BASIS FOR KARMA / REBIRTH

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Re: BASIS FOR KARMA / REBIRTH

Postby futerko » Mon Nov 25, 2013 7:34 pm

smcj wrote: Whereas the Buddhists simply say that there is an infinite regression


No, they don't. The whole point of Buddhism is to avoid such an issue of infinite regress.
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Re: BASIS FOR KARMA / REBIRTH

Postby dzogchungpa » Mon Nov 25, 2013 7:56 pm

mindyourmind wrote:To put it in its simplest form, where does karma / rebirth "come from"? Who created such an exquisitely complex system, if there is no god?

The following is merely my opinion. From what I can tell, there is no real answer to this question, but given Buddhism's basically pragmatic orientation it is not that important for practitioners. As one's understanding develops, one's understanding of this question and others might develop. There are lot of things being assumed when posing such a question and as your understanding of these assumptions develops, there may eventually be some resolution. All that said, my final answer is "I don't know".
ཨོཾ་མ་ཧཱ་ཤུནྱ་ཏཱ་ཛྙཱ་ན་བཛྲ་སྭཱ་བྷཱ་བ་ཨཱཏྨ་ཀོ་྅ཧཾ༔

The thousands of lines of the Prajnaparamita can be summed up in the following two sentences:
1) One should become a Bodhisattva (or, Buddha-to-be), i.e. one who is content with nothing less than all-knowledge attained through the perfection of wisdom for the sake of all beings.
2) There is no such thing as a Bodhisattva, or as all-knowledge, or as a ‘being’, or as the perfection of wisdom, or as an attainment.
To accept both these contradictory facts is to be perfect.
- Conze
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Re: BASIS FOR KARMA / REBIRTH

Postby PadmaVonSamba » Mon Nov 25, 2013 8:32 pm

smcj wrote: Whereas the Buddhists simply say that there is an infinite regression


In what way? How does Buddhism say this?
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Re: BASIS FOR KARMA / REBIRTH

Postby PadmaVonSamba » Mon Nov 25, 2013 8:33 pm

dzogchungpa wrote:
mindyourmind wrote:To put it in its simplest form, where does karma / rebirth "come from"? Who created such an exquisitely complex system, if there is no god?

From what I can tell, there is no real answer to this question


Why do you think this?
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Re: BASIS FOR KARMA / REBIRTH

Postby Malcolm » Mon Nov 25, 2013 8:41 pm

futerko wrote:
smcj wrote: Whereas the Buddhists simply say that there is an infinite regression


No, they don't. The whole point of Buddhism is to avoid such an issue of infinite regress.


In fact, Budddhists accept certain kinds of infinite regression as a logical consequence of dependent origination, for example, the infinite regression of dependent causality.
http://www.bhaisajya.net
http://atikosha.org
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Re: BASIS FOR KARMA / REBIRTH

Postby dzogchungpa » Mon Nov 25, 2013 9:11 pm

PadmaVonSamba wrote:
dzogchungpa wrote:
mindyourmind wrote:To put it in its simplest form, where does karma / rebirth "come from"? Who created such an exquisitely complex system, if there is no god?

From what I can tell, there is no real answer to this question

Why do you think this?

I think this because from what I can tell, from what I can tell, there is no real answer to this question. :smile:
ཨོཾ་མ་ཧཱ་ཤུནྱ་ཏཱ་ཛྙཱ་ན་བཛྲ་སྭཱ་བྷཱ་བ་ཨཱཏྨ་ཀོ་྅ཧཾ༔

The thousands of lines of the Prajnaparamita can be summed up in the following two sentences:
1) One should become a Bodhisattva (or, Buddha-to-be), i.e. one who is content with nothing less than all-knowledge attained through the perfection of wisdom for the sake of all beings.
2) There is no such thing as a Bodhisattva, or as all-knowledge, or as a ‘being’, or as the perfection of wisdom, or as an attainment.
To accept both these contradictory facts is to be perfect.
- Conze
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Re: BASIS FOR KARMA / REBIRTH

Postby Arjan Dirkse » Mon Nov 25, 2013 9:35 pm

To me, these are basically the sort of questions that Buddha advocated silence for. Who created the whole system of rebirth? First of all, I am not sure karma or rebirth is really real in the sense most Buddhists believe it is real; all I have is speculation in scriptures which may or may not be recited or inspired by Gautama Buddha, who may or may not have known all these answers.

