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PostPosted: Sat Jun 26, 2010 4:18 am 
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Of course if I really wanted to send everyone screaming down the Path tearing their hair out, I could mention the Neither Changing nor Unchanging Discontinuum, and the rest of THAT family... I can see at least seven more possibilities that will of course all have to be dealt with in excruciatiing detail!

This is why it takes 25 years to be a lama....

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PostPosted: Sat Jun 26, 2010 12:51 pm 
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catmoon wrote:
This is why it takes 25 years to be a lama....


That's all??


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PostPosted: Sat Jun 26, 2010 1:50 pm 
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mudra wrote:
catmoon wrote:
This is why it takes 25 years to be a lama....


That's all??


Just ballpark figures, I'm no expert!

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PostPosted: Sat Jun 26, 2010 6:22 pm 
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:namaste: dear Catmoon,
Quote:
I can see at least seven more possibilities that will of course all have to be dealt with in excruciatiing detail!]


in the infinite field of views Noble Catmoon, there are many more than seven possibilities, considering that views are the substance of Mind and that all things 'can' be said to be expressions of mind. one could spend an inordinately long time itemising in excruciating detail every theory they can come up with and still get no closer to suchness... things just as they are. including 'rebirth'.

with best wishes,
from White Lotus.

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PostPosted: Sun Jun 27, 2010 2:47 am 
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catmoon wrote:
mudra wrote:
catmoon wrote:
This is why it takes 25 years to be a lama....


That's all??


Just ballpark figures, I'm no expert!


Looking at my Lamas I'd say it would take me about 25000 umm, rebirths. (If I really worked at it.)


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PostPosted: Sun Jun 27, 2010 5:41 am 
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Looking back at the OP, I think I should throw out the idea that nothing transmigrates. Nothing at all.

It's just a chain of cause and effect. There is no thing that rises out of the dying person and travels into the new person.

A pool ball analogy might work. When one ball strikes another, nothing transmigrates, no object travels between them. However, many characteristics of the first ball's motion can be imparted to the second ball. If the first ball was travelling fast, most of the time the struck ball will too. If the first ball was spinning, an opposite spin is imparted to the second ball. If the first ball is headed north, the second ball will tend to go northish as well.

So the motion of the second ball resembles that of the first ball in several ways, with nothing transmigrating at all. Maybe it's like that.

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PostPosted: Sun Jun 27, 2010 7:39 am 
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catmoon wrote:
Looking back at the OP, I think I should throw out the idea that nothing transmigrates. Nothing at all.

It's just a chain of cause and effect. There is no thing that rises out of the dying person and travels into the new person.

A pool ball analogy might work. When one ball strikes another, nothing transmigrates, no object travels between them. However, many characteristics of the first ball's motion can be imparted to the second ball. If the first ball was travelling fast, most of the time the struck ball will too. If the first ball was spinning, an opposite spin is imparted to the second ball. If the first ball is headed north, the second ball will tend to go northish as well.

So the motion of the second ball resembles that of the first ball in several ways, with nothing transmigrating at all. Maybe it's like that.



Such analogies are only useful if what they represent is properly established. There is a continuation of the aggregates.

Vasubandhu summarizes the process quite well here (18a-d):

Image

A sentient being (sattvadravyam) is rooted in the the ṣaḍāyatanaṃ (six sources) which are the loci of sensation and perception which include the eye, ear, nose, tongue, body, and mind. There is no ātman either within or outside these loci.

At death the physical apparatus fails and collapses, but the mental components, conditioned by the defilements, are propelled into further existences (bhava -- a unit of existence).

There is no ātman that transmigrates or that even forms a basis for a being to exist, but there is the whole process at work which is the aggregates (skandha).

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PostPosted: Sun Jun 27, 2010 11:10 am 
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Buddha Shakyamuni gave an example as to the fundamental mindstream in order to make clear what he meant when speaking of it. He said, the fundamental mindstream, when left alone, when not colored by obscuring states, is like a calm ocean and habitual patters and mental constructs are like waves that perturb the ocean - so there is no separation, because the waves are the ocean waters.
For a period of time the shape and form of the fundamental mindstream changes because of desire etc., but there is no actual separation between desire and the fundamental mindstream. If you had a basis and habitual patterns, there would be a separation.
Teachings about this topic are, for example, given in one of the other texts by Maitreya, the Madhyantavibhanga or Ütha Namche (dbus mtha’ rnam ‘bjed)
Middle Beyond Extremes: Maitreya's Madhyantavibhanga
http://www.amazon.de/Middle-Beyond-Extremes-Maitreyas-Madhyantavibhaga/dp/1559392703/ref=sr_1_fkmr0_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1277633116&sr=8-1-fkmr0


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PostPosted: Sun Jun 27, 2010 12:45 pm 
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dave wrote:
Teachings about this topic are, for example, given in one of the other texts by Maitreya, the Madhyantavibhanga ...
Middle Beyond Extremes: Maitreya's Madhyantavibhanga
http://www.amazon.de/Middle-Beyond-Extremes-Maitreyas-Madhyantavibhaga/dp/1559392703/ref=sr_1_fkmr0_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1277633116&sr=8-1-fkmr0


Yeah and that's such an easy read .... :juggling: (sarcasm intended).

