Death of Rabbit; Question about Rebirth

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Death of Rabbit; Question about Rebirth

Postby Son » Thu Jun 07, 2012 7:53 pm

Yesterday my mother's pet rabbit, who was very very young, passed away. She was accidentally stepped on and after several moments her heart gave out--nothing was injured, but rabbits are very fragile and sensitive. Up until the very moment he died, Floo was very happy, playful, sweet, and joyous, even as his heart gave out he tried to show affection. I knew this was a positive sign. Also, one minute after I had found out he had died, I saw a large brown rabbit eating grass in someone's lawn, who stared at me, ate, and cleaned his face, and didn't run away. I thought this was a good sign as well.

I buried him, so I decided to do blessings. With my mala I chanted "om akshobhya hum" 108 times, the mantra of The Immovable One. I did not know the Mitrugpa mantra very well, for helping beings in the lower realms and preventing animal births, so I didn't use it.
NAMO RATNA TRAYAYA OM KAMKANI KAMKANI ROCHANI
ROCHANI TROTANI TROTANI TRASANI TRASANI PRATIHANA
PRATIHANA SARVA KARMA PARAM PARA NI ME SARVA SATTVA
NANCHA SVAHA


I had nice feelings, and the weather became cool and clear, after a breeze passed. I also had the feeling that he had already more or less found a place to be born, and that I was helping him but that he wasn't completely lost.

That being said, I was thinking a lot about the bardo of becoming, and something occurred to me, although not for the first time. It's true that if no human beings are being reproduced, a being in the bardo can't become a human being, and they can't enter the womb. However, what about the opposite scenario...? Say someone is fertilizing millions of eggs and cloning humans every day. If the human population is increased perpetually, where are these beings coming from? So many beings are wandering through the bardo, but only a small portion of them are able to become human. So if there are millions of more humans being born than normal, what happens? Do the eggs mysteriously not grow? Confusing.
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Re: Death of Rabbit; Question about Rebirth

Postby PadmaVonSamba » Fri Jun 08, 2012 3:51 am

Son wrote: So many beings are wandering through the bardo, but only a small portion of them are able to become human. So if there are millions of more humans being born than normal, what happens? Do the eggs mysteriously not grow? Confusing.


"Bardo" isn't a place. It's not like some kind of cosmic waiting room. It is a state of subtle mind. Bardo means gap. In the context of rebirth, it refers to the gap between one accumulation of causes (this life) and another accumulation of causes (next life). When the causes of cognition and the supporting karmic mental activity (and physical conditions) come together, one has the experience of one realm or another. When you die, the conditions for the experience of this or that realm begin to unravel.

Compared with other beings, such as mosquitoes for example, humans are relatively scarce. Even animals who are less populous than humans do not have the opportunity to study the dharma. So it is not just the fact of being a homo sapiens primate, but also having all of the conditions to practice dharma, or even wanting to, is what is extremely rare. If there is an increase in the human population, then more opportunity exists for beings to be born as human. But beings are not waiting around for unoccupied human bodies to show up, like people waiting for taxi cabs. Likewise, there isn't some limited number of beings full of potential human rebirth, and when they have all found homes then all the other humans afterwards would be born with no consciousness to ride around in them, like zombies. It isn't like that.
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Re: Death of Rabbit; Question about Rebirth

Postby kirtu » Fri Jun 08, 2012 4:42 am

Son wrote:Yesterday my mother's pet rabbit, who was very very young, passed away. She was accidentally stepped on and after several moments her heart gave out--nothing was injured, but rabbits are very fragile and sensitive. Up until the very moment he died, Floo was very happy, playful, sweet, and joyous, even as his heart gave out he tried to show affection. I knew this was a positive sign.


I'm very sorry that your Mom's pet rabbit died. May your little Floo quickly be reborn in the Pure Lands. Floo was clearly very loved and very loving. It's a good thing that he has companions who can recite mantra for her.

