Rebirth and morality.

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Re: Rebirth and morality.

Postby Indrajala » Wed Jun 02, 2010 3:57 pm

m0rl0ck wrote:Consciousness is not your ego mind. Your ego mind is a fiction that arises on the meeting of consciousness and name and form.


Your comments reveal your gross misunderstandings of Buddhism. You should go back and reread the basics: sutras followed by the key early commentaries by authors like Asanga, Nagarjuna and Vasubandhu.

I have no idea where you get this idea about "ego mind". Just using the word "ego" and "mind" together as a compound shows you're interpreting these things through the distorted lens of western thought.

Show me a scripture or even a sastra where such ideas of an "ego mind" being a "fiction that arises on the meeting of consciousness and name and form".

You're just making this stuff up and it isn't even of quality. Again, you strike me as knowing very little and having many misunderstandings. You come on this forum and tell people they're too proud of their intelligence to get much out of Buddhism. You're just spitting out nonsense and most people here see right through you.

Imo discussions like this are just a symptom of the egos grasping after permanence.


Okay, so stop participating if you're so disappointed.
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Re: Rebirth and morality.

Postby kirtu » Wed Jun 02, 2010 4:03 pm

Huseng wrote: You can have people saying, "I'm a Buddhist, but I don't believe in rebirth."


It's a curious development. In fact sometimes if you admit belief in rebirth you are accused of mimicking traditional Asian belief.

It's actually a complex topic. There is nothing that can convince materialists at all except their own personal experiences.

Rebirth is a belief. Post-mortem oblivion is a fact.


This is would take exception with (not yet having read the rest of your posting yet) - esp. the second sentence. Some people seem to just be born knowing that rebirth (or at least life after death) is a fact. Trying on the materialist claim is just counter-factual to their deep-rooted understanding making as little sense as saying up is down.

Post-mortem oblivion is hardly a fact. What is factual is that no one around as seen a dead body reanimated (for example, several friends, relatives and pets died and their bodies were not reanimated). Whether reanimation is possible as mentioned in several religious traditions - that is not determined as fact. But that is not the same as post-mortem oblivion and asserting such is quite a leap of atheistic faith.

As an example, I was quite upset when my first cat died six years ago. At the vet's, after medical procedure to save his life were terminated I prayed and meditated that he would go to the heart of Amitabha and be reborn in the Pure Lands or go to a rebirth where he would meet the Dharma. I massaged the top of his head a little and visualized him going to Amitabha. And I visualized Amitabha radiating light and drawing him to his heart. I did not do phowa where I consciously united my mind with my cat's mind. Nonetheless I was surprised when in a short while clear and red fluid came from my cat's nose - this is actually one of the signs of accomplishment of phowa in humans. Later at home over the next several days there was an extraordinary display of birds coming to our window (a fifth story apartment which is not a natural place for birds to land) - my cat used to vocalize a twittering at birds he saw outside on the next building about 30 ft away - in fact bird and animal displays are common during funerals in my family. Then I had a dream where I saw my cat in a very good and happy place although not clearly a Pure Land and during that time there was an extraordinary full moon display that broke out very clearly over clouds and shone brilliantly.
And there was also a light rain a couple of days after he died which is a sign of blessing.

So all of these can of course be dismissed as psychological projections but these are actually potent signs esp. taken together. They aren't definite proof of course but for me from childhood it was just not reasonable to assert oblivion after death. None of this would change the minds of a materialist but signs do occur and usually people miss them.

So then, why do they not occur for others? Or do they? Afterall, in the time period that these signs occurred at least 250,000 people died (basically a 4 day period). Signs arise in the perception of the perceiver, they may or may not manifest and they could in fact take time. While indications, they aren't scientific proof. All of this is actually inward experience.

OTOH the materialists can't prove that their position is correct. All they can prove is that a dead body cannot produce thought and physical interaction with the living. They can prove brain death and that's about it. Since they believe that the mind is strictly a function of the brain then they assume that post-mortem oblivion is a fact.

Kirt
Last edited by kirtu on Thu Jun 03, 2010 3:44 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Rebirth and morality.

Postby m0rl0ck » Wed Jun 02, 2010 4:14 pm

Huseng wrote:Okay, so stop participating if you're so disappointed.



I didnt say i was dissapointed. I said they were fun, even if a few egos do occaisionally get bruised :)
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Re: Rebirth and morality.