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PostPosted: Mon Jun 28, 2010 12:29 am 
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Huseng wrote:
catmoon wrote:
Looking back at the OP, I think I should throw out the idea that nothing transmigrates. Nothing at all.

It's just a chain of cause and effect. There is no thing that rises out of the dying person and travels into the new person.

A pool ball analogy might work. When one ball strikes another, nothing transmigrates, no object travels between them. However, many characteristics of the first ball's motion can be imparted to the second ball. If the first ball was travelling fast, most of the time the struck ball will too. If the first ball was spinning, an opposite spin is imparted to the second ball. If the first ball is headed north, the second ball will tend to go northish as well.

So the motion of the second ball resembles that of the first ball in several ways, with nothing transmigrating at all. Maybe it's like that.



Such analogies are only useful if what they represent is properly established. There is a continuation of the aggregates.

Vasubandhu summarizes the process quite well here (18a-d):

Image

A sentient being (sattvadravyam) is rooted in the the ṣaḍāyatanaṃ (six sources) which are the loci of sensation and perception which include the eye, ear, nose, tongue, body, and mind. There is no ātman either within or outside these loci.

At death the physical apparatus fails and collapses, but the mental components, conditioned by the defilements, are propelled into further existences (bhava -- a unit of existence).

There is no ātman that transmigrates or that even forms a basis for a being to exist, but there is the whole process at work which is the aggregates (skandha).


A process at work is pretty much it. But one still needs to be careful in expressing this in order not to create an impression that the current "nama/mental" aggregates actually transmigrate as units that somehow maintain an independent identity. The word/idea of continuum needs to underlined.

(One of the 'complexities' of this thread is that it comes down to the context of which philosophical tenets we are applying in which context. Whether you subscribe to the the fourfold view of Buddhist philosophical tenets or not, the fact that Vasubandhu for example, is considered by many to be pretty much Cittamatrin, at the very least gives one the perspective that this is not the only view.)


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PostPosted: Mon Jun 28, 2010 2:35 am 
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mudra wrote:
A process at work is pretty much it. But one still needs to be careful in expressing this in order not to create an impression that the current "nama/mental" aggregates actually transmigrate as units that somehow maintain an independent identity. The word/idea of continuum needs to underlined.


How about a dependent identity? There is a relative identity that exists dependent on my set of aggregates.

I fail to see the need to constantly discuss how rebirth works in the absence of ātman. This is a topic that is continually brought up in Buddhist forums. "If there is no self, what is reborn?" It is quite simple: the aggregates, which are dependent on causes and conditions for their existence ergo empty of any inherent existence (svabhava), carry on post-mortem and a new person arises.

Is that person different or the same from that of the previous life?

I would answer with a rhetorical question: is there an any more real person that exists between two moments? There is continuity without absolute identity. However, there is relative identity. If you live your life trying to deny your own existence you'll probably go insane.



Quote:
(One of the 'complexities' of this thread is that it comes down to the context of which philosophical tenets we are applying in which context. Whether you subscribe to the the fourfold view of Buddhist philosophical tenets or not, the fact that Vasubandhu for example, is considered by many to be pretty much Cittamatrin, at the very least gives one the perspective that this is not the only view.)


There were two Vasubandhus. One was Asanga's brother and another existed in the following century. Later writers confused the two and assumed they were the same person. The Abhidharmakośa is not a Yogācāra text and I don't think it is Cittamatra.

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PostPosted: Mon Jun 28, 2010 6:17 am 
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Looking at the skhandas, the following things appear

1. Form. This cannot go forward. If it did, the dead body would physically move into the fetus, with probably fatal consequences to the mother!

2. Sensation. I see no objection to this process continuing and going forward.

3. Perception. This cannot go forward: it involves the ability to recognize a bell as a bell or a tree as a tree. The newborn has clearly lost that ability and must start building it up again.

