Rebirth and morality.

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

Re: Rebirth and morality.

Postby kirtu » Thu Jun 03, 2010 6:06 pm

m0rl0ck wrote:
kirtu wrote: Bodhicitta is the core of Mahayana


Dam this thread is like crack.


We are just trying to save our poor Zen brothers and sisters from their pernicious, nihilistic-leaning, devilish views with our vastly superior really true sutric derived actually valid Mahayana positions.

Wouldn't want you to be cooped up in an unopened lotus for eons while we cavort in our wonderful Dharma palaces meters away in Amitabha's Pure Land.

:thinking: :tongue:

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Re: Rebirth and morality.

Postby kirtu » Thu Jun 03, 2010 6:10 pm

m0rl0ck wrote:
kirtu wrote: Bodhicitta is the core of Mahayana


Bodhicitta and emptiness are (like all else) interdependent. From the realization that all is inextricably interrelated and interdependent comes the knowledge that all others are not separable from you. Thus arises compassion.


:thumbsup:

Thus emptiness alone is not the core of Mahayana but the interdependence of Bodhicitta and emptiness. Zen people know this but they often propose emptiness as the core without thinking about it at first.

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Re: Rebirth and morality.

Postby m0rl0ck » Thu Jun 03, 2010 6:30 pm

kirtu wrote:Thus emptiness alone is not the core of Mahayana but the interdependence of Bodhicitta and emptiness. Zen people know this but they often propose emptiness as the core without thinking about it at first.

Kirt


Emptiness is not alone :) Emptiness is the whole ball of wax. In fact it might be better called everythingness. You cant seperate bodhicitta from emptiness because you cant separate anything from emptiness
And it is the core of everything. Out of the realization that all is interdependent comes the realization that in a real way you are every other sentient you meet see or could think of. The realization that your natures are so intertwined that you could no more mistreat them than you could cut off your own hand.

Out of this arise true compassion, joy in the joy of others (after all if they are you, how could you not be happy for them) wisdom, loving kindness (they are you etc, etc) and equanimity arises as well, because you see things in their proper context, that is, everything is important, equally.

So if you put emptiness first, all else follows. I suppose you could go for intermediate steps first, nothing wrong with that i think, but emptiness really does subsume the rest of it imo.

EDIT: and what is this thing you guys got for zen anyway. What did zen ever do to you? :)
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Re: Rebirth and morality.

Postby Astus » Thu Jun 03, 2010 9:21 pm

m0rl0ck wrote:Emptiness is pretty much the core of the mahayana. Where you been dude?


Emptiness is dependent origination. Dependent origination also affirms rebirth. Chapter 17 of the Mulamadhyamakakarika is specifically about deeds (karma) and fruits (phala) to show how individual rebirth exists and consequences are experienced by the one who caused it.

Also, the Heart Sutra talks about the five skandhas, the eighteen dhatus, the twelve links of dependent origination and the four noble truths. The five skandhas are divided up to nama and rupa, also the fourth link is nama and rupa. The 18 dhatus lists both objects of consciousness and consciousness separately, where the first five consciousnesses (eye-touch) have the four great elements as their objects but the sixth has dharmas, which are not made of the elements.

Nevertheless, you made no reply about what I referred to you as clear teachings on the existence of mind not being the same as body.
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Re: Rebirth and morality.

Postby Luke » Thu Jun 03, 2010 10:49 pm

m0rl0ck wrote:Setting up karma and rebirth as some kind of mechanism to enforce good behaviour is an error imo. Just makes karma out to be Jehovah in drag

No, this idea about karma being "Jehovah in drag" or a "cosmic enforcer" is just a mental projection of yours coming from your cultural background. When Buddhist masters teach about karma, they are not giving commandments; they are just explaining the way things are: "Doing this will lead to suffering. Doing that will lead to happiness."

It's like explaining where different paths lead: "This road leads to a radioactive wasteland. That road leads to a palace. That road leads to a temple." They don't command, "Take this road!" but they certainly suggest which is the wisest path to take.

m0rl0ck wrote:, i think the reality of the situation is alot simpler, subtler, and at the same time more complex than that, mostly because "you" dont survive death to be rewarded or punished.

