I Believe in Literal Rebirth - Poll

Whether you're exploring Buddhism for the first time or you're already on the path, feel free to ask questions of any kind here.

I Believe in Literal Rebirth

Yes
45
78%
No
4
7%
Indifferent
4
7%
Undecided
5
9%
 
Total votes : 58

I Believe in Literal Rebirth - Poll

Postby Will » Tue Aug 10, 2010 4:23 pm

I will guess, after at least 40 votes - 70% yes - 5% No - 5% Indifferent & 20% Undecided

Believing in "literal rebirth" is simply ordinary, life after lifetime rebirth. Some Buddhists make a fetish of moment-to-moment rebirth of thoughts and deny or ignore the truth of many lives of rebirth in samsara. So "literal" means conventional & ordinary, not moment-to-moment.
Last edited by Will on Thu Aug 12, 2010 12:53 am, edited 4 times in total.
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Re: I Believe in Literal Rebirth - Poll

Postby ronnewmexico » Tue Aug 10, 2010 5:54 pm

I vote no but must qualify my response...

To my view a person or soul of a person does not rebirth but our consciousness as aspect develops habitual tendency and habitual direction. When the circumstance presents the consciousness that has that particular constituancy, arises, due to that circumstance, and the properties of that particular consciousness present to include habit aspect.

Thusly what presents has retentive aspect of past lives and experiences but in actuality is not a continum in that fashion. When the circumstance necessitating a conscious response arises that particular consciousness arises particularly fitting the particular circumstance of its arrival. So that is the continum....the circumstance not the consciousness.

It never happens but if no circumstance did ever arise to precipitate the counsciousnesses presence, that would not occur.
We don't grasp the largness of things in their totality counsciously as self refuses to allow that, anything that large threatens self, so it will not be allowed. A person in a royal court in Tibet fainted dead away when Padmesabhava showed her but a part or the giganticness of it all. So large it all is if we as human grasped the totaility it would explode self concept.

Essentially every possibility of consciousness is realized due to the size of the whole thing, the mechanism...so all possibilities are always realized. So our particular habitual tendencies and such will always replicate...but they are not literally rebirthed. Nothing can rebirth, only circumstances can rebirth which precipitate the presence of particular counsciousnesses.

So I qualify my no.
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Re: I Believe in Literal Rebirth - Poll

Postby Will » Tue Jan 03, 2012 11:12 pm

Just bouncing this poll up into visibility again.
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Re: I Believe in Literal Rebirth - Poll

Postby Beatzen » Wed Jan 04, 2012 7:33 am

Will wrote:I will guess, after at least 40 votes - 70% yes - 5% No - 5% Indifferent & 20% Undecided

Believing in "literal rebirth" is simply ordinary, life after lifetime rebirth. Some Buddhists make a fetish of moment-to-moment rebirth of thoughts and deny or ignore the truth of many lives of rebirth in samsara. So "literal" means conventional & ordinary, not moment-to-moment.


What is "literal rebirth"?

As the great master Dogen [in the Genjokoan] explains, in the course of the
seasons, the spring does not "become" the summer. And when wood burns it
does not "become" the ashes. There is the state of wood, and there is the state
of ashes. There is the state of spring, there is the state of summer. The spring
does not become the summer, the wood does not become the ashes. [...]
"Cause is not before and Effect is not after"
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Re: I Believe in Literal Rebirth - Poll

Postby Adamantine » Wed Jan 04, 2012 7:43 am

Beatzen wrote:What is "literal rebirth"?


Here is a link to a brief differentiation of the three different types of consciousnesses ala Asanga-- take note of the alaya, and this may help a bit in understanding what most Mahayanists consider to be the matrix of momentum carrying the seeds of karmic imprint into future births.. http://www.buddhismtoday.com/english/philosophy/maha/032-Alayavijnana.htm
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Re: I Believe in Literal Rebirth - Poll

Postby Beatzen » Wed Jan 04, 2012 7:46 am

Adamantine wrote:
Beatzen wrote:What is "literal rebirth"?


I think the idea is as the Buddha taught it.


and what is that
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Re: I Believe in Literal Rebirth - Poll

Postby Beatzen » Wed Jan 04, 2012 7:53 am

Adamantine wrote:
Beatzen wrote:What is "literal rebirth"?


I think the idea is as the Buddha taught it.


I'll explain that i was one of the two people that voted 'indifferent,' for two reasons

1. it doesn't matter what i think i believe, for obvious reasons.

