No reason to practice Buddhism without rebirth

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zerotime
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Re: No reason to practice Buddhism without rebirth

Post by zerotime »

pelican wrote: Thu Oct 08, 2020 10:13 am The first noble truth says that there is dukkha, but what the truths also imply is that we really need to get rid of dukkha. Without rebirth, death does that job for us at some point. So it seems to me, that without rebirth, there is no compelling reason to practice Buddhism.
death existed before you were born and it has not impeded your birth.

Problem is not death but birth:
"From birth as a requisite condition, then aging & death, sorrow, lamentation, pain, distress, & despair come into play."

birth includes moment after moment. Not only the biographical birth or the birth for a new day at morning. In that problem there is a common root for what is becoming and birth.

Of course, If one look to the world and oneself without asking about their real nature then no further questions can arise. In such case, the distance with animals will become shorter. And we would talk about a less evolved human, some degeneration. However, all the people will ask themselves about this matter at some time and different degrees.
50 years is not that much, and we can use things like modern medicine and psychology to reduce suffering to a managable amount.
in fact not need to wait for such thing. Somebody can take opium or whatever until death. However, any person including those ignorant of Buddhism or any other ethical philosophy even they would know there is a deception in that behaviour. Something inherently wrong. Not need to believe in rebirth.

From that knowledge also the possibility of some existence only devoted to pursue pleasures becomes something wrong. With Dhamma one can learn this is wrong because this is impossible as a way to eradicate dukkha. Rebirth is only another component although there is no need to use that to see the point. The Buddha explained these reason many times with or without rebirth.
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Re: No reason to practice Buddhism without rebirth

Post by Inedible »

When I was in my teens it kept creeping me out that some day I was going to breathe out and stop. No breathing in to follow. Then I'd imagine what I wanted everyone to say at my funeral, but knew that they wouldn't. It all came down to knowing how alone I was going to be and without help. That was before I knew about imagining being reborn in the lower realms like hell, hungry ghosts, animals, demigods. I was disturbed enough already about the breathing thing. I knew I had to train my mind because it was the only thing I was sure was coming with me. When I started looking into religion it was because I thought maybe a tradition going way back would have some ideas about how to do this. They told me in school about how silly Buddha was to talk about reincarnation when everyone knows you just go to heaven, hell, or limbo and stay there. Like that wasn't equally silly. Time to see for myself. The Four Noble Truths felt like coming home for the first time in my life and I knew it then. I'm a Buddhist.
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zerotime
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Re: No reason to practice Buddhism without rebirth

Post by zerotime »

Inedible wrote: Wed Oct 28, 2020 3:03 pm Time to see for myself. The Four Noble Truths felt like coming home for the first time in my life and I knew it then. I'm a Buddhist.
very nice words. Dhamma is a like true home, no more absolute alone :namaste:
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Re: No reason to practice Buddhism without rebirth

Post by Padipa »

pelican wrote: Thu Oct 08, 2020 10:13 am Hi everyone,

I've recently read "What the Buddha taught" and I've been having a few doubts about the four noble truths, so I thought I'd just ask here to see if anyone can clarify.

I was thinking about the first noble truth and I think it kind of loses it's sting when you don't believe in literal rebirth.
If you believe in literal rebirth and you never attain nibbana, you're in for eternal suffering, a pretty good argument to start practicing to get out of that.
But if you do not believe in literal rebirth and you just believe that death is the end, I'm just looking at maybe 50 more years of suffering and afterwards it doesn't matter whether or not I attained nibbana or not.
50 years is not that much, and we can use things like modern medicine and psychology to reduce suffering to a managable amount.

The first noble truth says that there is dukkha, but what the truths also imply is that we really need to get rid of dukkha. Without rebirth, death does that job for us at some point. So it seems to me, that without rebirth, there is no compelling reason to practice Buddhism.

I'm interested to hear some opinions of people who know more about Buddhism than me.

thank you,
pelican
So there is theoretical & practical knowledge. For example, a mother can repeatedly warn her child, "Don't touch the stove while I'm cooking--you can get burned." The child can accept & obey the mother's words, never touch a hot stove & never get burned. On the other hand, a child may not believe their mother (or may simply wish to explore boundaries/limitations) & can touch the hot stove & get badly burned.