In a lot of religions, and Buddhism isn' t always an exception, there is a sense of the believers that they're entitled to having all the answers, who created the universe, what happens after death, but I'm happy with the present moment. Is there rebirth? No, not really. To me right now, there is just NOW.
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Re: BASIS FOR KARMA / REBIRTH

Postby PadmaVonSamba » Mon Nov 25, 2013 9:53 pm

Malcolm wrote: Budddhists accept certain kinds of infinite regression as a logical consequence of dependent origination, for example, the infinite regression of dependent causality.

Is infinite regression a consequence of dependent origination,
or is dependent origination a consequence of infinite regression?
I think that infinite regression is a characteristic of dependent origination,
and not that one causes the other.
The tricky part is to avoid concluding that any actual thing arises from it.

If we are referring to karma and rebirth as some sort of 'grand scheme of things'
as the theist would see it, something that has to be invented in some way,
then this requires some notion of the players in this grand scheme as having some sort of "self"
which Buddhism rejects.

There are only two things in general of which one can be certain:
awareness, and objects of awareness.
That's where the track of "infinite regression" ends.
Karma and rebirth arise because
the objects of awareness are experienced incorrectly as intrinsically existent things.
When this "wrong view" ceases perfectly,
there is no cause for karma and rebirth to occur
and the word for this extinction of wrong view
is Buddha.
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The Chinese characters are Fo (buddha) and Ming (bright). The image is of a student of Buddhism, who, imagining himself to be a monk, and not understanding the true meaning of the words takes the sound of the words literally. Likewise, People on web forums sometime seem to be foaming at the mouth.
Original painting by P.Volker /used by permission.
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Re: BASIS FOR KARMA / REBIRTH

Postby David N. Snyder » Mon Nov 25, 2013 10:05 pm

Tell him you can't get something from nothing; everything has cause and effect. Try calculating 1 divided by zero. Go ahead and try it on your calculator right now. It comes up with E for error since you can't get something from nothing. If there is a God, he had to have a cause, perhaps being born from a prior set of Gods or something but he can't just come up out of nothing.

Even planet Earth (like all other planets) arose from stardust. Solar systems come and go and get reconstituted back into form (over billions of years). Check the science (astronomy) it will confirm this.
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Re: BASIS FOR KARMA / REBIRTH

Postby dzogchungpa » Mon Nov 25, 2013 10:07 pm

PadmaVonSamba wrote:There are only two things in general of which one can be certain:
awareness, and objects of awareness.

I'm not certain that one can be certain about those two things.
ཨོཾ་མ་ཧཱ་ཤུནྱ་ཏཱ་ཛྙཱ་ན་བཛྲ་སྭཱ་བྷཱ་བ་ཨཱཏྨ་ཀོ་྅ཧཾ༔

The thousands of lines of the Prajnaparamita can be summed up in the following two sentences:
1) One should become a Bodhisattva (or, Buddha-to-be), i.e. one who is content with nothing less than all-knowledge attained through the perfection of wisdom for the sake of all beings.
2) There is no such thing as a Bodhisattva, or as all-knowledge, or as a ‘being’, or as the perfection of wisdom, or as an attainment.
To accept both these contradictory facts is to be perfect.
- Conze
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Re: BASIS FOR KARMA / REBIRTH

Postby PadmaVonSamba » Mon Nov 25, 2013 10:18 pm

dzogchungpa wrote:
PadmaVonSamba wrote:There are only two things in general of which one can be certain:
awareness, and objects of awareness.

I'm not certain that one can be certain about those two things.

Yes, you are certain!
:rolling:
Last edited by PadmaVonSamba on Mon Nov 25, 2013 10:29 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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The Chinese characters are Fo (buddha) and Ming (bright). The image is of a student of Buddhism, who, imagining himself to be a monk, and not understanding the true meaning of the words takes the sound of the words literally. Likewise, People on web forums sometime seem to be foaming at the mouth.
Original painting by P.Volker /used by permission.
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Re: BASIS FOR KARMA / REBIRTH

Postby tatpurusa » Mon Nov 25, 2013 10:28 pm

Arjan Dirkse wrote:To me, these are basically the sort of questions that Buddha advocated silence for.

Yes, I agree. And he advocated silence for a reason.
Who created the whole system of rebirth?

This is the wrong question.
Define who/what ..
Define create ..

