it seems to me.
I suspect that were they easy in their own acceptance of punarbhava they would be less inclined to promote it as a shibboleth.
Last edited by Sanghamitta on Sat Oct 09, 2010 5:17 pm, edited 1 time in total.
The going for refuge is the door of entrance to the teachings of the Buddha.

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Hanzze
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Re: Can Buddhism exist without the doctrine of reincarnation?

Post by Hanzze »

_/\_
Last edited by Hanzze on Sun Oct 31, 2010 7:18 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Just that! *smile*
...We Buddhists must find the courage to leave our temples and enter the temples of human experience, temples that are filled with suffering. If we listen to Buddha, Christ, or Gandhi, we can do nothing else. The refugee camps, the prisons, the ghettos, and the battlefields will become our temples. We have so much work to do. ... Peace is Possible! Step by Step. - Samtach Preah Maha Ghosananda "Step by Step" http://www.ghosananda.org/bio_book.html

BUT! it is important to become a real Buddhist first. Like Punna did: Punna Sutta Nate sante baram sokham _()_
Sanghamitta
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Re: Can Buddhism exist without the doctrine of reincarnation?

Post by Sanghamitta »

That makes no semantic or coherent sense Hanzze. So I cant answer.
The going for refuge is the door of entrance to the teachings of the Buddha.

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Hanzze
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Re: Can Buddhism exist without the doctrine of reincarnation?

Post by Hanzze »

_/\_
Last edited by Hanzze on Sun Oct 31, 2010 7:18 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Just that! *smile*
...We Buddhists must find the courage to leave our temples and enter the temples of human experience, temples that are filled with suffering. If we listen to Buddha, Christ, or Gandhi, we can do nothing else. The refugee camps, the prisons, the ghettos, and the battlefields will become our temples. We have so much work to do. ... Peace is Possible! Step by Step. - Samtach Preah Maha Ghosananda "Step by Step" http://www.ghosananda.org/bio_book.html

BUT! it is important to become a real Buddhist first. Like Punna did: Punna Sutta Nate sante baram sokham _()_
Sunrise
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Re: Can Buddhism exist without the doctrine of reincarnation?

Post by Sunrise »

He's trolling
Hanzze wrote: :rules: haha dont get me wrong, just a troll. No waiting, rules!
Sanghamitta
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Re: Can Buddhism exist without the doctrine of reincarnation?

Post by Sanghamitta »

Hanzze wrote:
Sanghamitta wrote:That makes no semantic or coherent sense Hanzze. So I cant answer.
I think a discussion is to make believe an end, or maybe useful to rethink it. Maybe you can explain it from your experiences. Just to get sure: the topic title was requested again.
My reply stands. I think perhaps you should use some of the time you spend dashing off replies to all and any topic polishing up your English...just a suggestion.
The going for refuge is the door of entrance to the teachings of the Buddha.

Bhikku Bodhi.
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Hanzze
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Re: Can Buddhism exist without the doctrine of reincarnation?

Post by Hanzze »

_/\_
Last edited by Hanzze on Sun Oct 31, 2010 7:18 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Just that! *smile*
...We Buddhists must find the courage to leave our temples and enter the temples of human experience, temples that are filled with suffering. If we listen to Buddha, Christ, or Gandhi, we can do nothing else. The refugee camps, the prisons, the ghettos, and the battlefields will become our temples. We have so much work to do. ... Peace is Possible! Step by Step. - Samtach Preah Maha Ghosananda "Step by Step" http://www.ghosananda.org/bio_book.html

BUT! it is important to become a real Buddhist first. Like Punna did: Punna Sutta Nate sante baram sokham _()_
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Hanzze
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Re: Can Buddhism exist without the doctrine of reincarnation?

Post by Hanzze »

_/\_
Last edited by Hanzze on Sun Oct 31, 2010 7:19 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Just that! *smile*
...We Buddhists must find the courage to leave our temples and enter the temples of human experience, temples that are filled with suffering. If we listen to Buddha, Christ, or Gandhi, we can do nothing else. The refugee camps, the prisons, the ghettos, and the battlefields will become our temples. We have so much work to do. ... Peace is Possible! Step by Step. - Samtach Preah Maha Ghosananda "Step by Step" http://www.ghosananda.org/bio_book.html

BUT! it is important to become a real Buddhist first. Like Punna did: Punna Sutta Nate sante baram sokham _()_
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cooran
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Re: Suttas relevant to Rebirth?

Post by cooran »

Hello Individual,

There are a dozen or so references listed under the heading Rebirth at this link on Access To Insight:
Rebirth
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/index-su ... ml#rebirth" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

with metta
Chris
---The trouble is that you think you have time---
---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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Lazy_eye
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Re: Can Buddhism exist without the doctrine of reincarnation?

Post by Lazy_eye »

Sunrise wrote: Your rebirth beliefs influence your sila. That is the whole idea of this "belief". It is a mundane right view for morality...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.
And so, according to you, mundane right view and sila are not central parts of the dhamma, right?

I take it you also reject the Buddha's "graduated path" (dana, sila, heavens, drawbacks, renunciation, four noble truths) and consider only the last of these to be true dhamma?

