No reason to practice Buddhism without rebirth

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pelican
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No reason to practice Buddhism without rebirth

Post by pelican »

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
SarathW
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Re: No reason to practice Buddhism without rebirth

Post by SarathW »

It is a good point.
However, you attain Nibbana while you are living. Not after death.
So Nibbana is something you experience in this life itself.
I think it pays to attain Nibbana, irrespective of re-birth in whatever form.
I practice now because I want to be happy now not after my death.
:D
“As the lamp consumes oil, the path realises Nibbana”
sunnat
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Post by sunnat »

There is no need to believe in rebirth in order to experience benefits of practicing meditation. An ordinary person will gain much relief from ordinary misery and by keeping the silas and concentrating and purifying the mind. There is no need to obsess about nibbana or jhanas. All these things come in time, not by thinking about them but by walking the path.
Inedible
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Re: No reason to practice Buddhism without rebirth

Post by Inedible »

You are right. If you don't think it is possible you will keep going in some way after death, and a sort of Nibbana will come either way it doesn't matter much. And none of us here is likely to have memories of having died before. But something brought you here and you want to be convinced to keep going. A good reason. If you can't do it for yourself, do it for someone else. When you practice Dhamma other people in your life also experience good results.
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cappuccino
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Re: No reason to practice Buddhism without rebirth

Post by cappuccino »

those without right view cannot benefit from this teaching


you can't even begin to teach such a person


right view being karma & rebirth
pelican
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Re: No reason to practice Buddhism without rebirth

Post by pelican »

Thank you for your replies. If I am actually right, then I don't see the point in Buddhism. It seems to me that we can restate the first noble truth as "There is suffering, but it will inevitably end by itself sooner rather than later" and I think under that premise, the whole of Buddhism becomes kind of irrelevant.
cappuccino wrote: Thu Oct 08, 2020 11:47 am those without right view cannot benefit from this teaching


you can't even begin to teach such a person


right view being karma & rebirth
You are right, as far as I can tell. But then the question is, how do people get "right view"? Just have faith?
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robertk
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Re: No reason to practice Buddhism without rebirth

Post by robertk »

pelican wrote: Thu Oct 08, 2020 12:32 pm

You are right, as far as I can tell. But then the question is, how do people get "right view"? Just have faith?
The causes for wisdom:
viewtopic.php?t=15952
Inedible
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Re: No reason to practice Buddhism without rebirth

Post by Inedible »

Practice is an acquired taste. Your reasons for doing it will change over time. It is rare for someone to start out with the best of motives in place. Usually it is because there is discomfort and a desire to be free from it.
santa100
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Re: No reason to practice Buddhism without rebirth

Post by santa100 »

pelican wrote: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.
Obviously folks are entitled to their own opinion, but it's 100% clear that the Buddha explicitly taught physical literal rebirth in His many suttas.
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Sabbe_Dhamma_Anatta
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Re: No reason to practice Buddhism without rebirth

Post by Sabbe_Dhamma_Anatta »

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.
...

Two scales of rebirth:
  • Lifetime to life time: macro-cosmic
  • Moment to moment: microscopic
And, Each one in and of itself already is a compelling enough reason to practice Buddhism.









And, Buddhism is way much more about life than death:
  • Dhammapada
    Those who are mindful do not die; those who are not mindful are as if already dead.
:heart:
.


🅢🅐🅑🅑🅔 🅓🅗🅐🅜🅜🅐 🅐🅝🅐🅣🅣🅐

Self ...
  • "an entirely and perfectly foolish idea" :D ~ MN22
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Lucas Oliveira
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Re: No reason to practice Buddhism without rebirth

Post by Lucas Oliveira »

"Now, Kalamas, one who is a disciple of the noble ones — his mind thus free from hostility, free from ill will, undefiled, & pure — acquires four assurances in the here-&-now:

"'If there is a world after death, if there is the fruit of actions rightly & wrongly done, then this is the basis by which, with the break-up of the body, after death, I will reappear in a good destination, the heavenly world.' This is the first assurance he acquires.

"'But if there is no world after death, if there is no fruit of actions rightly & wrongly done, then here in the present life I look after myself with ease — free from hostility, free from ill will, free from trouble.' This is the second assurance he acquires.

"'If evil is done through acting, still I have willed no evil for anyone. Having done no evil action, from where will suffering touch me?' This is the third assurance he acquires.

"'But if no evil is done through acting, then I can assume myself pure in both respects.' This is the fourth assurance he acquires.