We don't know how rabbits will experience the bardo so it would be good to continue reciting mantra for him.

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Re: Death of Rabbit; Question about Rebirth

Postby Son » Fri Jun 08, 2012 10:01 am

PadmaVonSamba wrote:
Son wrote: So many beings are wandering through the bardo, but only a small portion of them are able to become human. So if there are millions of more humans being born than normal, what happens? Do the eggs mysteriously not grow? Confusing.


"Bardo" isn't a place. It's not like some kind of cosmic waiting room. It is a state of subtle mind. Bardo means gap. In the context of rebirth, it refers to the gap between one accumulation of causes (this life) and another accumulation of causes (next life). When the causes of cognition and the supporting karmic mental activity (and physical conditions) come together, one has the experience of one realm or another. When you die, the conditions for the experience of this or that realm begin to unravel.

Compared with other beings, such as mosquitoes for example, humans are relatively scarce. Even animals who are less populous than humans do not have the opportunity to study the dharma. So it is not just the fact of being a homo sapiens primate, but also having all of the conditions to practice dharma, or even wanting to, is what is extremely rare. If there is an increase in the human population, then more opportunity exists for beings to be born as human. But beings are not waiting around for unoccupied human bodies to show up, like people waiting for taxi cabs. Likewise, there isn't some limited number of beings full of potential human rebirth, and when they have all found homes then all the other humans afterwards would be born with no consciousness to ride around in them, like zombies. It isn't like that.
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... No, I understand... I know what the bardo is, I didn't try to explain it that way. It's obvious that beings consciousnesses are simply reproduced between a passing body and an arising body. But in order for consciousness to emerge into a human body, the karma must be ready.

What occurred to me is that after a certain point of rapid excessive human cloning, there are only so many beings "experiencing the bardo" within that time frame that have the karmic opportunity to be human. In other words, even if several bardo beings appear around the forming eggs, if their karmic aversion to human life is so great, they can't become human, they'll be lead away from that. It is a fact that there are only a certain number of beings passing away in our planet. I didn't really find the answer to my question in your reply. I'm aware that beings do no wait around for unoccupied bodies to show up.

Very small living beings, billions of them, are passing away right now, but do we say that if there is a huge excess of human production, some of those beings achieve human birth due to the mere opportunity for it? Is it the mere physical opportunity of the homosapien birth--or any birth--that draws in the becoming being passing through that bardo? Would that explain why so many humans seem to realize so little of their potential, seem to be "not fully human beings," more like animals or pretas and so forth? For me, this is what it makes me think of. Which, according to what you said, it is the ability, opportunity, and desire to practice Dharma that is rare--I agree, and this is clearly observable.

I just think you took some of what I said in a wrong way.
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Re: Death of Rabbit; Question about Rebirth

Postby Son » Fri Jun 08, 2012 10:20 am

kirtu wrote:
Son wrote:Yesterday my mother's pet rabbit, who was very very young, passed away. She was accidentally stepped on and after several moments her heart gave out--nothing was injured, but rabbits are very fragile and sensitive. Up until the very moment he died, Floo was very happy, playful, sweet, and joyous, even as his heart gave out he tried to show affection. I knew this was a positive sign.


I'm very sorry that your Mom's pet rabbit died. May your little Floo quickly be reborn in the Pure Lands. Floo was clearly very loved and very loving. It's a good thing that he has companions who can recite mantra for her.

We don't know how rabbits will experience the bardo so it would be good to continue reciting mantra for him.

Kirt


Thank you so much. I think that makes people feel better. I didn't experience any negativity due to this but others very much did. As it is said, there are four modes of death; expiration of karma, end of lifespan, both simultaneously, and a destructive karma. I feel like because it was accidental, it was destructive karma--and it was very accurate to rabbit nature.

