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

Post by Goofaholix »

santa100 wrote:Anyway, regardless of your position on the issue, there're practical metrics that we should all pay attention to: is what we're practicing helps lessening our greed, anger, and delusion? are we gaining more concentration for meditation? are we becoming more compassionate toward others?
Bang on, and if somebody on the internet tells you it's all "pointless" or "no benefit" or "utterly impossible" because you don't believe the way they do you've tasted the evidence and don't have to buy into their view.
“Peace is within oneself to be found in the same place as agitation and suffering. It is not found in a forest or on a hilltop, nor is it given by a teacher. Where you experience suffering, you can also find freedom from suffering. Trying to run away from suffering is actually to run toward it.” ― Ajahn Chah
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Re: can i achieve nirvana when i don't believe in Reincarnation

Post by Nyana »

santa100 wrote:Anyway, regardless of your position on the issue, there're practical metrics that we should all pay attention to: is what we're practicing helps lessening our greed, anger, and delusion? are we gaining more concentration for meditation? are we becoming more compassionate toward others?
Yes, this is the gist of AN 3.65 and MN 60, primarily for people who still haven't gone for refuge in the three jewels.
admiraljim
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Re: can i achieve nirvana when i don't believe in Reincarnation

Post by admiraljim »

Believe it or not I actually think rebirth is probable, however I do not tend to believe the traditional way it is taught. however I will not elaborate in fear of twisting some knickers of those who clearly understand 'deeper' aspects of buddhadharma I do not LOL
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Re: can i achieve nirvana when i don't believe in Reincarnation

Post by Nyana »

retrofuturist wrote:
Ñāṇa wrote:
retrofuturist wrote:Ironically, though even if it is false, it is beneficial to believe it, as per MN 60, as quoted above.
But that isn't what MN 60 is saying.
I didn't say it was.

It was just a logical IF/THEN statement.

If there's 0% chance of the IF condition (i.e. "rebirth is false") being TRUE on account of the statement in the sutta being correct, then all well and good.

My purpose was only to demonstrate that what Dave perceived as a possible "contradiction", might not necessarily be so.... in other words, that even if there is no rebirth, it is beneficial to believe in rebirth as it is conducive to action which is conducive to liberation (as per MN 60), and being conducive to liberation, it is Right View regardless of its objective truth or falsity.

As I see it, it is the outcome that is important, not the objective truth or falsity of things, and seeing the matter this way allows the whole hornet's nest surrounding "unverified belief" to be neatly sidestepped. As long as I know what is beneficial, and what is not, that is all that matters.
retrofuturist wrote:MN 60 suggests that views that lead to wholesome activities are the way to go, so the view reflected by your statement is likely to yield better results than true agnosticism which is more neutral, and potentially unskilful if it paves that way for skeptical doubt or indecision. After all, the Buddha taught Right View, not No View. To be clear, I'm not speaking in favour of agnosticism though I do respect its intellectual and spiritual integrity.

Yes, the relevant sections of MN 60 Apaṇṇaka Sutta: A Safe Bet are quite remarkable, offering a clear step-by-step way forward for people who are not yet comfortable with accepting the whole of the dhammavinaya, especially those aspects of right view which are not easily verifiable via ordinary cognitions. This type of reflection can also help to build confidence in ascertaining valid knowledge of dhamma through inference.
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Re: can i achieve nirvana when i don't believe in Reincarnation

Post by Spiny O'Norman »

mikenz66 wrote:A truly agnostic stance would be:
  • "I don't really understand what suttas on such-and-such are getting at and/or whether to take certain passages literally, but I'll press on and see how it turns out."
That's pretty much where I am... ;)
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Re: can i achieve nirvana when i don't believe in Reincarnation

Post by Spiny O'Norman »

Kenshou wrote: Remaining agnostic about rebirth does not necessarily imply ignoring and discounting the idea.
I'd go further and say that agnosticism about rebirth shouldn't imply ignoring and discounting the idea. Otherwise it's just cherry-picking disguised as neutrality.

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

Post by Spiny O'Norman »

Lazy_eye wrote:If you haven't seen it already, you may also be interested in Leigh Brasington's critique of the "three lives" model, which he sees as suffering from fatal logical problems.
The 3-lives model is at least consistent with the way the nidanas are described in the suttas. The psychological model of DO isn't atall consistent with the way the nidanas are described in the suttas ( see MN9 and SN12.2 ), and IMO only takes us further away from understanding what DO is really about.
It seems to be an example of "I don't like what the suttas say, so I'll rewrite the offending sections and make it fit an interpretation I like".