No, "you" don't survive death because what is "you" is constantly changing, but your mindstream does survive death. Your mindstream doesn't end, and it doesn't mix with other people's mindstreams.

Karma doesn't imply any external external "judge" or "punisher." The "judge" is the ripening of karmic seeds in your own mind and they way they influence the world around you (this might not be entirely correct, but I think it's something close to this).

Huseng wrote:When Dharmakirti refuted the materialists, one argument he made for rebirth was that the Buddha was a valid source of knowledge and the Buddha did indeed teach rebirth. If the Buddha can be demonstrated as a valid source of authoritative knowledge (perhaps better understood as knowing through a valid source), then from his valid testimony we can infer that indeed rebirth is real even if we personally lack that knowledge or experience. We can know something through a testimony of a valid source.

Yes, exactly. We're basically relying on a witness we trust. It's like Stephen Hawking telling us something about black holes. Even if we haven't studied the subject in depth, it's most likely that he knows what he's talking about.

Or it's like the fact that we all believe that Bill Clinton had affairs because of the evidence we read about, even though we didn't actually see him do it.

And the Buddha had knowledge and powers of perception far beyond what ordinary people have.

m0rl0ck wrote:and what is this thing you guys got for zen anyway. What did zen ever do to you? :)

I think what we are all reacting against is the "Zen" which is not really Zen Buddhism (you know people who do zazen, but who don't believe in karma and rebirth and who have little interest in core Buddhist beliefs).

Even small pieces of Buddhism can bring benefits, but Buddhism was meant to be a whole entity and a working system. There are Four Noble Truths, not one, not two, not three.
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Re: Rebirth and morality.

Postby shel » Fri Jun 04, 2010 12:28 am

Astus wrote:The 18 dhatus lists both objects of consciousness and consciousness separately, where the first five consciousnesses (eye-touch) have the four great elements as their objects but the sixth has dharmas, which are not made of the elements.

Hi Astus,

What is the sixths consciousness made of, or rather, what are the dharmas made of?
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Re: Rebirth and morality.

Postby Dexing » Fri Jun 04, 2010 12:55 am

Huseng wrote:Buddha and many other enlightened masters of old and present assert rebirth is real. Some also remark that they have recollection of past lives. There are also plenty of cases where children have accurate memories of past lives.

Rebirth is real.


No disrespect meant, but this is kind of sad. Replace "Buddha and enlightened masters" with "Jesus and disciples", "rebirth" with "Heaven" or "God", and "children with accurate memories of past lives" with "many people with consistent near-death experiences"....

I am not saying rebirth is not real. I believe it is the most likely case. But to be completely honest, you have no idea.

We can say so with a certain amount of faith, but no degree of certainty.

However, the teaching of rebirth gives our practice direction. Only that. Simple.

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Re: Rebirth and morality.

Postby Dexing » Fri Jun 04, 2010 1:02 am

Astus wrote:Emptiness is dependent origination. Dependent origination also affirms rebirth.


Emptiness is dependent origination in classical teachings. In Mahayana, real dependent origination is something quite different from the normal 12 links.

The 18 dhatus lists both objects of consciousness and consciousness separately, where the first five consciousnesses (eye-touch) have the four great elements as their objects but the sixth has dharmas, which are not made of the elements.


However, the Heart Sutra teaches that in actuality all these things are illusory and unreal appearances.

And in fact, dharmas are nothing but impressions based on the sensory experience at other sense organs. So I would not say dharmas are not made of the elements. What else are they made of?

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Re: Rebirth and morality.

Postby Indrajala » Fri Jun 04, 2010 1:37 am

m0rl0ck wrote:
Huseng wrote:
m0rl0ck wrote:Setting up karma and rebirth as some kind of mechanism to enforce good behaviour is an error imo. Just makes karma out to be Jehovah in drag, i think the reality of the situation is alot simpler, subtler, and at the same time more complex than that, mostly because "you" dont survive death to be rewarded or punished. Karma is about cause and effect and imo any moral valence you want to add to that is probably more a result of ego attachment than anything else.