But I have a question regarding Pure Lands. When I began studying Theravada literature long ago, I first learned about the sudhavasa spheres--five worlds of existence in the Rupaloka (form universe). Since that time, after studying all streams of Buddhism, I have learned exponentially about cosmology and so forth. The sudhavasa spheres are called "pure abodes," and they're described as where non-returns (who have eliminated the first five fetters) are reborn, if they don't awaken and achieve release during life. In some later Pure Land texts, however, we seem to find descriptions that are more along the lines of planetary worlds, in different directions in the universe, but at the same time it seems obvious they are pure abodes of the rupaloka. But I'm digressing!

Really what I'm asking about is, I bring this up now because of my curiosity to the way you "picture" and "envision" the five pure abodes--not to be confused with a "pure Buddha field" which is the field of a Samyaksambuddha that is not impure, or mixed, but completely pure (no hells, no inferior paths to enlightenment). Is that a fair question? I'm sorry if I'm just being confusing. But this question of an individual's picturing always occurs to me once I remember the "pure Buddha field" in contrast to "pure abode." It's obvious there cannot be an absence of the miserable spheres in a sphere, and there isn't male or female in the pure abodes. So, when you wish for Floo to be reborn quickly in the Pure Land, I wonder if you mean a sudhavasa sphere, or a pure Buddha field...?

Again, thank you so much on behalf of others for your consolation. That's such a blessing.
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Re: Death of Rabbit; Question about Rebirth

Postby Paul » Fri Jun 08, 2012 11:00 am

Son wrote:What occurred to me is that after a certain point of rapid excessive human cloning, there are only so many beings "experiencing the bardo" within that time frame that have the karmic opportunity to be human.


What you're discussing would only be a problem if there were a finite number of beings, for example only one planet. Since there are countless beings and countless places for them to be reorn, there can't be a 'logjam' like the one you're describing. If there was a limited number of beings etc. then I think you would be right.
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Re: Death of Rabbit; Question about Rebirth

Postby PadmaVonSamba » Fri Jun 08, 2012 1:45 pm

Son wrote:What occurred to me is that after a certain point of rapid excessive human cloning, there are only so many beings "experiencing the bardo" within that time frame that have the karmic opportunity to be human.


I don't understand this. I can't figure out what you are talking about. Sorry.

Son wrote: In other words, even if several bardo beings appear around the forming eggs

Well, that is not actually what is happening. There are no "bardo beings" and they don't approach forming eggs.

Son wrote: if there is a huge excess of human production, some of those beings achieve human birth due to the mere opportunity for it?


The arising of a human form is totally conditional, so yes, of course the number of beings born as humans is exactly the same as the number of humans being born! So, for example, if Earth becomes unihabitable for humans, no beings will be born as human on the Earth. But 'humans on Earth' is a conditional experience. What defines 'human' in Buddhist terms is a constant dissatisfaction with the conditionality of things which is always changing, and that dissatisfaction comes from clinging to things as if they were not changing, and then suffering when they do. So, this experience could happen anywhere the conditions are right.

Son wrote:I just think you took some of what I said in a wrong way.


Yes!! That is very likely, and also I have trouble grasping what it is you are talking about.

It is helpful to think of the appearance of a being as similar to a single drop of water that splashes up, out of the waves of a great churning ocean, goes up into the air for a moment and then comes back down, returning to become part of the ocean again. There are not a lot of separate drops of water in the ocean. Only when conditions isolate a part of the ocean does it become a single drop of water.

If we imagine that drop of water as a thinking being, it mistakenly sees itself as a 'self' taking birth into the air, flying around for its whole life (of a split second) and then dying (returning to the sea). The drop of water contains all sorts of elements, salt, hydrogen, some tiny microbes, whatever. The various conditions of the wind, the moon's pull, maybe some earthquake movement, are like karma, all contributing to the opportunity for that drop of water to have it's short little "life", it's moment in the sun, its fifteen minutes of fame. It's existence is the brief culmination of a series of events taking place simultaneously.

