Are Karma and Rebirth Real?

No holds barred discussion on the Buddhadharma. Argue about rebirth, karma, commentarial interpretations etc. Be nice to each other.

Re: Reincarnation, Zen, etc.

Postby Beatzen » Mon Jan 02, 2012 4:58 pm

Namdrol wrote:
Beatzen wrote:If you do not accept rebirth, this simply represents a defect in your present understanding of Buddhadharma.


I don't think of myself as defective. But feel free to do so yourself. I'm simply open about the fact that I haven't had an insight into it's reality while in meditation, which is the way to investigate it, is it not? From one buddhist practitioner to another, I wasn't expecting to be judged like that. I think it is better if we support eachother towards realization than characterize eachother as defective.

This has nothing to do with my question.
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Re: Reincarnation, Zen, etc.

Postby Sönam » Mon Jan 02, 2012 5:02 pm

Beatzen wrote:As I alluded to earlier, one cannot base faith in an idea on scripture. Scripture that was not penned but 3 to 500 years after Buddha's death.

I said, if I have a meditative insight into the reality of rebirth, I will gladly change my position. I will not argue this. Please don't stray from the topic, which was generally "how is Dzogchen/Mahamudra different from Zazen Samadhi"


So if you cannot base your faith on Buddhists scriptures, if you think re-incarnation is not a valid concept ... on what is based your behavior ? are you somehow related to Buddhism?

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By understanding that any and all mental activity is meditation, you are freed from arbitrary divisions between formal sessions and postmeditation activity.
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Re: Reincarnation, Zen, etc.

Postby Sönam » Mon Jan 02, 2012 5:06 pm

Beatzen wrote:
Namdrol wrote:
Beatzen wrote:If you do not accept rebirth, this simply represents a defect in your present understanding of Buddhadharma.


I'm simply open about the fact that I haven't had an insight into it's reality while in meditation, which is the way to investigate it, is it not?


That suppose you know how to meditate, or that your practice is valid ...
By understanding everything you perceive from the perspective of the view, you are freed from the constraints of philosophical beliefs.
By understanding that any and all mental activity is meditation, you are freed from arbitrary divisions between formal sessions and postmeditation activity.
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Re: Reincarnation, Zen, etc.

Postby Malcolm » Mon Jan 02, 2012 5:12 pm

Beatzen wrote:
Namdrol wrote:
Beatzen wrote:If you do not accept rebirth, this simply represents a defect in your present understanding of Buddhadharma.


I don't think of myself as defective. But feel free to do so yourself. I'm simply open about the fact that I haven't had an insight into it's reality while in meditation, which is the way to investigate it, is it not? From one buddhist practitioner to another, I wasn't expecting to be judged like that. I think it is better if we support eachother towards realization than characterize eachother as defective.

This has nothing to do with my question.


I did not say you were defective, I said your understanding was. You are not your understanding, no? It can change, correct?

The state of non-arising and rebirth are not contradictory. In fact, the former makes the latter possible.
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Re: Reincarnation, Zen, etc.

Postby AlexanderS » Mon Jan 02, 2012 5:17 pm

Doens't the story go that the Buddha recollected all his former lives when he progressed through the Jhana's?

Without out literal rebirth, Samsara isn't really Samsara, and Nirvana is not unconditioned and therefore not Nirvana. Only as I understand it though. Karma wouldn't really apply without rebirth either. But that is only my limited understanding.

Also it seems the ability to recollect former lifes and perceive future ones usually require a very high level of realisation. So to gain experiental knowledge of this, would require a damn lot of practice on your part I think :)
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Re: Reincarnation, Zen, etc.

Postby LastLegend » Mon Jan 02, 2012 5:22 pm

AlexanderS wrote:Doens't the story go that the Buddha recollected all his former lives when he progressed through the Jhana's?

Without out literal rebirth, Samsara isn't really Samsara, and Nirvana is not unconditioned and therefore not Nirvana. Only as I understand it though. Karma wouldn't really apply without rebirth either. But that is only my limited understanding.

Also it seems the ability to recollect former lifes and perceive future ones usually require a very high level of realisation. So to gain experiental knowledge of this, would require a damn lot of practice on your part I think :)


You are correct sir.

Without Samsara (cycle of death and rebirth), there is no Nirvana.
What is the point of practicing Buddhism then?
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Re: Karma & Rebirth are Real

Postby Will » Mon Jan 02, 2012 6:12 pm

Beatzen wrote:As I alluded to earlier, one cannot base faith in an idea on scripture. Scripture that was not penned but 3 to 500 years after Buddha's death.

I said, if I have a meditative insight into the reality of rebirth, I will gladly change my position. I will not argue this. Please don't stray from the topic, which was generally "how is Dzogchen/Mahamudra different from Zazen Samadhi"


No wonder Zen is looked at askance... How bizarre that "one cannot base faith in an idea on scripture". So sutras & shastras that recorded Buddha's teachings are not a basis because they were written down a few hundred years after Buddha, yet your "meditative insight", (fully separated from faith in the written buddhadharma), will qualify, even though you live 2500+ years after Buddha. :zzz:
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Re: are karma and rebirth for real?