4. Mental formations. This includes ideas opinions and prejudices. Most of this cannot go forward. If it all went forward newborns would appear with inherited opinions on things like the best way to wash a window or replace a spark plug.

5. Consciousness. This could go forward in the sense that perceiving can go on in the absence of knowledge.


So two of the skandhas can't go forward at all and #4 is real iffy. Just at a glance, no indepth study went into this.

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PostPosted: Mon Jun 28, 2010 7:32 am 
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Maybe i can answer catmoons questions.
During the death process the elements dissolve into each other until you have the mind-consciousness aggregate.
It is the consciousness which takes rebirth in any of the existences according to what the actions were.
During conception (the process of taking rebirth) the consciousness aggregate connects and all the other aggregates come into being step by step.
What takes rebirth are just the tendencies, not all the ideas and mental formations of every day life we find in our mind.


Last edited by dave on Mon Jun 28, 2010 7:46 am, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Mon Jun 28, 2010 7:36 am 
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catmoon wrote:
Looking at the skhandas, the following things appear

1. Form. This cannot go forward. If it did, the dead body would physically move into the fetus, with probably fatal consequences to the mother!

2. Sensation. I see no objection to this process continuing and going forward.

3. Perception. This cannot go forward: it involves the ability to recognize a bell as a bell or a tree as a tree. The newborn has clearly lost that ability and must start building it up again.

4. Mental formations. This includes ideas opinions and prejudices. Most of this cannot go forward. If it all went forward newborns would appear with inherited opinions on things like the best way to wash a window or replace a spark plug.

5. Consciousness. This could go forward in the sense that perceiving can go on in the absence of knowledge.


So two of the skandhas can't go forward at all and #4 is real iffy. Just at a glance, no indepth study went into this.



!. On the bardo you have a mental form, then this mental form goes in between the copulating parents and gets united with the process.

3. In bardo you have perceptions, and so also in the other six realms. According to Bardo Thödol you see your future parents, then you go into a swoon and lose consciousness.

4. You are born with latent tendencies that gradually manifest when you grow up, they certainly are there, like seeds that heve not yet sprouted.

5. Consciousness does not exist by itself, independent of an object and body ( or a subtle body, as in the bardo state).

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PostPosted: Mon Jun 28, 2010 8:38 am 
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According to Mipham Rinpoche's "Gateway of Knowledge"

12 links of interdependent origination,

The five psycho-physical aggregates, the eighteen constituents and the twelve ayatanas with their subdivisions are the factors which in dependence of each other come together in the process of dependant occurrence. By "name and form" (Nr.4) the five skandhas come together in the way that the four non-substantial skandhas (name) get a base through a physical body (form) which is the embryo.

Depending on "name and form" the inner ayatanas (Nr.5) occur: the ayatana of the eye, the ayatana of the ear, ..of the nose, ... of the tongue, ... of the ... of the body and the ayatana of a mind.

Based on the ayatanas contact (Nr.6) occurs. The capacity of the mind to connect with an object through the sense-faculties: the eye-consciousness is able to perceive form through the eye-sense-faculty, the ear-consciousness is able to perceive sound through the ear-sense-faculty and so on.

Due to the contact sensation (Nr.7) occurs. The embryo in the womb experiences gross sensations. It can be a pleasant sensation, pain ore neutral (indifferent) sensation.

Based on sensation craving or wanting (Nr.8) will occur. When there is a pleasant sensation, the desire to keep that pleasant sensation arises. The desire not to be without this pleasant sensation. When there is an unpleasant sensation, than one has the strong desire to be free from this. This desire can be equally strong, to the desire to have something. Both the desire to want something and the desire to get rid of something belongs to craving - the craving of to have or not to have.
A neutral sensation can also arise. This is, when one either wants to have something pleasant nor he wants to reject something unpleasant.
There are six kinds of craving, related to what sense- objects are involved. There can be craving on form-objects, sound-objects, smell-objects, taste-objects, tangible-objects, or mental objects.
Craving depends further on what realm a being is born in. Depending on ones karma one takes birth in one of the three realms /desire-, form-, formless realm). The craving which arises, is related to the respective realm.
In more details the craving in desire-realm is of 36 possibilities (there are different god-realms, human beings, animals, hungry ghosts, different kinds of hell-realms, altogether it makes up 36 possibilities of craving), within the form realm there are 17 kinds of craving, and in the formless realm there are 4.
Craving makes the "I", the "EGO" manifest. Before craving the potential of the concept or an notation about an "I" is there, is there, but this is the time it manifests.

Due to craving action, the grasping or taking hold of the object (Nr.9) occurs. This is related to the There are 4 kinds of grasping:
1. desirous grasping, 2. grasping for views, grasping for ethics and discipline, , 4. grasping for a self. The notation of an ego, of an I becomes manifest.