Postby Indrajala » Wed Jun 02, 2010 4:15 pm

kirtu wrote:OTOH the materialists can prove that their position is correct. All they can prove is that a dead body cannot produce thought and physical interaction with the living. They can prove brain death and that's about it. Since they believe that the mind is strictly a function of the brain then they assume that post-mortem oblivion is a fact.

Kirt



Hi Kirt.

Regardless of the lack of proof for post-mortem oblivion (which when you think about it is not possible because "becoming nothing" is not possible because nothing corresponds to no thing), the idea that consciousness is purely a phenomena produced in the brain and thus terminates at brain death is what is taught in schools and is associated with "secular, rational and intelligent society". In other words, it is the default view we're indoctrinated with. Even if you're religious, you'll still retain that other "more realistic" view and your religious views will just be "beliefs". They won't be what you feel is actually really real.

On other hand in Hindu or Buddhist cultures, rebirth is axiomatic. You don't need to argue for it. I think for most such persons telling them that at death you become nothing would be difficult for them to initially imagine. Rebirth is just part of life. It isn't a mystery or something to be discussed in detail. It is the default viewpoint.

On the other hand, religious views can be just as amoral as materialism.

For example some people think that no matter what they do in life Jesus will pluck them out of suffering and place them into an eternal country club. Being good or bad is irrelevant because salvation is guaranteed thanks to having the right membership.
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Re: Rebirth and morality.

Postby kirtu » Wed Jun 02, 2010 4:16 pm

Huseng wrote:
m0rl0ck wrote:Consciousness is not your ego mind. Your ego mind is a fiction that arises on the meeting of consciousness and name and form.


I have no idea where you get this idea about "ego mind". Just using the word "ego" and "mind" together as a compound shows you're interpreting these things through the distorted lens of western thought.


It's a common Zen presentation and has been used across traditions (at least by some Zen and some Tibetan Buddhist teachers). The idea is that self-created and spontaneously arising ego constructs are the dominate mental reality and implies that people do not naturally perceive bare unadorned awareness. Unfortunately this also suggests a primarily psychological interpretation of Buddhism to some people.

Kirt
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“All beings are Buddhas, but obscured by incidental stains. When those have been removed, there is Buddhahood.”
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Re: Rebirth and morality.

Postby Astus » Wed Jun 02, 2010 4:17 pm

m0rl0ck,

Buddhism makes no sense without rebirth as far as its soteriology goes. Without samsara to be free from there is no point in working on liberation. Actually, if there is only this body without a mind bound to be born again and again enlightenment is a religious superstition and nothing more, delusion of the mentally unstable. If there were no rebirth I'd vote for some Nietzschean or Sartrean philosophy for Buddhism - and every other religion - then is just for those without a firm grasp on reality.

It is true that in Buddhism mind is not without a body in this realm (in the formless realm it is). It is like the relationship between meaning and words. The meaning can be expressed with different words, different metaphors, or in different languages, or in a music, a painting, a statue. Is meaning then the same as the word? No. Is it separate? No. A meaning to be communicated depends on a form. So does the mind depend on the body. However, without mind there is no living being, just as there is no word without a meaning (that's the difference between a group of letters and a word).

At the time of the Buddha there were other teachers who had different positions on rebirth:

Ajita Kesakambali said that with death everything is over, no rebirth at all. Sanjaya Belatthaputta took the position of the agnostic. And Purana Kassapa simply denied the existence of morality and the consequences of one's deeds.

These are not the Buddha's teaching, who taught rebirth and the consequences of one's own deeds that affect one personally. It was because of Shakyamuni's training for many aeons that he attained buddhahood and not something that just happened.
"There is no such thing as the real mind. Ridding yourself of delusion: that's the real mind."
(Sheng-yen: Getting the Buddha Mind, p 73)

“Don’t rashly seek the true Buddha;
True Buddha can’t be found.
Does marvelous nature and spirit
Need tempering or refinement?
Mind is this mind carefree;
This face, the face at birth."

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Re: Rebirth and morality.

Postby Indrajala » Wed Jun 02, 2010 4:19 pm

kirtu wrote:It's a common Zen presentation and has been used across traditions (at least by some Zen and some Tibetan Buddhist teachers). The idea is that self-created and spontaneously arising ego constructs are the dominate mental reality and implies that people do not naturally perceive bare unadorned awareness. Unfortunately this also suggests a primarily psychological interpretation of Buddhism to some people.