Your remarks on this have already been refuted -- "ego attachment" and so on are not Buddhist and your assertion that "you do not survive death" smells of ucchedavada.


Oh man, you suckered me back in :)

If you think you survive death, isnt that a violation of a core buddhist teaching?

What do you think survives death? Wishful thinking?

Ok im really out of here. At this point its just whack a mole with vocabulary.



It is quite simple what carries on after death: the aggregates, propelled by the defilements, carry on and a new being reappears.
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Re: Rebirth and morality.

Postby Indrajala » Fri Jun 04, 2010 1:40 am

Dexing wrote:
Huseng wrote:Buddha and many other enlightened masters of old and present assert rebirth is real. Some also remark that they have recollection of past lives. There are also plenty of cases where children have accurate memories of past lives.

Rebirth is real.


No disrespect meant, but this is kind of sad. Replace "Buddha and enlightened masters" with "Jesus and disciples", "rebirth" with "Heaven" or "God", and "children with accurate memories of past lives" with "many people with consistent near-death experiences"....

I am not saying rebirth is not real. I believe it is the most likely case. But to be completely honest, you have no idea.

We can say so with a certain amount of faith, but no degree of certainty.

However, the teaching of rebirth gives our practice direction. Only that. Simple.

:namaste:



Why examine Buddhist thought the lens of a dislike for Christianity?
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Re: Rebirth and morality.

Postby Dexing » Fri Jun 04, 2010 1:58 am

Huseng wrote:Why examine Buddhist thought the lens of a dislike for Christianity?


I'm not.

I'm saying your conclusion that "rebirth is real" based on hearsay is just the same. You must be completely honest. You have no idea. Since it is merely faith and not certainty, why cling so tightly to any belief?

Granted the teaching is useful as a direction, but dwelling on it or any belief as reality like this will not be of much help to solving the issue at hand.

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Re: Rebirth and morality.

Postby m0rl0ck » Fri Jun 04, 2010 3:05 am

Luke wrote:
m0rl0ck wrote:Setting up karma and rebirth as some kind of mechanism to enforce good behaviour is an error imo. Just makes karma out to be Jehovah in drag

No, this idea about karma being "Jehovah in drag" or a "cosmic enforcer" is just a mental projection of yours coming from your cultural background. When Buddhist masters teach about karma, they are not giving commandments; they are just explaining the way things are: "Doing this will lead to suffering. Doing that will lead to happiness."



Maybe you misread something earlier in the thread. I find the view of buddhist morality dependent on rebirth and negative karmic consequence to be childish and simplistic. (tho i have to admit in my more superstitious moments i fall victim to it) I do not personally espouse that view and was satirizing it with the phrase "jehovah in drag".
Last edited by m0rl0ck on Fri Jun 04, 2010 3:21 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Rebirth and morality.

Postby m0rl0ck » Fri Jun 04, 2010 3:08 am

Luke wrote:
m0rl0ck wrote:and what is this thing you guys got for zen anyway. What did zen ever do to you? :)

I think what we are all reacting against is the "Zen" which is not really Zen Buddhism (you know people who do zazen, but who don't believe in karma and rebirth and who have little interest in core Buddhist beliefs).



Working with prejudices like that can be great practice. I wish you luck.
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Re: Rebirth and morality.

Postby Indrajala » Fri Jun 04, 2010 3:38 am

Dexing wrote:
Huseng wrote:Why examine Buddhist thought the lens of a dislike for Christianity?


I'm not.

I'm saying your conclusion that "rebirth is real" based on hearsay is just the same. You must be completely honest. You have no idea. Since it is merely faith and not certainty, why cling so tightly to any belief?

Granted the teaching is useful as a direction, but dwelling on it or any belief as reality like this will not be of much help to solving the issue at hand.

:namaste:


I can point to the research done by Ian Stevenson and Jim Tucker among others. That qualifies as a scientific approach to claims of children having past life memories. More often than not they reflect actual lives, events, places and persons.

So, it isn't a belief in rebirth, but a view founded on evidence as well as reasoning concerning the quality of the mind.

My view is reinforced when sages of the past also taught that rebirth is real. If I can establish the Buddha for example as a valid authority and source of knowledge, then indeed I can know through a valid testimony that rebirth occurs.
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Re: Rebirth and morality.