Due to "Grasping/taking hold of" existence (Nr.10), occurs in one of the three realms: desire-realm, form-realm, formless realm, according to ones karma).

Due to the existence occurs birth (Nr.11). When there is no obstacle, existence is followed by taking birth into one of the realms depending on ones karma. if there is an obstacle, like the embryo can be intact, but the being does not have the karma, birth does not occur.
Once one is born, as human or animal or in which ever realm, it depends on ones karma, if one fits into that kind of birth one has taken.

Once one is born, the five skandhas which are the basis for suffering are complete and manifested.

INNER DEPENDENT OCCURRENCE

Similarly, the way beings come into existence through the 5 skandhas is a process of dependent occurrence which is demonstrated in the 12 links of dependent occurence.
One system presents the 12 links as the way samsara occurs through a process of dependent occurrence:
1. the cause is ignorance,
2. ignorance lead to actions,
3. actions lead to consciousness,
4. consciousness leads to name and form,
5. name and form lead to the 6 ayatanas,
6 ayatanas lead to contact,
7. contact leads to sensation,
8. sensation leads to craving,
9. craving leads to taking hold of,
10. taking hold of leads to existence,
11. existence leads to birth,
12. birth leads to ageing and death.


Another system presents the 12 links as the way to reverse the process of dependent occurrence and thus get out of samsara:

first ignorance is given up,
when ignorance is given up actions are given up,
when actions are given up consciousness is given up,
when consciousness is given up name and form are given up,
when name and form are given up the 6 ayatanas are given up,
when the 6 ayatanas are given up contact is given up,
when contact is given up sensation is given up,
when sensation is given up craving is given up,
when craving is given up taking hold of is goven up,
when taking hold of is given up existence is given up,
when existence is given up birth is given up,
when birth is given up ageing and death is given up.

1. Ignorance. It means not to see, not to know, not to be aware. What is it that one does not see, know or is not aware of? That is the essence and the nature of everything. Because of this lack of awareness one develops wrong ideas about the skandhas:
In actual fact the skandhas are aggregates which have come together and they are impermanent. Because of ignorance one takes them to be permanent.
In actual fact the skandhas by nature bring about suffering. But when one is ignorant, one does not know that, and one sees them as something pleasant, something positive and the cause of happiness.
In actual fact there is no really existing independent self, but because of ignorance one clings to and identifies with the skandhas as a self.
In actual fact the skandhas is a variety of many different parts which have come together. But because of ignorance one can not see that, and one perceives them as being an entity, one thing.
As long as one has this ignorance of believing in the skandhas as being permanent, as being cause of happiness, as being a self, as being a singular entity, then the obscuring states of mind arise such as the three mind poisons of hate, desire and stupidity. This obscured state of mind causes actions.

2. Actions. The actions one does lead to birth within any of the different kinds of existence within samsara.
Positive actions and merit lead to a birth in the desire realm as a human being.
The result of negative and non-meritorious actions is to be reborn in lower states of existence within the desire realm, like in the hell state or as animals or hungry ghosts.
The result of unmoving actions, which is meditation, is to be born in the upper realms of existence such as form-realm or formless-realm.
As a result of virtuous actions one will experience happiness in the higher states of existence. As a result of unvirtuous actions one will experience suffering in the lower states of existence, and as a result of unmoving actions one will be reborn in the two higher realms of existence.



3. Consciousness It is the consciousness which takes rebirth in any of the existences according to what the actions were. This consciousness has two aspects to it:
a) The projecting consciousness which is going for the next rebirth,wherever it is: whether it is within the desire realm, the form-realm or in the formless-realm. Within the desire realm whether it is as gods, half gods, human beings, animals, hungry ghosts or beings experiencing hell states.
b) The projected consciousness is when the consciousness has come into any of the existences according to its content.It is like the effect, like the fruit.

For the rebirth to happen the causes and conditions have to come together. In this case the cause would be the consciousness seeking rebirth.When all the causes and conditions have come together the consciousness enters the womb and the rebirth has happened. Following the conception come name and form.