Postby Beatzen » Mon Jan 02, 2012 7:10 pm

Let's see. Someone asked upon what do I base my behavior. I base my behavior on a desire to end my suffering. I could elaborate, but, what's the point?

I think the most enlightening response I've received here so far was the question of how consciousness arises to begin with, if there is no rebirth. That, to me, is worth questioning.

My understanding will change, and I may come to trust in the reality of rebirth for myself. I don't see how admitting that I don't understand it yet makes me a heretic.

But I don't think you can derive faith from scripture, straight up. You derive it from personally investigating the meaning of the teachings, not the teachings themselves. :P
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Re: How is Dzogchen/Mahamudra different from Zazen Samadhi

Postby Lhug-Pa » Mon Jan 02, 2012 7:13 pm

To clarify something about my earlier post, Beatzen, I should have realized that your personal non-belief in transmigration does not necessarily reflect the Zen teachings that you base your meditation on (although maybe it does in your sect?). Either way, the reality (or lack thereof) of transmigration is something that should be experienced, rather than believed in. Nevertheless, most traditions (Buddhist and 'non-Buddhist') are unanimous in their affirmation of the 'existence' of transmigration.
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Re: are karma and rebirth for real?

Postby Mr. G » Mon Jan 02, 2012 7:15 pm

Beatzen wrote: I don't see how admitting that I don't understand it yet makes me a heretic.


Stop right there. You did not say you didn't understand it. You said:

Beatzen wrote:But I don't think that reincarnation is literal. I don't think the buddha taught continuity of consciousness as we are referring to it as literal transmigration after death.


Not understanding (which common people can't) is very different from denying it. So you should amend your statement in denying literal rebirth in addition to stating you don't understand it.
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    grasping the letter of the text and ignoring its intention!
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Re: are karma and rebirth for real?

Postby Virgo » Mon Jan 02, 2012 7:17 pm

Beatzen wrote:My understanding will change, and I may come to trust in the reality of rebirth for myself. I don't see how admitting that I don't understand it yet makes me a heretic.
Forgive me if I have missed a post or two that might contain the answer, but, do you believe that nothing happens at death? It's just "black"? or do you believe in some form of permanent afterlife (perm heaven or hells)?

Either way, there is no point in spiritual (Buddhist) practice if you believe either of those.

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Re: How is Dzogchen/Mahamudra different from Zazen Samadhi

Postby Beatzen » Mon Jan 02, 2012 7:19 pm

Lhug-Pa wrote:To clarify something about my earlier post, Beatzen, I should have realized that your personal non-belief in transmigration does not necessarily reflect the Zen teachings that you base your meditation on (although maybe it does in your sect?). Either way, the reality (or lack thereof) of transmigration is something that should be experienced, rather than believed in. Nevertheless, most traditions (Buddhist and 'non-Buddhist') are unanimous in their affirmation of the 'existence' of transmigration.


Precisely. I don't speak for the sect that I take refuge with when I say I haven't experienced the reality of this phenomenon in meditation. I am not satisfied with just accepting affirming thoughts about the subject of transmigration. I want certainty. Reading all the sutras in the world won't do the meditative work to explore the possibility of such a realization. I have to say, I've got a lot of flak, particularly from the tibetan people on this board, for saying this.
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Re: are karma and rebirth for real?

Postby Beatzen » Mon Jan 02, 2012 7:21 pm

Mr. G wrote:
Beatzen wrote: I don't see how admitting that I don't understand it yet makes me a heretic.


Stop right there. You did not say you didn't understand it. You said:

Beatzen wrote:But I don't think that reincarnation is literal. I don't think the buddha taught continuity of consciousness as we are referring to it as literal transmigration after death.


Not understanding (which common people can't) is very different from denying it. So you should amend your statement in denying literal rebirth in addition to stating you don't understand it.


There's a difference between thinking and trusting in the reality of something. Don't be so hasty.
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Re: are karma and rebirth for real?

Postby Beatzen » Mon Jan 02, 2012 7:22 pm

Virgo wrote:
Beatzen wrote:My understanding will change, and I may come to trust in the reality of rebirth for myself. I don't see how admitting that I don't understand it yet makes me a heretic.
Forgive me if I have missed a post or two that might contain the answer, but, do you believe that nothing happens at death? It's just "black"? or do you believe in some form of permanent afterlife (perm heaven or hells)?

Either way, there is no point in spiritual (Buddhist) practice if you believe either of those.

Kevin


I haven't made up my mind. I was hoping that I would gain a meditative insight. I won't share my thoughts on the subject, first of all because I take my thoughts with a grain of salt, and secondly because I don't want to get flamed for expressing "un-buddhist" views.
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Re: are karma and rebirth for real?