Creation needs a trinity of creator/creation/created
This does not fit with the non-duality of emptiness (i.e. infinite potentiality) and clarity. Though this is the source of all, it is not the source in the sense of subject/object, creation, will, intention, or even causality.
It is beyond time, so it is "beginningless"
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Re: BASIS FOR KARMA / REBIRTH

Postby dzogchungpa » Mon Nov 25, 2013 10:44 pm

tatpurusa wrote:Define who/what ..
Define create ..

Define define ..
ཨོཾ་མ་ཧཱ་ཤུནྱ་ཏཱ་ཛྙཱ་ན་བཛྲ་སྭཱ་བྷཱ་བ་ཨཱཏྨ་ཀོ་྅ཧཾ༔

The thousands of lines of the Prajnaparamita can be summed up in the following two sentences:
1) One should become a Bodhisattva (or, Buddha-to-be), i.e. one who is content with nothing less than all-knowledge attained through the perfection of wisdom for the sake of all beings.
2) There is no such thing as a Bodhisattva, or as all-knowledge, or as a ‘being’, or as the perfection of wisdom, or as an attainment.
To accept both these contradictory facts is to be perfect.
- Conze
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Re: BASIS FOR KARMA / REBIRTH

Postby tatpurusa » Mon Nov 25, 2013 10:57 pm

dzogchungpa wrote:
tatpurusa wrote:Define who/what ..
Define create ..

Define define ..


Tell what exactly is meant by the subject of creation.
Tell what is exactly meant by creation.
Are the creator and the created different?
What is creation, and act of will, something spontaneous, temporary, permanent, whatever?

These are by far not trivial questions.
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Re: BASIS FOR KARMA / REBIRTH

Postby dzogchungpa » Mon Nov 25, 2013 11:08 pm

tatpurusa wrote:
dzogchungpa wrote:
tatpurusa wrote:Define who/what ..
Define create ..

Define define ..


Tell what exactly is meant by the subject of creation.
Tell what is exactly meant by creation.
Are the creator and the created different?
What is creation, and act of will, something spontaneous, temporary, permanent, whatever?

These are by far not trivial questions.

Yes, and the question of what is exactly meant by 'exactly meant' is also by far not trivial. :smile:
However, if you feel that asking these questions is a satisfactory response to the question raised by the OP, that's fine with me. :namaste:
ཨོཾ་མ་ཧཱ་ཤུནྱ་ཏཱ་ཛྙཱ་ན་བཛྲ་སྭཱ་བྷཱ་བ་ཨཱཏྨ་ཀོ་྅ཧཾ༔

The thousands of lines of the Prajnaparamita can be summed up in the following two sentences:
1) One should become a Bodhisattva (or, Buddha-to-be), i.e. one who is content with nothing less than all-knowledge attained through the perfection of wisdom for the sake of all beings.
2) There is no such thing as a Bodhisattva, or as all-knowledge, or as a ‘being’, or as the perfection of wisdom, or as an attainment.
To accept both these contradictory facts is to be perfect.
- Conze
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Re: BASIS FOR KARMA / REBIRTH

Postby jeeprs » Mon Nov 25, 2013 11:18 pm

mindyourmind wrote: What he wants to know (and here my theism may be letting me down) is "Who made it?" In the theistic worlview all of these questions of course have a wonderfully pat answer.


An important thing to know: in the Buddhist teaching, there are particular questions that are called 'undeclared'. These include speculations about such things as 'Is the cosmos eternal? Is it not eternal? Is it finite? Is it infinite? Is the body the same as the soul? Is the body one thing and the soul another? Does the Tathagata exist after death? Does he not exist after death? Both? Neither?' The question as to the 'absolute origin' of the Universe is one of those questions. (reference here.)

This is related to the 'simile of the poison arrow' which concerns questions that are not conducive to 'calm, cessation and insight'. One can pursue these questions indefinitely without ever arriving at an answer, but meanwhile suffering and the causes of suffering remain unaddressed.