In both cases, the children have acquired knowledge which helps avoid suffering. However, the 1st child has theoretical knowledge, the 2nd one has experiential knowledge. Which of the 2 forms of knowledge do you think is deeper? In Buddhism, the word panna (sorry no diacritical's on my keypad) is not theoretical knowledge; rather, it is experiential (profound) knowledge. In Buddhism, experiential knowledge is far more important. In fact, Buddhists go as far as to say theoretical knowledge's only function is to culminate in Panna (experiential knowledge).

When one's accumulated experiences culminate in deep awakening to one's accountability in this universe, one sees. A "doubting Thomas'" need only continue doubting until karma awakens them to the reality of a dhamma infused universe--one of mutual interdependence--The Cosmic Dance.

You are on the right path--your time will come if you guide your mind with mindfulness.
Last edited by Padipa on Fri Oct 30, 2020 2:04 am, edited 4 times in total.
whynotme
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Re: No reason to practice Buddhism without rebirth

Post by whynotme »

Panna is direct knowledge, instantly knowing without time

Panna is a feature of vinnana (consciousness). Whatever conscious knows, panna is there to know.

In order for conscious to know something, it must know the properties of appearance. For example, conscious knows red color as red, it directly knows that. And by knowing red is red, that is panna. Panna knows the properties of appearance, in this case, the properties of red as red. That why panna is instantly, bc it is the feature of vinnana.

Panna knows colors as colors, knows sound as sound, knows sound is not color, knows pain as suffering... Panna directly knows the properties of forms that vinnana experience.

Because panna is always there, it can not be accumulate. Panna is wherever vinnana is.

Whenever conscious knows something, it already knows the properties of appearance in visual or sound or smell.. but then sanna creates an alternate story. This sanna override the true knowledge of panna, but panna is always there with vinnana
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Re: No reason to practice Buddhism without rebirth

Post by coconut »

pelican wrote: Thu Oct 08, 2020 10:13 am

I was thinking about the first noble truth and I think it kind of loses it's sting when you don't believe in literal rebirth.

Yes, believing in Rebirth is mundane right view which is required for developing supermundane right view.

Without rebirth, Buddhism has to compete with suicide as a viable solution. In other words, one can just enjoy sensual pleasures, or even jhanas, and then just kill themselves when they can no longer attain sensual plasures or jhanas.
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Re: No reason to practice Buddhism without rebirth

Post by SteRo »

pelican wrote: Thu Oct 08, 2020 10:13 am So it seems to me, that without rebirth, there is no compelling reason to practice Buddhism.
Since this forum is a traditional buddhist forum and rebirth is an integral aspect of traditional buddhism you actually should discuss this question with so called "secular" buddhists who reject rebirth but obviously have good reasons to practice buddhism nevertheless.
Exhaling अ and inhaling धीः amounts to བྷྲཱུཾ་བི་ཤྭ་བི་ཤུད་དྷེ It's definitely not science but science may provide guidelines nevertheless.
Jgood
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Re: No reason to practice Buddhism without rebirth

Post by Jgood »

There is a nice quote by Ajahn Chah I saw posted once. Someone asked him "Is there a life after death? If so, can you show it to me?" He responded "Is there a tomorrow? If so, can you show it to me?"

And I would give you this question to meditate on: Is there annihilation after death? If so, can you show it to me?
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StrivingforMonkhood
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Re: No reason to practice Buddhism without rebirth

Post by StrivingforMonkhood »

DooDoot wrote: Sun Oct 25, 2020 11:19 am
The2nd wrote: Fri Oct 09, 2020 9:20 ambut if it isn't, then making an effort in Dhamma practice is quite important.
No. It appears the opposite. It appears it is those that believe in future lives that don't make a strong effort. For example, Ajahn Brahm is always telling his audience there are so many lives in the future to attain the path therefore don't worry so much if you don't progress. It was Bhikkhu Bodhi saying it is OK for Buddhists to kill Nazis to save Jews because those Buddhists can practise non-killing in future lives.
You have to be careful when listening to Ajahn Brahm. His style of teaching is very, very different than other Buddhist teachers. He can be quite effective in making his points; but, at times, he can confuse listeners who are not well-versed in Buddhism. I will give you an example: Ajahn Brahm, several years ago, was called upon by a Buddhist woman to give the funeral for her biker son who died in motorcycle accident. Her son was no Buddhist, but she wanted a religious person to do his funeral. During the event, he had to meet the biker gang that the dead man had belonged to. They all treated the monk with great respect and kindness, to his great surprise. Brahm refers to them as all being "very nice people." The problem here, is that one could take this to mean that these hardcore bikers were decent people. That lifestyle is not at all conducive to Dharma-based living. The point Brahm was trying to make is this: people, in general, all have the potential to be kind and loving, even people who appear hard, hateful and totally immoral. I must say, though, to a beginner Buddhist, Ajahn Brahm was not as clear here as he could have been. But, I am not here to judge. I just want people to make sure they are understanding their teachers correctly.
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StrivingforMonkhood
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Re: No reason to practice Buddhism without rebirth

Post by StrivingforMonkhood »

Buddhism is not nihilstic. Also, we don't need to consider rebirth, either.