Kirt


Self-created and spontaneously arising ego? This is coming from a Buddhist teacher? Where? Who?

Another problem is with the use of the word "ego". What does it correspond to in Sanskrit or even Chinese?

The notion of "ego" is intrinsically tied to western psychology which has nothing to do with Buddhist thought.

This is like in the old days of Chinese Buddhism when they couldn't grasp Indian Buddhist ideas, so they had to utilize Daoist terminology. Now in the west we utilize western psychology when attempting to understand Buddhism.
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Re: Rebirth and morality.

Postby m0rl0ck » Wed Jun 02, 2010 4:21 pm

kirtu wrote:It's actually a complex topic. There is nothing that can convince materialists at all except their own personal experiences.




And that is the heart of the whole matter. Do you beleive your experience or indulge in the comfort of faith? Practice is the tool we have been given to distinguish the truth. A truth based on experience.
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Re: Rebirth and morality.

Postby Indrajala » Wed Jun 02, 2010 4:23 pm

Astus wrote:m0rl0ck,

Buddhism makes no sense without rebirth as far as its soteriology goes. Without samsara to be free from there is no point in working on liberation. Actually, if there is only this body without a mind bound to be born again and again enlightenment is a religious superstition and nothing more, delusion of the mentally unstable. If there were no rebirth I'd vote for some Nietzschean or Sartrean philosophy for Buddhism - and every other religion - then is just for those without a firm grasp on reality.

It is true that in Buddhism mind is not without a body in this realm (in the formless realm it is). It is like the relationship between meaning and words. The meaning can be expressed with different words, different metaphors, or in different languages, or in a music, a painting, a statue. Is meaning then the same as the word? No. Is it separate? No. A meaning to be communicated depends on a form. So does the mind depend on the body. However, without mind there is no living being, just as there is no word without a meaning (that's the difference between a group of letters and a word).

At the time of the Buddha there were other teachers who had different positions on rebirth:

Ajita Kesakambali said that with death everything is over, no rebirth at all. Sanjaya Belatthaputta took the position of the agnostic. And Purana Kassapa simply denied the existence of morality and the consequences of one's deeds.

These are not the Buddha's teaching, who taught rebirth and the consequences of one's own deeds that affect one personally. It was because of Shakyamuni's training for many aeons that he attained buddhahood and not something that just happened.



Sadhu! Sadhu! What Noble Upāsaka Astus has said is indeed to be praised by the wise! :smile:
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Re: Rebirth and morality.

Postby muni » Wed Jun 02, 2010 4:26 pm

Huseng wrote:
muni wrote:I need no label of Buddhist. _/\_


You also have the liberty of responding with a rational and meaningful reply rather than fuzzy ambiguous thoughts.


Yes. We all have our interpretetions. The answer can be badly explained or the answer is not like our expectations. The mistake can only be MINE.

I think it is meaningful to say to remain aware by body speech and mind (afflictions) and dual approaches regarding our morality and rebirth in buddhism.

Padmasambava explained the trap of labels. Also very important regarding rebirth.
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Re: Rebirth and morality.

Postby m0rl0ck » Wed Jun 02, 2010 4:29 pm

Huseng wrote:
kirtu wrote:It's a common Zen presentation and has been used across traditions (at least by some Zen and some Tibetan Buddhist teachers). The idea is that self-created and spontaneously arising ego constructs are the dominate mental reality and implies that people do not naturally perceive bare unadorned awareness. Unfortunately this also suggests a primarily psychological interpretation of Buddhism to some people.

Kirt


Self-created and spontaneously arising ego? This is coming from a Buddhist teacher? Where? Who?

Another problem is with the use of the word "ego". What does it correspond to in Sanskrit or even Chinese?

The notion of "ego" is intrinsically tied to western psychology which has nothing to do with Buddhist thought.

This is like in the old days of Chinese Buddhism when they couldn't grasp Indian Buddhist ideas, so they had to utilize Daoist terminology. Now in the west we utilize western psychology when attempting to understand Buddhism.


Its a common idea historically in many traditions, the small self vs. the larger view.
One of the often used metaphors is comparing the small view to a dream etc "Ego" is the current label that has traction in this culture.
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Re: Rebirth and morality.