2. My interpretation of Dogen is such that "I" am not reborn. I have my place, the actions of body/speech/mind in this lifetime come to bear on the "one" (who is neither the same, or different) who has a place after my passing. If I cannot attain liberation for the sake of all beings in this lifetime, I can at least cultivate decent karma in respect of the person who is "reborn" as a result of my actions
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Re: I Believe in Literal Rebirth - Poll

Postby Adamantine » Wed Jan 04, 2012 8:10 am

Beatzen wrote:
Adamantine wrote:
Beatzen wrote:What is "literal rebirth"?


I think the idea is as the Buddha taught it.


and what is that


I removed this post of mine and replaced it because it actually is not so simple; there are many different interpretations among various philosophical schools... a key ingredient is the understanding of the alayavijnana which is why I brought that up instead. It may be helpful to look into a bit more thoroughly. Here is a link to a very general breakdown of how the four different main lineages of Tibetan Buddhism interpret the term: http://www.berzinarchives.com/web/en/archives/advanced/tantra/level4_advanced_points/alaya_impure_02.html

and here is some excerpts from berzin on the rebirth issue:
It is difficult to say that the mental activity of an infant comes from the parents because if it did, how does it come from the parents? There has to be some mechanism involved. Does that spark of life - characterized by awareness of things - come from the parents in the same way a sperm and egg do? Does it come with orgasm? With ovulation? Is it the sperm? The egg? If we cannot come up with a logical, scientific indication of when it comes from the parents, then we have to seek another solution.

Looking with sheer logic, we see that functional phenomena all come from their own continuities, from previous moments of something in the same category of phenomenon. For example, a physical phenomenon, be it matter or energy, comes from the previous moment of that matter or energy. It is a continuum.

Take anger as an example. We can talk of the physical energy we feel when we are angry, that is one thing. However, consider the mental activity of experiencing anger - experiencing the arising of the emotion and the conscious or unconscious awareness of it. An individual's experiencing of anger has its own prior moments of continuity within this lifetime, but where did it come from before that? Either it has to come from the parents, and there seems to be no mechanism to describe how that happens, or it has to come from a creator God. For some people, however, the logical inconsistencies in the explanation of how an omnipotent being creates present a problem. To avoid these problems, the alternative is that the first moment of anger in anyone's life comes from its own prior moment of continuity. The theory of rebirth explains just this.

We may try to understand rebirth with the analogy of a movie. Just as a movie is a continuity of the frames of film, our mental continuums or mind-streams are continuities of everchanging moments of awareness of phenomena within a lifetime and from one life to the next. There is not a solid, findable, entity, such as "me" or "my mind," that gets reborn. Rebirth is not like the analogy of a little statue sitting on a conveyor belt, going from one life to the next. Rather, it is like a movie, something that is constantly changing. Each frame is different but there is continuity in it. One frame is related to the next. Similarly, there is a constantly changing continuity of moments of awareness of phenomena, even if some of those moments are unconscious. Further, just as all movies are not the same movie, although they are all movies, likewise all mental continuums or "minds" are not one mind. There are a countless number of individual streams of continuity of awareness of phenomena.

These are the arguments that we start to investigate from a scientific and rational point of view. If a theory makes sense logically, then we can look more seriously at the fact that there are people who remember their previous lives. In this way, we examine the existence of rebirth from a scientific approach.
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Again, the analogy of rebirth is not that of some soul, like a concrete little statue or person, traveling on a conveyor belt from one lifetime to another. The conveyor belt represents time and the image it implies is of some solid thing, a fixed personality or soul called "me" passing through time: "Now I am young, now I am old; now I am in this life, now I am in that life." This is not the Buddhist concept of rebirth. Rather, the analogy is like that of a movie. There is a continuity with a movie; the frames form a continuity.

Neither does Buddhism say that I become you, or that we are all one. If we were all one, and I am you, then if we are both hungry, you can wait in the car while I go to eat. It is not like that. We each have our own individual streams of continuity. The sequence in my movie is not going to turn into your movie, but our lives proceed like movies in the sense that they are not concrete and fixed. Life goes on from one frame to another. It follows a sequence, according to karma, and thus forms a continuity. http://www.berzinarchives.com/web/en/archives/approaching_buddhism/introduction/basic_question_karma_rebirth.html?query=rebirth
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Re: I Believe in Literal Rebirth - Poll

Postby Beatzen » Wed Jan 04, 2012 8:19 am

I was hoping you could find me pali or Agama references, for what the buddha actually said on rebirth.