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

Post by Spiny O'Norman »

Ñāṇa wrote:As I already tried to indicate, it doesn't matter what I believe. I accept that rebirth is a significant aspect of the received tradition, including the Suttapiṭaka. And this is a Theravāda discussion forum, the Buddhadhamma is more important than my opinions or your opinions or anyone else's opinions.
I think this is an important point. It seems to me that some people are still confusing what they personally believe with what the suttas say.

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

Post by daverupa »

Spiny O'Norman wrote:The 3-lives model is at least consistent with the way the nidanas are described in the suttas.
No, it runs into immediate contradiction, as Nanavira has also pointed out. But of course, this is simply one of those intractable differences.
  • "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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Re: can i achieve nirvana when i don't believe in Reincarnation

Post by Lazy_eye »

Spiny O'Norman wrote:
Lazy_eye wrote:If you haven't seen it already, you may also be interested in Leigh Brasington's critique of the "three lives" model, which he sees as suffering from fatal logical problems.
It seems to be an example of "I don't like what the suttas say, so I'll rewrite the offending sections and make it fit an interpretation I like".

Spiny
Hi Spiny,

What about the logical problems he raises in his critique? Can they be resolved?
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Re: can i achieve nirvana when i don't believe in Reincarnation

Post by Ron-The-Elder »

Bottom line:

Buddha taught rebirth. He cited numerous examples in suttas of post-mortem rebirth. He showed the cause and effect relationship between beneficial and non-beneficial intentional actions and the nature of rebirth of one's rebirth in his discussion of dependent origination and its proper subset, kamma and kamma-vipakha. This teaching is consistent with his primary messages contained in The Four Noble Truths: Life is dukkha brought on as a result of our attachment and clinging to all manner of defilements: hindrances, taints, the aggregares, fetters, and fermentations. This reality of life can be changed for the better by us and only us. The agent of change is within our own personal control. He told us the exact method of change in The Noble Eight Fold Path, The Middle Way. There is no other solution, no special indulgences we can buy, no get out of jail free cards to be won; no other magical means of escape, especially not constructing and debating what and why we don't like what we read in The Pali Canon.:rules:

So...."Suck it up!" Just do it! Left foot, right foot1 The journey begins with but a single step. One step at a time. Simply begin by implementing just one beneficial thing in our lives today, which isn't in accordance with Buddhas instructions in The Noble Eight Fold Path. Don't stare up the steps. Step up the stairs. Go for it! :soap:
What Makes an Elder? :
A head of gray hairs doesn't mean one's an elder. Advanced in years, one's called an old fool.
But one in whom there is truth, restraint, rectitude, gentleness,self-control, he's called an elder, his impurities disgorged, enlightened.
-Dhammpada, 19, translated by Thanissaro Bhikkhu.
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Re: can i achieve nirvana when i don't believe in Reincarnation

Post by Spiny O'Norman »

Lazy_eye wrote:
Spiny O'Norman wrote:
Lazy_eye wrote:If you haven't seen it already, you may also be interested in Leigh Brasington's critique of the "three lives" model, which he sees as suffering from fatal logical problems.
It seems to be an example of "I don't like what the suttas say, so I'll rewrite the offending sections and make it fit an interpretation I like".

Spiny
Hi Spiny,

What about the logical problems he raises in his critique? Can they be resolved?
Frankly I don't think Brasington really understands the 3-lives model.

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

Post by Spiny O'Norman »

daverupa wrote:
Spiny O'Norman wrote:The 3-lives model is at least consistent with the way the nidanas are described in the suttas.
No, it runs into immediate contradiction, as Nanavira has also pointed out. But of course, this is simply one of those intractable differences.
So what's this "immediate contradiction"?

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

Post by Lazy_eye »

Spiny O'Norman wrote:
Lazy_eye wrote: Hi Spiny,

What about the logical problems he raises in his critique? Can they be resolved?
Frankly I don't think Brasington really understands the 3-lives model.
Hmm, you haven't really answered my question. Not that you're obliged to, of course.
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Re: can i achieve nirvana when i don't believe in Reincarnation

Post by daverupa »

Spiny O'Norman wrote:So what's this "immediate contradiction"?
This is thoroughly addressed elsewhere, and it won't do to clutter this thread.
  • "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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