Postby Indrajala » Wed Jun 02, 2010 4:30 pm

muni wrote:
Padmasambava explained the trap of labels. Also very important regarding rebirth.


If you're going to claim Padmasambava said such things provide quotes.

Rebirth is very much literal and real. Whether you want to actively think of it as illusory or not is up to you, but until you've eliminated the causes for it, it will occur.
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Re: Rebirth and morality.

Postby Indrajala » Wed Jun 02, 2010 4:31 pm

m0rl0ck wrote:
Its a common idea historically in many traditions, the small self vs. the larger view.
One of the often used metaphors is comparing the small view to a dream etc


Rather than making vague statements provide some quotes from actual source texts.
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Re: Rebirth and morality.

Postby kirtu » Wed Jun 02, 2010 4:31 pm

Huseng wrote:Hi Kirt.


Hi Huseng!

... the idea that consciousness is purely a phenomena produced in the brain and thus terminates at brain death is what is taught in schools and is associated with "secular, rational and intelligent society".


Yes ...

In other words, it is the default view we're indoctrinated with. Even if you're religious, you'll still retain that other "more realistic" view and your religious views will just be "beliefs". They won't be what you feel is actually really real.


That's what I'm telling you. You conclusion is wrong on this point. Some people do definitely know that the materialist view is wrong, they don't feel that the materialist view is actually really real (in fact they feel that the materialist view is actually really false). Now what the materialist counter with is that some of these "irrational", "ignorant" "kooky" or "insane" people do have different feelings on what happens after death - the mind unites with Shiva or another eternalist deity, the mind/soul goes to heaven or the presence of an eternalist deity, the mind (or even soul) is reborn, the mind/spirit entity is still around and can interact with us in some ways [these about outline everyone's views] and there is no common ground between different traditions (except usually there is survival of the mind/soul in some way after separation from the body).

These views are also found in urban and Western societies world-wide.

On the other hand, religious views can be just as amoral as materialism.


Unfortunately true.

For example some people think that no matter what they do in life Jesus will pluck them out of suffering and place them into an eternal country club. Being good or bad is irrelevant because salvation is guaranteed thanks to having the right membership.


Basically yes (with some extreme interpretations of Christianity this is true in detail). They have not understood that their holy being will be unhappy about the situation and that forgiveness trumps their selfish actions. That's true but even in Christianity a careful reading of James and Paul shows that this is not the way to go. In fact if you are running around raising hell, etc. then according to James one can argue that you haven't actually been saved - so people need to check that out.

Kirt
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Re: Rebirth and morality.

Postby m0rl0ck » Wed Jun 02, 2010 4:34 pm

Huseng wrote:
Rather than making vague statements provide some quotes from actual source texts.


No, find them yourself :rolling:
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Re: Rebirth and morality.

Postby Indrajala » Wed Jun 02, 2010 4:42 pm

kirtu wrote:That's what I'm telling you. You conclusion is wrong on this point. Some people do definitely know that the materialist view is wrong, they don't feel that the materialist view is actually really real (in fact they feel that the materialist view is actually really false).


Fair enough. I'll accept that some people are naturally inclined towards a rebirth rather than materialistic visions of reality. I know I took rebirth as plain truth. It wasn't until I took a course in religious studies that I was actually challenged to prove rebirth which was something I always just took for granted. It actually prompted me to do a lot of research and reading -- everything from Dharmakirti's refutation of materialism to the research of Ian Stevenson and Jim Tucker.

I was a bit of a strange child though. I was fascinated with death from a young age (not killing or anything like that, but just with burning curiosity of that reality beyond -- I used to have intense dreams of approaching death and feeling quite happy and eager to go through that portal of light). I also browsed through my Mom's encyclopaedia of archaeology with a fixed fascination and feeling of familiarity looking at all those art pieces of old civilization. I don't think I ever felt the materialist view was either realistic or plausible.



That's true but even in Christianity a careful reading of James and Paul shows that this is not the way to go. In fact if you are running around raising hell, etc. then according to James one can argue that you haven't actually been saved - so people need to check that out.


That's an interesting idea -- you know you're off the hook from hell when you start behaving properly. If you behave right and proper then it is a sign you're saved.
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Re: Rebirth and morality.

Postby kirtu » Wed Jun 02, 2010 4:43 pm

m0rl0ck wrote:
kirtu wrote:It's actually a complex topic. There is nothing that can convince materialists at all except their own personal experiences.




