the great rebirth debate

A discussion on all aspects of Theravāda Buddhism
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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 7:13 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 »

beeblebrox wrote:it would be unfortunate if we decided to abandon the kamma part, just because we're only familiar with the popularized version of "karma." (A misconception which exists even in the Buddhist countries.)
Noone abandoned anything. :smile: Kamma can be experienced in this life and even in this very moment. For example, if I constantly lie, my co-workers will stop believing me. I may feel guilty. I may not experience a peaceful mind. That will be my bad kamma, verifiable and visible. If I am born with some disorder, it is reasonable to think that it is due to genetic and natural causes rather than because I killed my brother in my previous life. Such justification is speculative. Either way, teachings of kamma will encourage moral conduct.
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tiltbillings
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Re: Can Buddhism exist without the doctrine of reincarnation?

Post by tiltbillings »

Sunrise wrote:
Good luck chasing your own tail
Only tail chasing here is coming from thee, certainly not me.
>> Do you see a man wise [enlightened/ariya] in his own eyes? There is more hope for a fool than for him.<< -- Proverbs 26:12

This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond. -- SN I, 38.

“Of course it is happening inside your head, Harry, but why on earth should that mean that it is not real?” HPatDH p.723
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tiltbillings
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Re: Can Buddhism exist without the doctrine of reincarnation?

Post by tiltbillings »

Sunrise wrote:
Literal rebirth is not an integral part of the four noble truths IMO.
That pretty much sums it up and so this thread continues to go in circles.
>> Do you see a man wise [enlightened/ariya] in his own eyes? There is more hope for a fool than for him.<< -- Proverbs 26:12

This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond. -- SN I, 38.

“Of course it is happening inside your head, Harry, but why on earth should that mean that it is not real?” HPatDH p.723
5heaps
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Re: Can Buddhism exist without the doctrine of reincarnation?

Post by 5heaps »

Sunrise wrote:Literal rebirth is not an integral part of the four noble truths IMO. The Buddha taught suffering and the cessation.
he taught cessation based on the knowledge of the ultimate nature of persons (including the heaps). this includes knowledge of mind, which when understood is synonymous with understanding rebirth.

if you wish to change the meaning of rebirth you must change the meaning of the mind, therefore change the meaning of the heaps, and change the meaning of persons. but this wouldnt be a Buddha's explanation.

to be a nihilist doesnt mean just to deny the effects of persons after death, it means also to deny the explanation of persons as given by the Buddha. the main way of doing that these days is to deny mind itself (ie. its just a hallucination).
A Japanese man has been arrested on suspicion of writing a computer virus that destroys and replaces files on a victim PC with manga images of squid, octopuses and sea urchins. Masato Nakatsuji, 27, of Izumisano, Osaka Prefecture, was quoted as telling police: "I wanted to see how much my computer programming skills had improved since the last time I was arrested."
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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 7:14 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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beeblebrox
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Re: Can Buddhism exist without the doctrine of reincarnation?

Post by beeblebrox »

Sunrise wrote:Kamma can be experienced in this life and even in this very moment. For example, if I constantly lie, my co-workers will stop believing me. I may feel guilty. I may not experience a peaceful mind. That will be my bad kamma, verifiable and visible. If I am born with some disorder, it is reasonable to think that it is due to genetic and natural causes rather than because I killed my brother in my previous life. Such justification is speculative. Either way, teachings of kamma will encourage moral conduct.
I agree. Like I said before, I view this rebirth pattern like a fractal... this pattern can still be seen in one life, or one day, or even one second (if you manage to hone down your own meditation skills that far).

It's a matter of finding what the useful zoom is on this "fractal," for your own practice. Some commentaries seem to think that this useful zoom is set to "three lives"; I personally think that one life can be adequate; and for everyday practice, this zoom maybe should be set to something shorter, like a year, a week, or a day; or even "three watches of the day" like I seem to recall the Buddha recommended. During your sit, you focus this zoom on just that sit.

Anyway, that's how I view it.