I appreciate the quotations, but I don't need to be convinced that rebirth is real. I believe it is. I just don't think that the aggregate of consciousness in this life time is the same aggregate of consciousness in the next. Even if the bardo state is not a heretical idea (it is my understanding that an in-between state is not directly mentioned in the pali canon), then the (i hate wording it like this) consciousness being rebirthed goes through transformative experiences in the bardo.

The "me" that went to the coffee shop this morning is really not different, but not the same as the "me" that is writing this right now. There is a causal connection, but the person who is conceived of as existing through time simply does not have any substance.

This is my understanding as it currently is.

Please don't lambaste me as a western modernist, or some kind of revisionist. The Buddha explicitly encouraged his students not to accept his authority on these matters, but to investigate the merit of his dharma for themselves.
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Re: I Believe in Literal Rebirth - Poll

Postby LastLegend » Wed Jan 04, 2012 8:22 am

Beatzen wrote:I was hoping you could find me pali or Agama references, for what the buddha actually said on rebirth.

I appreciate the quotations, but I don't need to be convinced that rebirth is real. I believe it is. I just don't think that the aggregate of consciousness in this life time is the same aggregate of consciousness in the next. Even if the bardo state is not a heretical idea (it is my understanding that an in-between state is not directly mentioned in the pali canon), then the (i hate wording it like this) consciousness being rebirthed goes through transformative experiences in the bardo.

The "me" that went to the coffee shop this morning is really not different, but not the same as the "me" that is writing this right now. There is a causal connection, but the person who is conceived of as existing through time simply does not have any substance.

This is my understanding as it currently is.


You are playing with words...the reason why there is rebirth because of the belief that there is a self-and there it is. And therefore manifests in that.
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Re: I Believe in Literal Rebirth - Poll

Postby Beatzen » Wed Jan 04, 2012 8:25 am

LastLegend wrote:
Beatzen wrote:I was hoping you could find me pali or Agama references, for what the buddha actually said on rebirth.

I appreciate the quotations, but I don't need to be convinced that rebirth is real. I believe it is. I just don't think that the aggregate of consciousness in this life time is the same aggregate of consciousness in the next. Even if the bardo state is not a heretical idea (it is my understanding that an in-between state is not directly mentioned in the pali canon), then the (i hate wording it like this) consciousness being rebirthed goes through transformative experiences in the bardo.

The "me" that went to the coffee shop this morning is really not different, but not the same as the "me" that is writing this right now. There is a causal connection, but the person who is conceived of as existing through time simply does not have any substance.

This is my understanding as it currently is.


You are playing with words...the reason why there is rebirth because of the belief that there is a self-and there it is.


I'm not playing with words. It's obvious. That quote from Dogen says it all. Rebirth is all about the causal connection. Belief means nothing when it comes to reality. Reality is beyond belief.
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Re: I Believe in Literal Rebirth - Poll

Postby LastLegend » Wed Jan 04, 2012 8:30 am

Beatzen wrote:
LastLegend wrote:
Beatzen wrote:I was hoping you could find me pali or Agama references, for what the buddha actually said on rebirth.

I appreciate the quotations, but I don't need to be convinced that rebirth is real. I believe it is. I just don't think that the aggregate of consciousness in this life time is the same aggregate of consciousness in the next. Even if the bardo state is not a heretical idea (it is my understanding that an in-between state is not directly mentioned in the pali canon), then the (i hate wording it like this) consciousness being rebirthed goes through transformative experiences in the bardo.

The "me" that went to the coffee shop this morning is really not different, but not the same as the "me" that is writing this right now. There is a causal connection, but the person who is conceived of as existing through time simply does not have any substance.

This is my understanding as it currently is.


You are playing with words...the reason why there is rebirth because of the belief that there is a self-and there it is.


I'm not playing with words. It's obvious. That quote from Dogen says it all. Rebirth is all about the causal connection. Belief means nothing when it comes to reality. Reality is beyond belief.


Yes causal connection. But there is no separation between your mind now and the mind you have when you become Buddha.
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Re: I Believe in Literal Rebirth - Poll

Postby Beatzen » Wed Jan 04, 2012 8:37 am

I agree, to a point. It is one seamless movement. Ultimately it is the same mind, but relatively speaking (I think this is our disconnect) that mind has little in common during both instances.
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Re: I Believe in Literal Rebirth - Poll

Postby LastLegend » Wed Jan 04, 2012 8:38 am

The mind is supposed to be empty and illuminating. However, the ignorance or delusion of possessing the body as the self is what turns the mind deluded and takes rebirth. And that is also known as karma. But through this deluded or grasping mind, we can reach the illuminating state through cultivation. Thus the same coin with 2 sides-ignorance/delusion and illuminating state.
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Re: I Believe in Literal Rebirth - Poll

Postby Beatzen » Wed Jan 04, 2012 8:41 am

LastLegend wrote:The mind is supposed to be empty and illuminating. However, the ignorance or delusion of possessing the body as the self is what turns the mind deluded and takes rebirth. And that is also known as karma.