It's just as if a man were wounded with an arrow thickly smeared with poison. His friends & companions, kinsmen & relatives would provide him with a surgeon, and the man would say, 'I won't have this arrow removed until I know whether the man who wounded me was a noble warrior, a brahman, a merchant, or a worker.' He would say, 'I won't have this arrow removed until I know the given name & clan name of the man who wounded me... until I know whether he was tall, medium, or short... until I know whether he was dark, ruddy-brown, or golden-colored... until I know his home village, town, or city... until I know whether the bow with which I was wounded was a long bow or a crossbow... until I know whether the bowstring with which I was wounded was fiber, bamboo threads, sinew, hemp, or bark... until I know whether the shaft with which I was wounded was wild or cultivated... until I know whether the feathers of the shaft with which I was wounded were those of a vulture, a stork, a hawk, a peacock, or another bird... until I know whether the shaft with which I was wounded was bound with the sinew of an ox, a water buffalo, a langur, or a monkey.' He would say, 'I won't have this arrow removed until I know whether the shaft with which I was wounded was that of a common arrow, a curved arrow, a barbed, a calf-toothed, or an oleander arrow.' The man would die and those things would still remain unknown to him.


Source

This emphasises a pragmatic rather than speculative approach.

However this doesn't mean that there is not an answer to the question of the ultimate source of being. But that answer must be sought through attaining insight, rather than representing the idea verbally or conceptually or in terms of a 'creator God'.

There is quite a good Wikipedia article on the metaphysical aspect of this question at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/God_in_Buddhism.

But it's a deep question. No free beers on any side.
He that knows it, knows it not.
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Re: BASIS FOR KARMA / REBIRTH

Postby tatpurusa » Mon Nov 25, 2013 11:20 pm

dzogchungpa wrote:Yes, and the question of what is exactly meant by 'exactly meant' is also by far not trivial. :smile:
However, if you feel that asking these questions is a satisfactory response to the question raised by the OP, that's fine with me. :namaste:


I mean, yes, because it points to the fact that all this is by far not clear, even in the case of those theists claiming it.
Moreover, my opinion is that the Buddha advocated silence to these questions exactly because they are not possible to answer in a satisfactory way by conceptual and time based thinking.
The Buddhist answer to this would be the experience (as opposed to theory) of non-duality of emptiness and clarity, which is neither compatible with a theist subject/object view, nor with causality or with the concept of time.
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Re: BASIS FOR KARMA / REBIRTH

Postby dzogchungpa » Tue Nov 26, 2013 12:30 am

tatpurusa wrote:
dzogchungpa wrote:Yes, and the question of what is exactly meant by 'exactly meant' is also by far not trivial. :smile:
However, if you feel that asking these questions is a satisfactory response to the question raised by the OP, that's fine with me. :namaste:


I mean, yes, because it points to the fact that all this is by far not clear, even in the case of those theists claiming it.
Moreover, my opinion is that the Buddha advocated silence to these questions exactly because they are not possible to answer in a satisfactory way by conceptual and time based thinking.
The Buddhist answer to this would be the experience (as opposed to theory) of non-duality of emptiness and clarity, which is neither compatible with a theist subject/object view, nor with causality or with the concept of time.

I agree that it is useful to make the points you are making, but it is not really a satisfactory response to a sincere question of the kind found in the OP, in my opinion. I take the basic question of the OP to be this:
Where does karma / rebirth "come from"?

As you and I have pointed out there are many assumptions involved in such a question. Nevertheless, there is little doubt that the doctrine of karma and rebirth is absolutely central to Buddhism, so Buddhists should treat sincere questions about it with respect.
ཨོཾ་མ་ཧཱ་ཤུནྱ་ཏཱ་ཛྙཱ་ན་བཛྲ་སྭཱ་བྷཱ་བ་ཨཱཏྨ་ཀོ་྅ཧཾ༔

The thousands of lines of the Prajnaparamita can be summed up in the following two sentences:
1) One should become a Bodhisattva (or, Buddha-to-be), i.e. one who is content with nothing less than all-knowledge attained through the perfection of wisdom for the sake of all beings.
2) There is no such thing as a Bodhisattva, or as all-knowledge, or as a ‘being’, or as the perfection of wisdom, or as an attainment.
To accept both these contradictory facts is to be perfect.
- Conze
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Re: BASIS FOR KARMA / REBIRTH

Postby dude » Tue Nov 26, 2013 12:36 am

"An important thing to know: in the Buddhist teaching, there are particular questions that are called 'undeclared'."

Only because the questioner didn't as yet have the capacity to understand the answer
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Re: BASIS FOR KARMA / REBIRTH

Postby LastLegend » Tue Nov 26, 2013 12:49 am

Infinite regression is a type of thinking that involves time as linear.
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NAMO AMITUOFO (CHINESE)
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