Postby m0rl0ck » Fri Jun 04, 2010 7:17 am

Huseng wrote:
Dexing wrote:
Huseng wrote:Why examine Buddhist thought the lens of a dislike for Christianity?


I'm not.

I'm saying your conclusion that "rebirth is real" based on hearsay is just the same. You must be completely honest. You have no idea. Since it is merely faith and not certainty, why cling so tightly to any belief?

Granted the teaching is useful as a direction, but dwelling on it or any belief as reality like this will not be of much help to solving the issue at hand.

:namaste:


I can point to the research done by Ian Stevenson and Jim Tucker among others. That qualifies as a scientific approach to claims of children having past life memories. More often than not they reflect actual lives, events, places and persons.



I have read about and seen videos of this kind of research and it was far from scientific imo. No alternative explanations of the phenomena presented as evidence were even considered. If you want to believe, all your results are suspect. Given the billions of humans on earth, how is it that only a few cases can be found to support the claims?

Do you have links to specific text or video? I keep an open mind about this because, frankly part of me would love to believe this is possible.
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Re: Rebirth and morality.

Postby Indrajala » Fri Jun 04, 2010 7:59 am

m0rl0ck wrote:Do you have links to specific text or video? I keep an open mind about this because, frankly part of me would love to believe this is possible.



Why would most human youth have the ability to recall past lives?

Interestingly in the cases studied more often than not the child remembers having died an untimely and often harsh death (accidental deaths, execution, etc...).

Here is the main website for the scholars I suggested (note it is U of Virginia):

http://www.healthsystem.virginia.edu/in ... s.cfm#CORT

They have books and articles and so on you can explore at your leisure.

The other thing with this research is claims of children remembering time in the womb and so on. This cannot be explained with current theories of memory, but nevertheless it occurs.
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Re: Rebirth and morality.

Postby Astus » Fri Jun 04, 2010 8:34 am

"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 Aemilius » Fri Jun 04, 2010 1:15 pm

I have thought about this matter in terms of investment and in terms of the society at large. Our societies have invested in the study of genetics, chromosomes etc 100 millions of Euros/$/yen annually, this means that we invest our money into a study that explains the true nature of our selves to be derived from genes, and not from karma and rebirth. If the society invested an equal amount of money to the research of karma and rebirth, our worldview would, as a consequence be very different !! Our heart is where our money is, says the proverb!
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Re: Rebirth and morality.

Postby Dexing » Fri Jun 04, 2010 1:24 pm

Huseng wrote:The other thing with this research is claims of children remembering time in the womb and so on. This cannot be explained with current theories of memory, but nevertheless it occurs.


And also verifiably, correct? :spy:

I have seen the documentaries and such on children remembering past lives. Half were accurate, the other half's stories fell apart.

But through my study and practice of the Dharma, I believe it is more than likely to be the case- rebirth.

But I also acknowledge that I honestly don't have a clue what happens after death, and clinging to the view as reality would probably be another thing to bind me to it.

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Re: Rebirth and morality.

Postby Indrajala » Fri Jun 04, 2010 4:02 pm

Aemilius wrote:I have thought about this matter in terms of investment and in terms of the society at large. Our societies have invested in the study of genetics, chromosomes etc 100 millions of Euros/$/yen annually, this means that we invest our money into a study that explains the true nature of our selves to be derived from genes, and not from karma and rebirth. If the society invested an equal amount of money to the research of karma and rebirth, our worldview would, as a consequence be very different !! Our heart is where our money is, says the proverb!


I think ideas like "darwinistic value" and "Evolutionary Psychology" and so on will be seen in the future as we now see craniology: theories based on less than complete facts. Some thinkers try to explain everything in terms of evolutionary value. It is far too shallow as even from the perspective of materialist biology humans have exceeded their genetic programming with the development of intelligence.

As you pointed out, a lot of capital is invested in genetics and so on which means people think they are quite valid and the people behind such theories are reliable.

Unfortunately almost no money is put into Abhidharma. :shrug:

Well at least not anymore. In ancient India they invested money into it.
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