If you take that example and stretch it out to 70 or 90 years, add a few more ingredients, you have a similar situation in which beings are born in as humans, or depending on the conditions, as beings in another realm.

But the point is, it is merely the conditions which arise together as the appearance of beings in realms which is what we call 'beings in realms'. Outside of that simultaneous arising of conditions, there is no thing that can be called a constant being (atma).

So this is why I don't understand your question. To me it is like asking what happens to all those separate drops of water in the ocean if there are no waves to cause them to splash up into the air. And that makes no sense to me, because there are no separate drops until the splashing waves cause them to take on that appearance.

Similarly, there are no beings until the conditions actually become beings.
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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.
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Re: Death of Rabbit; Question about Rebirth

Postby Son » Fri Jun 08, 2012 2:41 pm

Paul wrote:
Son wrote:What occurred to me is that after a certain point of rapid excessive human cloning, there are only so many beings "experiencing the bardo" within that time frame that have the karmic opportunity to be human.


What you're discussing would only be a problem if there were a finite number of beings, for example only one planet. Since there are countless beings and countless places for them to be reborn, there can't be a 'logjam' like the one you're describing. If there was a limited number of beings etc. then I think you would be right.


I had thought of that. It's not a question of a finite number of beings, but rather a finite number of beings on earth with human potential. But... okay I just deleted about two paragraphs there. Due to the increasingly innumerable amount of beings above the planetary levels, this problem really wouldn't ever arise--but it is meaningful. I used to not like the idea of interplanetary rebirth, and stuck to the notion that when birth occurs on other planets, it is either because beings are falling into lower births on a planet, or because beings on that planet are being reborn. But mulling over the bardo, since it is the "wind" of your past karma that blows you like a storm through the bardo, if your karma requires you to exist on another planet due to human birth, and you have the appropriate circumstances in the bardo, then you could be transported to another planet.

This view explains why almost everyone that has an earthly birth stays on their own planet, and also how interplanetary birth would be facilitated. Beyond that, in the formless sphere there are innumerable beings immediately passing away from their state, and since some of them can attain human birth, an infinite number of them are at all times.

What are your thoughts?
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Re: Death of Rabbit; Question about Rebirth

Postby PadmaVonSamba » Sun Jun 10, 2012 2:37 am

Son wrote:This view explains why almost everyone that has an earthly birth stays on their own planet...

What are your thoughts?


We don't know about other planets.
Most people on this planet stay here because:
1. it's the only place we know of where we can live
2. most of us don't have a :alien:
3. the nearest planet where are likely to find a place where we would want to live would be so far away,
that if you left today you would be long dead before you ever arrived there.

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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: Death of Rabbit; Question about Rebirth

Postby kirtu » Sun Jun 10, 2012 5:45 am

Son wrote:In some later Pure Land texts, however, we seem to find descriptions that are more along the lines of planetary worlds, in different directions in the universe, but at the same time it seems obvious they are pure abodes of the rupaloka.


This is basically how one of my Nyingma lamas describes Amitabha's Pure Land.

I don't really pay much attention to the five pure abodes.

So, when you wish for Floo to be reborn quickly in the Pure Land, I wonder if you mean a sudhavasa sphere, or a pure Buddha field...?


I mean that I wish the very best for Floo, and if he can be reborn in a Pure Buddha Land, then I very much wish that. Actually traditionally animals can't be reborn in a Buddha Land but I wish it nonetheless. Animals can take very positive rebirths, In the Sakya tradition it is anecdotally mentioned that companion animals can easily be reborn in the human realm and pursue the Dharma esp. if their human companions are Dharma practitioners and raise the intention for them to take an auspicious rebirth.

Again, thank you so much on behalf of others for your consolation. That's such a blessing.


Certainly, but in reality you are a great blessing to Floo for reciting mantra for him. Mantra is a very powerful force for positive rebirth and to encounter the Dharma.

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