The mind is such as it is. It's not supposed to be one thing or the other. Metaphysics won't make you a skillfull meditator, or any more mindfull off the mat.

Don't speculate about the nature of Karma. The Buddha himself listed it as one of the four "unthinkables"
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Re: I Believe in Literal Rebirth - Poll

Postby LastLegend » Wed Jan 04, 2012 8:44 am

Beatzen wrote:The mind is such as it is. It's not supposed to be one thing or the other. Metaphysics won't make you a skillfull meditator, or any more mindfull off the mat.


I use conceptual language to communicate. But you are right mind is not a thing. The mind is empty, how can it be a thing? Empty of concepts and imaginations. Where can you find the mind at subatomic level?

Don't speculate about the nature of Karma. The Buddha himself listed it as one of the four "unthinkables"

I don't speculate about the nature of karma. I am talking about the actions of body, speech, and mind as karma and these actions will lead the mind to take rebirth.
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Re: I Believe in Literal Rebirth - Poll

Postby Beatzen » Wed Jan 04, 2012 8:47 am

I only think that it might be a more useful metaphor in our practice to work towards cultivating good karma for "the person who will take your place" - since we're talking about the same mind, but totally different self-delusions.

that way you're not just solidifying this sense of working to liberate yourself alone, easier to generate a "for all beings" sort of mentality.
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Re: I Believe in Literal Rebirth - Poll

Postby Adamantine » Wed Jan 04, 2012 8:48 am

Beatzen wrote:I was hoping you could find me pali or Agama references, for what the buddha actually said on rebirth.


(it is my understanding that an in-between state is not directly mentioned in the pali canon),


Oh jeez, you're a Mahayanist (by virtue of following a Zen lineage) on the Mahayana & Vajrayana forum and you're telling me you're one of those people that believe the Pali canon are the one and only true words of the Buddha?

Please read this to deepen your understanding: Whose Buddhism is Truest? by Linda Heuman, published by Tricycle http://www.douban.com/group/topic/22375578/

Here's a notable excerpt:

As scholars scrutinized the Gandhari texts, however, they saw that history didn’t work that way at all, Salomon said. It was a mistake to assume that the foundation of Buddhist textual tradition was singular, that if you followed the genealogical branches back far enough into the past they would eventually converge. Traced back in time, the genealogical branches diverged and intertwined in such complex relationships that the model of a tree broke down completely. The picture looked more like a tangled bush, he reported.

Here is where I clicked Rewind: these newly found manuscripts, he declared, strike the coup de grâce to a traditional conception of Buddhism’s past that has been disintegrating for decades. It is now clear that none of the existing Buddhist collections of early Indian scriptures—not the Pali, Sanskrit, Chinese, nor even the Gandhari—“can be privileged as the most authentic or original words of the Buddha.”

It is odd how matters enacted on the wide stage of history can sometimes present themselves immediately in the close corners of personal life. I am a Mahayana practitioner; my partner practices in the Theravada tradition. The challenge of accommodating differences in the Buddhist family is an occasional cloud that hovers over our dinner table. What Salomon was saying seemed to indicate a new way of viewing and working with sectarian clashes at whatever level they might occur.

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Re: I Believe in Literal Rebirth - Poll

Postby LastLegend » Wed Jan 04, 2012 8:51 am

Beatzen wrote:I only think that it might be a more useful metaphor in our practice to work towards cultivating good karma for "the person who will take your place" - since we're talking about the same mind, but totally different self-delusions.


Well in Mahayana all things come from the mind which is empty. So from emptiness, arises everything. If you believe that there is a self, then it will manifest as one and take rebirth through perception of the self. If you believe Nirvana to be pit black realm of existence, then it will manifest as one. There is such realm.
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Re: I Believe in Literal Rebirth - Poll

Postby Beatzen » Wed Jan 04, 2012 8:51 am

Well I'm certainly not going to apologize for that, Ad. I've always regarded pali sources as more authentic when it comes to the words of the buddha. I value the prajnaparamita sutras, but when it comes to teachings on dependant origination, and other technical concepts - I usually look for the pali reference. Just an ideosyncracy I have.
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