"One who is a disciple of the noble ones — his mind thus free from hostility, free from ill will, undefiled, & pure — acquires these four assurances in the here-&-now."

https://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitak ... .than.html
NDERF is the largest NDE site in the world, with over 4,000 experiences in more than 23 languages!
https://www.nderf.org/

Review of "Evidence of the Afterlife"
http://neardth.com/evidence-of-the-afterlife.php

The Nine Lines of Evidence
http://www.newdualism.org/nde-papers/Lo ... 2--1-2.pdf

Exceptional Experiences
https://www.nderf.org/Archives/exceptional.html
Ghosts of the Mountain - Mae Chee Kaew
viewtopic.php?p=434030

:namaste:
I participate in this forum using Google Translator. http://translate.google.com.br

http://www.acessoaoinsight.net/
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confusedlayman
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Re: No reason to practice Buddhism without rebirth

Post by confusedlayman »

rebirth is there for that u need to have faith first, pracitice and know for urself face to face
I may be slow learner but im at least learning...
pelican
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Re: No reason to practice Buddhism without rebirth

Post by pelican »

@Lucas Oliveira

I have done my own research about NDEs and OBEs a few weeks ago (I collected ~80 scientific papers about these and related topics and also looked at more anecdotal evidence that can be found online) and I also know about the sites you linked. After reviewing the scientific research, I think the conclusion is that there is no evidence for NDEs or OBEs being more than a hallucination. Some cases seem very convincing when you hear about them (e.g. Pam Reynolds), but they become much less convincing once you find out more about them.
Of course, that doesn't mean that there definitely is no afterlife. It's just that on a rational basis, we have no reason to believe in it.
santa100 wrote: Thu Oct 08, 2020 2:41 pm Obviously folks are entitled to their own opinion, but it's 100% clear that the Buddha explicitly taught physical literal rebirth in His many suttas.
That's right, as far as I can tell, although it seems to cause some controversy. However, I personally just don't believe in literal rebirth. (And I'm not really interested in starting a new discussion about the topic, I see there is already a very long discussion about it in this forum.)

With microcosmic rebirth I see the same problem as with dukkha in general: it's going to solve itself at some point anyway (death), so there is no compelling reason to put in any effort, especially given that our time is limited.

Maybe it's just not for me, thanks everyone though.
The2nd
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Re: No reason to practice Buddhism without rebirth

Post by The2nd »

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
The fact of the situation is that one doesnt know if there is a future life or not, and that one is presently subject to suffering.

The reason a person would think that death is the end of suffering, is not because they know that it is, but because its a view which immediately pleases them, and pleasure is the only way they know how to alleviate the suffering which they remain subjected to.

And despite thinking that death would completely free them from suffering, they do not kill themselves, because essentially ,they are not sure if that is true.

Being subjected to suffering, means that you do not know the way out, and if the way out is death, then nobody who is alive KNOWS the way out. Which makes that view, a type of wishful thinking that helps one deal with the ones anxieties.(it will all work out in the end etc)

Rebirth is a possibility, and you are subjected to suffering. The Buddha says he teaches freedom from that. So if there is only this one life then it doesnt matter, but if it isn't, then making an effort in Dhamma practice is quite important.
pelican
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Re: No reason to practice Buddhism without rebirth

Post by pelican »

The2nd wrote: Fri Oct 09, 2020 9:20 am Rebirth is a possibility, and you are subjected to suffering. The Buddha says he teaches freedom from that. So if there is only this one life then it doesnt matter, but if it isn't, then making an effort in Dhamma practice is quite important.
Even if we just suspend judgement and just accept that we don't know whether or not literal rebirth is real, I think the problem persists.
Because if I were to prepare for all things that are mere possibilities, I would have to prepare for all other possible conceptions of an afterlife as well and that's obviously not an option.

I found this article by Bikkhu Bodhi: https://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/aut ... ay_06.html
It says:
However, to downplay the doctrine of rebirth and explain the entire import of the Dhamma as the amelioration of mental suffering through enhanced self-awareness is to deprive the Dhamma of those wider perspectives from which it derives its full breadth and profundity. By doing so one seriously risks reducing it in the end to little more than a sophisticated ancient system of humanistic psychotherapy.
Which I basically agree with.

It's kinda weird to come into a buddhist forum and basically argue against the relevance of buddhism. I hope I'm not stepping on anyones toes too much.
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