If all human beings were to see clearly (nibbana), they would see the most profound value in living life, as they would have no more suffering -- only perfect peace. Because we are all Buddha at our core, we have potential for this lasting perfect peace. Because of samsara and ignorance, we fail to see ultimate reality over and over and over again. But, eventually, we shall all come to enlightenment, even if it is countless lifetimes away.

Peace and enlightenment.
May we all fulfill our deepest wish for happiness

We are already Buddha
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Re: No reason to practice Buddhism without rebirth

Post by confusedlayman »

StrivingforMonkhood wrote: Mon Nov 02, 2020 12:45 am Buddhism is not nihilstic. Also, we don't need to consider rebirth, either.

If all human beings were to see clearly (nibbana), they would see the most profound value in living life, as they would have no more suffering -- only perfect peace. Because we are all Buddha at our core, we have potential for this lasting perfect peace. Because of samsara and ignorance, we fail to see ultimate reality over and over and over again. But, eventually, we shall all come to enlightenment, even if it is countless lifetimes away.

Peace and enlightenment.
There is no peace in existance
I may be slow learner but im at least learning...
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rightviewftw
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Re: No reason to practice Buddhism without rebirth

Post by rightviewftw »

If there are no results of actions to be experienced after death then one has no framework by which one can explain what mind is and why thete are inequalities of outcome.
'Bhikkhus, possessing three qualities, a bhikkhu is practicing the unmistaken way and has laid the groundwork for the destruction of the taints. What three? Here, a bhikkhu guards the doors of the sense faculties, observes moderation in eating, and is intent on wakefulness. He should develop perception of unattractiveness so as to abandon lust... good will so as to abandon ill will... mindfulness of in-&-out breathing so as to cut off distractive thinking... the perception of inconstancy so as to uproot the conceit, 'I am.
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StrivingforMonkhood
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Re: No reason to practice Buddhism without rebirth

Post by StrivingforMonkhood »

confusedlayman wrote: Tue Nov 03, 2020 9:57 amThere is no peace in existance
Yes, dear friend, samsara is no longer seen as samsara when our minds are purified and we see emptiness directly. We are permanently at peace in nibbana. There is no ego, no self, and no clinging. Pure consciousness only.

:anjali:
May we all fulfill our deepest wish for happiness

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Mr. Seek
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Re: No reason to practice Buddhism without rebirth

Post by Mr. Seek »

Suffering is not just at death or in the afterlife. It's in every breath, meal, and step we take--right here, right now. Worrying about anything, particularly about the afterlife, is itself suffering, so why not put that aside and just practice for the here-and-now.

That's my take on it. I believe in transmigration as described in the five nikayas, but I'm not fooling myself--that's merely belief on my part, and I would not cling to a belief. Even if I were to one day "remember my past lives", I'd still be reluctant to claim any such view, because you never know how and to what extent the aggregates are fooling you. If there is rebirth, so be it. If there is no rebirth, so be it. Either way, the fruits of the contemplative life are numerous, and not just in the afterlife--see DN 2.
Snp 5.11—"Having nothing, free of clinging: That is the island, there is no other."
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simonbl
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Re: No reason to practice Buddhism without rebirth

Post by simonbl »

Worth reading Thanissaro on this topic:

The Truth of Rebirth
And Why it Matters for Buddhist Practice

by Thanissaro Bhikkhu

https://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/aut ... birth.html

"The Buddha frequently referred to two extremes of wrong view that blocked progress on the path: eternalism and annihilationism. "Annihilationism" is the term he used to describe those who denied rebirth."

In several of his talks, Thanissaro puts forward the point that secular Buddhism is essentially "annihilationism".

From the secular Buddhist angle:

Here's a Youtube link to "Doug's Secular Dharma" on the topic "Buddhist Rebirth, Some Reflections":

https://youtu.be/aBZNU-Vigz0

Doug says he does not believe in rebirth.

I hope these different viewpoints help further elucidate our discussion on this topic - and develop your thinking :candle:

All the best,
Simon
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