Postby Malcolm » Mon Jan 02, 2012 7:30 pm

Beatzen wrote:
Virgo wrote:
Beatzen wrote:My understanding will change, and I may come to trust in the reality of rebirth for myself. I don't see how admitting that I don't understand it yet makes me a heretic.
Forgive me if I have missed a post or two that might contain the answer, but, do you believe that nothing happens at death? It's just "black"? or do you believe in some form of permanent afterlife (perm heaven or hells)?

Either way, there is no point in spiritual (Buddhist) practice if you believe either of those.

Kevin


I haven't made up my mind. I was hoping that I would gain a meditative insight. I won't share my thoughts on the subject, first of all because I take my thoughts with a grain of salt, and secondly because I don't want to get flamed for expressing "un-buddhist" views.



Listen -- you will have to forgive us. These endless discussions about rebirth are tiresome. We don't care. Either you accept it or you don't. If you don't fine. But there is no doubt that rebirth was the Buddha's teaching. People who cannot accept that, cannot accept must of the other teachings of the Buddha.

And please spare us the "buddhas teachings were not written down until..."First of all, this is false. Worst case scenario, Buddha's teachings were written down 150 years after his parinirvana (dates of Asokha pillars), which best scholarship places 407-400 BCE. But it is very likely that the earliest sutras were being written down within 50 years.

Mahayana sutras were almost certainly later compositions.

Tantras later than that.

But the one thing all these teachings share is a common thread of rebirth, karma, and dependent origination which are the cause of samsara, and the breaking of rebirth and karma through understanding dependent origination, which gauranteed freedom from rebirth in this or at most seven rebirths.

All those people who think they will attain awakening withotu understanding Buddha's actual teachings on this subject are deluded.
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Re: are karma and rebirth for real?

Postby Virgo » Mon Jan 02, 2012 7:31 pm

Beatzen wrote:I haven't made up my mind. I was hoping that I would gain a meditative insight. I won't share my thoughts on the subject, first of all because I take my thoughts with a grain of salt, and secondly because I don't want to get flamed for expressing "un-buddhist" views.

How about karma. Do you believe in cause?

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Re: How is Dzogchen/Mahamudra different from Zazen Samadhi

Postby Lhug-Pa » Mon Jan 02, 2012 7:32 pm

Beatzen wrote:Precisely. I don't speak for the sect that I take refuge with when I say I haven't experienced the reality of this phenomenon in meditation. I am not satisfied with just accepting affirming thoughts about the subject of transmigration. I want certainty. Reading all the sutras in the world won't do the meditative work to explore the possibility of such a realization. I have to say, I've got a lot of flak, particularly from the tibetan people on this board, for saying this.


Well if anything, Vajrayana methods (particularly Dzog-rim (Completion Stage) and Dzogchen practices) would be more expedient to realizing the possible experience of the said truth regarding transmigration.

It is said that some Zen schools do teach some authentic Tantra methods; nonetheless, Zen/Chan is primarily Sutra. Not that there's anything wrong with that, it's just that Sutra methods by themselves are slower, and there doesn't seem to be much time left.
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Re: are karma and rebirth for real?

Postby Beatzen » Mon Jan 02, 2012 7:38 pm

Virgo wrote:
Beatzen wrote:I haven't made up my mind. I was hoping that I would gain a meditative insight. I won't share my thoughts on the subject, first of all because I take my thoughts with a grain of salt, and secondly because I don't want to get flamed for expressing "un-buddhist" views.

How about karma. Do you believe in cause?

Kevin


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Re: How is Dzogchen/Mahamudra different from Zazen Samadhi

Postby Beatzen » Mon Jan 02, 2012 7:40 pm

Lhug-Pa wrote:
Beatzen wrote:Precisely. I don't speak for the sect that I take refuge with when I say I haven't experienced the reality of this phenomenon in meditation. I am not satisfied with just accepting affirming thoughts about the subject of transmigration. I want certainty. Reading all the sutras in the world won't do the meditative work to explore the possibility of such a realization. I have to say, I've got a lot of flak, particularly from the tibetan people on this board, for saying this.


Well if anything, Vajrayana methods (particularly Dzog-rim (Completion Stage) and Dzogchen practices) would be more expedient to realizing the possible experience of the said truth regarding transmigration.

It is said that some Zen schools do teach some authentic Tantra methods; nonetheless, Zen/Chan is primarily Sutra. Not that there's anything wrong with that, it's just that Sutra methods by themselves are slower, and there doesn't seem to be much time left.


What do you mean there's not much time left?
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Re: are karma and rebirth for real?

Postby Virgo » Mon Jan 02, 2012 7:43 pm

Beatzen wrote:
Kevin wrote:How about karma. Do you believe in cause?

Kevin


yes.

So let me present you with a scenario. Two girls are born. One is impoverished, and one has a very good and happy life. The impoverished girl is unhappy because she has no resources. The rich girl has a great life in a good area, good education and so on. These are just two people. If things arise because of causes, why should one have to suffer and why should one have an advantage if causes put down in past lives were not having their effects in these girls lives now. Surely, the young girl who is poor, did not steal or rob from people, etc. as a baby and have to suffer for it now. So what is the reasoning behind the difference of events that happen in their lives?

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