Incidentally, if you set up the famous Mandelbrot fractal in a certain position, you can see the Buddha himself (sorta). Look at the following picture... there are little versions of buddhas sticking out on the Buddha's sides (also on his head, and even in the topknot). If you look even closer, there are also really, really tiny buddhas sticking out of those little buddhas, and so on:
300px_Mandel_zoom_00_mandelbrot_set.png
300px_Mandel_zoom_00_mandelbrot_set.png (51.54 KiB) Viewed 1238 times
Which of these infinite number of buddhas do we zoom on? All of them? Or just one? Which one of these zooms do you think are useful? Do you think that all of these different buddhas are exactly the same, or different? Do you think it could be that some buddhas have a better teaching than others, or maybe their teachings are really similar? Read the Avataṃsaka Sūtra for more. (Mahayana's manual on fractals.)

I think it's exactly the same with this rebirth thing... along with its different zoom levels.
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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 7:11 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 _()_
lojong1
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Re: Can Buddhism exist without the doctrine of reincarnation?

Post by lojong1 »

Goedert wrote:Friend ryabak303,
The Buddha stated that people need to have free inquerity. There is no need to BELIEVE. I suggest you to read the kamala sutta to understand what the Buddha mean with free inquerity.
"Kalama Sutta: To the Kalamas" (AN 3.65), translated from the Pali by Thanissaro Bhikkhu. Access to Insight, June 8, 2010, http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;.
I say we all sign here, adding an apology for any mess we might have left in Rybak303's enormous thread, and send this card to the front of the line where it's sure to find it, if it returns.
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Laurens
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Re: the great rebirth debate

Post by Laurens »

Can Rebirth Deniers Be Buddhist?

The Fourth Noble Truth
"There are these two extremes that are not to be indulged in by one who has gone forth. Which two? That which is devoted to sensual pleasure in connection with sensuality: base, domestic, common, ignoble, unprofitable; and that which is devoted to self-affliction: painful, ignoble, unprofitable. Avoiding both of these extremes, the middle way realized by the Tathagata — producing vision, producing knowledge — leads to calm, to direct knowledge, to self-awakening, to Unbinding.

"And what is the middle way realized by the Tathagata that — producing vision, producing knowledge — leads to calm, to direct knowledge, to self-awakening, to Unbinding? Precisely this Noble Eightfold Path: right view, right resolve, right speech, right action, right livelihood, right effort, right mindfulness, right concentration. This is the middle way realized by the Tathagata that — producing vision, producing knowledge — leads to calm, to direct knowledge, to self-awakening, to Unbinding."

The Fourth Noble Truth states that one must follow the Eightfold Path in order to reach awakening. Now, as you will see - if one lacks belief in rebirth, you cannot even fulfil the very fundamentals of Buddhism. Why is this?

Because belief in Kamma is essential for one to posses Right View. 'Mundane right view involves a correct grasp of the law of kamma' [The Noble Eightfold Path - Bhikku Bodhi page 15] can one grasp the law of kamma correctly without believing in rebirth?

The answer is no. Kamma needs rebirth to make sense. Kamma being that our actions bear fruit at some time or another. One lifetime simply doesn't allow this to happen. Forgive for bringing Hitler into the argument, but I hope I shall be forgiven, because I am not likening anyone to him, just merely pointing out an obvious example. Hitler was responsible for the murder of 6 million Jews, and countless more deaths in battle, do you think that Hitler's actions bore fruit in this life? He was not brought to justice, nor even slain by an enemy bullet, but his own bullet, with his own finger on the trigger. Did he really have to bear any kind of proportional negative kammic fruit for his actions? I do not believe that he did. So kamma would have failed. Not all volitional actions reap fruit if confined to one life time.

The same argument can be used in reverse. If we are not subject to rebirth, then we are not born with any kamma, so what kind of negative kamma must all those Jews have accrued within one life time to be able to say that their suffering and deaths at the hands of the Nazis were the result of kammic fruit? What could all those people possibly have done? Kamma does not work as an explanation here, without rebirth [not that it is really an explanation with rebirth, but that's irrelevant for the moment].

To be a Buddhist and follow the Eightfold Path correctly, you must at least entertain the notion of rebirth as a possibility, for if you deny it then you do not have a correct grasp of kamma, and you would be holding of a wrong view (according to the Buddha).
"If only it were all so simple! If only there were evil people somewhere insidiously committing evil deeds, and it were necessary only to separate them from the rest of us and destroy them. But the line dividing good and evil cuts through the heart of every human being. And who is willing to destroy a piece of his own heart?"

Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn
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Aloka
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Re: Can Buddhism exist without the doctrine of reincarnation?

Post by Aloka »

.


Just got back from hearing Ajahn Sumedho giving Dhamma teachings for 2 hrs.... and amongst many other things he discussed, he also spoke about the 4 Noble Truths and the Eightfold Path,... and guess what ? - rebirth wasn't mentioned even once.


:anjali:
Last edited by Aloka on Sun Oct 10, 2010 7:17 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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beeblebrox
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Re: the great rebirth debate

Post by beeblebrox »

Laurens wrote:Kamma needs rebirth to make sense. Kamma being that our actions bear fruit at some time or another. One lifetime simply doesn't allow this to happen. Forgive for bringing Hitler into the argument, but I hope I shall be forgiven, because I am not likening anyone to him, just merely pointing out an obvious example. Hitler was responsible for the murder of 6 million Jews, and countless more deaths in battle, do you think that Hitler's actions bore fruit in this life? He was not brought to justice, nor even slain by an enemy bullet, but his own bullet, with his own finger on the trigger. Did he really have to bear any kind of proportional negative kammic fruit for his actions? I do not believe that he did. So kamma would have failed. Not all volitional actions reap fruit if confined to one life time.
His use of Hitler as an analogy is quite unfortunate. First, he gave him a self. Second, he speculated about the inconceivable, which is the workings of someone's kamma.

Third, he thought that if Hitler was confined to that one lifetime, then the fruits won't happen. That obviously isn't true. People today still remember his actions. Some of them are still hurt by it. There are also some people who praise him for what he did. Some of them try to continue his ideals, and even emulate him. His name still get used in bad analogies. Those are rebirths in action.

What are the fruits? If people today try to become like Hitler, they'll have much harder time. They'll also bring the suffering (quite a bit) onto themselves. Many other people today, because of Hitler, are now aware of what would happen if these kind of people come to power, so they suppress these kind of people. So, the people who want to follow the same ideals as Hitler's will have some hard times ahead. Those are the fruits.

Here's the difference between the Buddha and Hitler:

The Buddha found the way to Nibbāna, where the rebirths (i.e., the continuing of dukkha) cease. If people try to follow this way (barring their own wrong views) they'll reach the end of their rebirths, which is Nibbāna.

Hitler didn't find the way to Nibbāna, where the rebirths (i.e., the continuing of dukkha) cease. If people try to follow his way, they'll only create more rebirths for themselves to take care of. That will bring on a lot of hardships. They'll only reach a state similar to Hitler's, not Nibbāna.

Seems to me like the kamma (and the rebirths) still work fine, with just one life model.
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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 7:12 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 »

beeblebrox wrote: I haven't seen anyone on here who themselves hold the belief that literal rebirth is not necessary (whether this is correct or not) ever say that suicide would be the easy way out to nibbāna... so, why would you keep on bringing that one up, over and over?
I was just spelling out the implications of Buddha's teaching and how it could apply within 1 life only. I may have been blunt, but I brought a valid point that I haven't seen satisfactory answered.

If all existence is suffering and the death would be the end of the suffering (and equivalent to parinibbana), why not hasten it? Isn't cessation of dukkha (mental and physical) is what Buddhism all about?


As for "Anihhilationism". There is ultimately no Self-Entity to be found. There is just a process happening, and when it ceases, it is only a process that ceases. So even suicide is not a death of any"one". Just the termination of a process and no reoccurance of it, if there were no rebirth.


Everything that arises is just stress that arises and whenever anything ceases it is just stress that ceases...
"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..."
Laurens
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Re: the great rebirth debate

Post by Laurens »

Ok so I admit I do not know exactly how kamma might work in one lifetime, so please:

Can you posit a single lifetime, workable model of kamma that does not contradict the Buddha's teachings?
"If only it were all so simple! If only there were evil people somewhere insidiously committing evil deeds, and it were necessary only to separate them from the rest of us and destroy them. But the line dividing good and evil cuts through the heart of every human being. And who is willing to destroy a piece of his own heart?"

Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn
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