And that is the heart of the whole matter. Do you beleive your experience or indulge in the comfort of faith?


That also is complex. The Sakya school of Tibetan Buddhism definitely says that true knowledge comes from scripture, holy teaching and also from one's experience. Of course experience (and also interpretation of scripture and teachings) can be interpreted too.

For a long time I ignored my intuition but it was almost always correct in hindsight so I finally began following my intuition. This led to experience being informed by the teachings (so for example my experiences around the death of my cat that I outlined could also have been interpreted in a kind of shamanic way [which would be done my my immediate family without thinking too much about it] and would then conclude that my cat's spirit or soul had been reborn nicely or had gone to heaven). The fact that my immediate family internally supports a kind of not discussed shamanic way of thinking of life and death even though it is interpreted in an overall Christian lens is probably significant.

Practice is the tool we have been given to distinguish the truth. A truth based on experience.


I agree but if we just rely on our experience then it will take us a long long time in most cases to make a determination on rebirth. Just relying on experience is not enough. It is enough however for a kind of mundane enlightenment in which we directly know that harming others isn't right, that anger and desire lead to more suffering for ourselves and others and many other positive qualities.

Kirt
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Re: Rebirth and morality.

Postby Astus » Wed Jun 02, 2010 4:50 pm

Huseng,

Communism was never the state form anywhere on this planet. Communism means a country without money, social classes and government, where people share everything with each other. It is mainly like heaven on earth, a utopia. Should not be confused with dictatorships using only the name.
"There is no such thing as the real mind. Ridding yourself of delusion: that's the real mind."
(Sheng-yen: Getting the Buddha Mind, p 73)

“Don’t rashly seek the true Buddha;
True Buddha can’t be found.
Does marvelous nature and spirit
Need tempering or refinement?
Mind is this mind carefree;
This face, the face at birth."

(Nanyue Mingzan: Enjoying the Way, tr. Jeff Shore; T51n2076, p461b24-26)
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Re: Rebirth and morality.

Postby kirtu » Wed Jun 02, 2010 4:50 pm

Huseng wrote: It wasn't until I took a course in religious studies that I was actually challenged to prove rebirth which was something I always just took for granted. It actually prompted me to do a lot of research and reading -- everything from Dharmakirti's refutation of materialism to the research of Ian Stevenson and Jim Tucker.


Yeah but that's still not real proof. It can all be dismissed. The only real proof is internal to the person and what they accept may not be acceptable to others.

I don't think I ever felt the materialist view was either realistic or plausible.


Exactly - there are lots of people like you but they have been conditioned to generally keep quiet.

That's true but even in Christianity a careful reading of James and Paul shows that this is not the way to go. In fact if you are running around raising hell, etc. then according to James one can argue that you haven't actually been saved - so people need to check that out.


That's an interesting idea -- you know you're off the hook from hell when you start behaving properly.


Yeah but with fundamentalists only if you have already accepted Jesus as savior. Saints from other faiths are still destined for hell (Catholics and the Eastern Orthodox as examples do generally hold that good people from other faiths will go to heaven).

If you behave right and proper then it is a sign you're saved.


That is actually what James says.

Kirt
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Re: Rebirth and morality.

Postby muni » Wed Jun 02, 2010 4:52 pm

Huseng wrote:
muni wrote:
Padmasambava explained the trap of labels. Also very important regarding rebirth.


If you're going to claim Padmasambava said such things provide quotes.

Rebirth is very much literal and real. Whether you want to actively think of it as illusory or not is up to you, but until you've eliminated the causes for it, it will occur.



There must be some karmic problem or at least one of language. Huseng, I don't reject rebirth at all. We can easier reflect about when we are not in the influence of our ideas about, or beyond concepts, that i meant.

We can use our fire for beneficial actions rather than to spit.

Padmasambava: "By being free from the multitude of dream habits, you are free from labeling names. By being free from that, you will be free from the label "Bardo", and free from that, you will be free from the label "birth and death."
By being free from these, you will have stopped the stream of samsaric rebirths.
All phenomena are names labeled by thoughts. These names are not real so it would better to be free from labeling.

I must say not to be sure this is on internet, but I will look. If not, I think you wrote ones about a Tibetan teacher.

Labels provide us from subtle clinging and dislikes and likes as well. Not good for morality.
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