And, as you have indicated several times, the four noble truths refer to present-life suffering and not to endless cycling through samsara?

In brief, when you say that rebirth/kamma are not central to the dhamma, you mean a dhamma that has had quite a lot excised from it. And if that works for you, fine! My interest in this thread mainly has to do with precision of terms.

If a student or other newcomer comes to this forum looking for information about Buddhism, it's misleading to tell him/her that rebirth and kamma are not core teachings. This is just contravened by so many of the suttas, as well as by the way Buddhism has actually been practiced for the past couple of millenia.

What would be more accurate, in my view, is to acknowledge there are "reformist" or "modernist" currents that question the necessity of some of these teachings. Buddhadasa and his students, for example.
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.
Simple, except that your statement contradicts itself. How can one "let beliefs go" while undertaking to "be a good person"? "Good" is itself a belief, implying an ethical system or at least some vague assemblage of sentiments and principles.

The approach taught in the dhamma, as I understand it, is not "let beliefs go and just be a good person". It is more like "be a good person and cultivate until you get to a point where beliefs can go". In other words, the scaffolding has to be there before you kick it away.

As Seung Sahn said, or is reputed to have said: "there is no right or wrong. Yet right is right, and wrong is wrong".
Last edited by Lazy_eye on Sun Oct 10, 2010 1:50 am, edited 7 times in total.
Sanghamitta
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Re: Can Buddhism exist without the doctrine of reincarnation?

Post by Sanghamitta »

There is much that could be said Lazy Eye. But to keep it simple and to the point, we do no favours when we urge others to practice with OUR underlying belief system or not at all. The Dhamma needs no guardian. Its practices will in time prove a better guardian than we with our mixed motives and need for certainty can ever be.
The going for refuge is the door of entrance to the teachings of the Buddha.

Bhikku Bodhi.
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Aloka
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Re: Can Buddhism exist without the doctrine of reincarnation?

Post by Aloka »

Sanghamitta wrote:..........I suspect that were they easy in their own acceptance of punarbhava they would be less inclined to promote it as a shibboleth.
Sanghamitta,

With respect, your earlier post appears to be complete gobbledigook to me - because I'm not familiar with many Pali words.

Would you mind using English please ? Sorry.

Kind regards,

Aloka

.
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Lazy_eye
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Re: Can Buddhism exist without the doctrine of reincarnation?

Post by Lazy_eye »

Sanghamitta wrote:..to keep it simple and to the point, we do no favours when we urge others to practice with OUR underlying belief system or not at all.
Agreed, Sanghamitta.

Has this happened? What I thought was happening was this: people have been putting forward various propositions. These are being examined by others, objections are being raised, and those objections answered. The "dialectical process", no?

FWIW, I'm fine with Sunrise practicing as he/she describes. I'm somewhat agnostic on the rebirth question, not having had any insights yet that would decide it one way or the other.
Last edited by Lazy_eye on Sat Oct 09, 2010 9:22 pm, edited 7 times in total.
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Hanzze
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Re: Can Buddhism exist without the doctrine of reincarnation?

Post by Hanzze »

_/\_
Last edited by Hanzze on Sun Oct 31, 2010 7:19 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Just that! *smile*
...We Buddhists must find the courage to leave our temples and enter the temples of human experience, temples that are filled with suffering. If we listen to Buddha, Christ, or Gandhi, we can do nothing else. The refugee camps, the prisons, the ghettos, and the battlefields will become our temples. We have so much work to do. ... Peace is Possible! Step by Step. - Samtach Preah Maha Ghosananda "Step by Step" http://www.ghosananda.org/bio_book.html

BUT! it is important to become a real Buddhist first. Like Punna did: Punna Sutta Nate sante baram sokham _()_
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Alex123
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Re: Can Buddhism exist without the doctrine of reincarnation?

Post by Alex123 »

In AN6.60 it says that even a monk who has reached 4th Jhana, and even signless concentration of mind, can be tempted by sensual desires and disrobe on account of that. That to me shows that the person didn't have enough lasting peace of mind to remain as a monk.

So even if one reaches 4 Jhanas, it is no guarantee of permanent contentment. And what are the chances of a lay householder reaching them? Only paths and fruits are certain to remove corresponding unwholesome mental states. But one is not going to get Awakened unless one drops the wrong view (there is no rebirth) and adopts a right view. It is also doubtful if someone who doesn't believe everything Buddha says, who doesn't believe in the full Dukkha of samsara, is going to strive hard enough to reach Awakening, which is very hard to reach.

There is much easier secular way for happiness, find the right anti-depressant, find the right chemistry, find happiness among little pleasures of life... Some sociopaths climb the corporate ladder and live in opulance... If they feel bad, they can afford lots of things that simply were not available in Buddha's time. And please don't talk about remorse or regret, some evil people don't have any regrets over people and animals that they step over. For them, other beings are commodity and one doesn't worry when that commodity is used for one's end... One can also much easier relax through chemical means than through Dhamma.


Of course, all of that would apply if there was only one life. If there was only one life then the path to Nibbana would be very easy, suicide!

So IMHO belief in rebirth is a must for gathering enough motivatation to practice and permanently eradicate unwholesome mental states.


With metta,

Alex
"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..."
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