can i achieve nirvana when i don't believe in Reincarnation

Exploring Theravāda's connections to other paths - what can we learn from other traditions, religions and philosophies?
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korjusk
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can i achieve nirvana when i don't believe in Reincarnation

Post by korjusk »

Is it possible?
Thanks.
daverupa
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Re: can i achieve nirvana when i don't believe in Reincarnation

Post by daverupa »

You can attain stream-entry without knowing for sure whether or not rebirth occurs in the way you happen to understand it. That is enough, in my opinion, to get to work.

:heart:
  • "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting oneself one protects others? By the pursuit, development, and cultivation of the four establishments of mindfulness. It is in such a way that by protecting oneself one protects others.

    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting others one protects oneself? By patience, harmlessness, goodwill, and sympathy. It is in such a way that by protecting others one protects oneself.

- Sedaka Sutta [SN 47.19]
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Zom
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Re: can i achieve nirvana when i don't believe in Reincarnation

Post by Zom »

And, by the way, there is no stream-entry with a view that there is no rebirth .)
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Bhikkhu Pesala
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Re: can i achieve nirvana when i don't believe in Reincarnation

Post by Bhikkhu Pesala »

To attain nibbāna is synonymous with becoming a Stream-winner. Three fetters are abandoned by the Stream-winner — self-view (sakkāya ditthi), attachment to rites and rituals (sīlabbataparāmāsa), and skeptical doubt (vicikicchā).

The belief in reincarnation goes along with the belief in a self or soul. Theravāda Buddhists talk about rebirth rather than reincarnation, but the distinction is hard to see. If you rightly understand what the process of life really is, then you can dispel your doubts, but doubt is a very thorny problem for the meditator. Without faith or confidence (saddhā) in the goal and the method no one will practice wholeheartedly, and without strenuous effort no insight will arise, let alone the higher stages of the path or attainment of the goal.

The "Great Rebirth Debate" thread is clear evidence of how difficult it is for westerners to abandon speculative views and the doubts that arise from them.

As Ajahn Brahm says, “If you cannot believe in rebirth this time, maybe you will next time!”

Whatever you believe, it is not beliefs that get results but practice. At least you need to believe that the cessation of suffering is a goal worth striving for.
  • Suffering is the cause and faith or confidence in the Buddha's teaching is the effect.
  • Faith is the cause and effort to attain the goal is the effect
  • Effort is the cause and mindfulness is the effect
  • Constant, uninterrupted and continuous mindfulness is the cause and concentration is the effect
  • Concentration is the cause and seeing things as they truly are is the effect
Insight arises gradually. Don't even think about the goal until you are ready and willing to practice mindfulness meditation for weeks or months without any let up. If a ten-day course seems too extreme, then your still obstructed by doubts.
Last edited by Bhikkhu Pesala on Fri Mar 16, 2012 5:35 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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daverupa
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Re: can i achieve nirvana when i don't believe in Reincarnation

Post by daverupa »

Zom wrote:And, by the way, there is no stream-entry with a view that there is no rebirth .)
Well, the Brahmajala Sutta describes a number of examples of wrong view which include various misunderstandings of rebirth, and a stream-entrant is free of wrong view in that sense, so we should probably be careful about any implication that one or another statement about rebirth is the precisely correct one, all others being wrong.

We ought to focus on the fact of the efficacy of intention with respect to our practice, and not on pre-birth/post-death speculations.
  • "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting oneself one protects others? By the pursuit, development, and cultivation of the four establishments of mindfulness. It is in such a way that by protecting oneself one protects others.

    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting others one protects oneself? By patience, harmlessness, goodwill, and sympathy. It is in such a way that by protecting others one protects oneself.

- Sedaka Sutta [SN 47.19]
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reflection
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Re: can i achieve nirvana when i don't believe in Reincarnation

Post by reflection »

Hi,

I just posted but my post disappeared. Here it is again:

If I were to say "no", what would it change? Would you suddenly start to belief in rebirth? I think not, because you can't just decide to change your belief. You need some arguments or proofs for it. Also, if I said "yes", you still wouldn't know if that's true. You've only got my word, but that doesn't proof or change anything either.

So either way, the situation will not really change. The only thing you can do is practice the path as you would have done if this question had no answer. Contemplate rebirth and its place in the teachings, you may find it has a place and meaning, or you might find the opposite. But whatever it may be, don't let the outcome be a hurdle for further practice.

With loving kindness,
Reflection
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Zom
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Re: can i achieve nirvana when i don't believe in Reincarnation

Post by Zom »

To attain nibbāna is synonymous with becoming a Stream-winner.
Why is that? Attaining nibbana is the destruction of greed-hatred-delusion. Stream-enterer doesn't destroy any of these.
Well, the Brahmajala Sutta describes a number of examples of wrong view which include various misunderstandings of rebirth, and a stream-entrant is free of wrong view in that sense, so we should probably be careful about any implication that one or another statement about rebirth is the precisely correct one, all others being wrong.
I mean that stream-enterer can't have a view that there is no rebith. Or - no next life, if this is more clear.
vinasp
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Re: can i achieve nirvana when i don't believe in Reincarnation

Post by vinasp »

Hi korjusk,

Of course you can achieve nibbana.

All that is required is that you give up the belief in a self.

This, of course, will mean that there is no self to be reincarnated.

Regards, Vincent.
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Son
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Re: can i achieve nirvana when i don't believe in Reincarnation

Post by Son »

If you do not think you're consciousness will continue to reproduce after this life,
what would Nibbana even mean to you?
Without rebirth, for you everything would just end when you die and Nibbana wouldn't matter.
So, I'm curious as to why you would wonder this...

Son.
A seed sleeps in soil.
It's cold and alone, hopeless.
Until it blooms above.
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Aloka
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Re: can i achieve nirvana when i don't believe in Reincarnation

Post by Aloka »

daverupa wrote:
We ought to focus on the fact of the efficacy of intention with respect to our practice, and not on pre-birth/post-death speculations.

Yes, this makes sense to me, Dave . _/\_


.
Sarva
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Re: can i achieve nirvana when i don't believe in Reincarnation

Post by Sarva »

vinasp wrote:Hi korjusk,

Of course you can achieve nibbana.

All that is required is that you give up the belief in a self.

This, of course, will mean that there is no self to be reincarnated.

Regards, Vincent.
I agree with you, Vincent. I would feel inclined to add that it may not be easy to root out the concept of self from the mind. For example a materialist may still assume they are the doer of actions whilst their physical form persists but when questioned they may deny any permanent self beyond this life. This is still a concept of self in the mind albeit an-atta (no soul).
“Both formerly & now, it is only stress that I describe, and the cessation of stress.” — SN 22:86
hermitwin
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Re: can i achieve nirvana when i don't believe in Reincarnation

Post by hermitwin »

No, bcos you cant if you have wrong view.
anyway, if you are enlightened, you will know for a fact that
reincarnation happens.
so, its a win-win situation.
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ground
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Re: can i achieve nirvana when i don't believe in Reincarnation

Post by ground »

korjusk wrote:Is it possible?
Thanks.
It is possible to get rid of dukkha when not believing anything. That should suffice.

Kind regards
Nyana
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Re: can i achieve nirvana when i don't believe in Reincarnation

Post by Nyana »

korjusk wrote:Is it possible?
As already indicated, "reincarnation" is not an accurate term in a Buddhist context. But to answer your question, if you don't believe in the post-mortem continuum of saṃsāric becomming, then there is no reason whatsoever to want to realize nibbāna.
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rowboat
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Re: can i achieve nirvana when i don't believe in Reincarnation

Post by rowboat »

Rebirth and reincarnation are not terms that are interchangeable. But this is still funny.

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Rain soddens what is covered up,
It does not sodden what is open.
Therefore uncover what is covered
That the rain will not sodden it.
Ud 5.5
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