4. Name and form Name here refers to the four non-physical or non-substantial aggregates, to sensation, conception, mental events and the consciousness of the new being.
Form refers to the physical body, the embryo which starts to build and form. The first form is a very small and soft whitish substance. As it grows the shape of the body takes form and together with the sense organs the inner ayatanas occur.
Depending on birth ageing (Nr.12) occurs. Because death can happen right after birth, ageing starts in the moment following birth. Time goes, seconds, minutes, hours, days, weeks, months, years. There are some who die after a few seconds, some who die after one week, some after one year, etc. There is no certainty in how old one becomes, if it is only a few days or very old, like 80 years. Following ageing death will come. Death means that the continuity of life ceases. The five skandhas deteriorate again. Also one can say that death as such is happening all the time, each moment ceases, but the continuity is ageing.. But here death relates to the end of ones life-span. The death-experience is very individual. Death is the moment, when the breathing stops. There is the outer breathing and the inner breathing. So there are many variations. It may be that the outer breathing stops and it takes a long time, before the inner breathing stops. Or it can happen simultaneously, or it can happen quite shortly one after another, depending on the karma death itself is experienced very differently. Usually it is a very painful experience, full of suffering , a turmoil. Depending on the individual karma one is saying different things at the time of death. Some are crying for their mother, some start to grieve off sounds of goats or other animals. Others are wailing, or crying, or screaming or whatever. Also one can be very attached and because of that the strongest pain is that one doesn't want to leave. One can be paranoid and full of fear.
Because the kind of karma which one has accumulated, the death-moment will be very individual according to these karma.
Once the inner breathing has stopped, the mind leaves the body and starts wandering. One has left this life, continuity has stopped for this life


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PostPosted: Mon Jun 28, 2010 9:25 am 
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Aemilius wrote:
4. You are born with latent tendencies that gradually manifest when you grow up, they certainly are there, like seeds that heve not yet sprouted.


This is very pertinent and worth thinking about for anyone. I think one can quietly verify the validity of this idea just through reflecting on your own development and how certain tendencies, habits and interests existed despite minimal environmental factors that would encourage such things.
Quote:
5. Consciousness does not exist by itself, independent of an object and body ( or a subtle body, as in the bardo state).


I've heard the third link on the twelve links of dependent origination (consciousness) described as causal consciousness. What do you think about that?

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PostPosted: Mon Jun 28, 2010 1:15 pm 
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Huseng wrote:

I've heard the third link on the twelve links of dependent origination (consciousness) described as causal consciousness. What do you think about that?


There may be good reason for this. Karen Armstrong, who has a pretty strong rep for doing serious research, said that the term used does not refer to general consciousness, but to the consciousness of the last living moment. Sort of the end product of a life.


While I'm at it, she also says that "name & form" is just a Pali idiom for the term "person".

So there's some more marbles to rattle around in your gourd!

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PostPosted: Mon Jun 28, 2010 2:57 pm 
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catmoon wrote:
Huseng wrote:

I've heard the third link on the twelve links of dependent origination (consciousness) described as causal consciousness. What do you think about that?


There may be good reason for this. Karen Armstrong, who has a pretty strong rep for doing serious research, said that the term used does not refer to general consciousness, but to the consciousness of the last living moment. Sort of the end product of a life.


While I'm at it, she also says that "name & form" is just a Pali idiom for the term "person".

So there's some more marbles to rattle around in your gourd!


I think the problem is that while the twelve links of dependent origination were taught, a lot of the finer details were not recorded and thus Buddhist thinkers throughout the centuries have had to pin down the sequence and mechanism.

To me it doesn't make sense to think of the third link as a consciousness connected to any sensory apparatus because this is before the six sources or ṣaḍāyatana have arisen.

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PostPosted: Mon Jun 28, 2010 3:11 pm 
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Huseng wrote:
mudra wrote:
A process at work is pretty much it. But one still needs to be careful in expressing this in order not to create an impression that the current "nama/mental" aggregates actually transmigrate as units that somehow maintain an independent identity. The word/idea of continuum needs to underlined.


How about a dependent identity? There is a relative identity that exists dependent on my set of aggregates.

I fail to see the need to constantly discuss how rebirth works in the absence of ātman. This is a topic that is continually brought up in Buddhist forums. "If there is no self, what is reborn?" It is quite simple: the aggregates, which are dependent on causes and conditions for their existence ergo empty of any inherent existence (svabhava), carry on post-mortem and a new person arises.

Is that person different or the same from that of the previous life?

I would answer with a rhetorical question: is there an any more real person that exists between two moments? There is continuity without absolute identity. However, there is relative identity. If you live your life trying to deny your own existence you'll probably go insane.



Quote:
(One of the 'complexities' of this thread is that it comes down to the context of which philosophical tenets we are applying in which context. Whether you subscribe to the the fourfold view of Buddhist philosophical tenets or not, the fact that Vasubandhu for example, is considered by many to be pretty much Cittamatrin, at the very least gives one the perspective that this is not the only view.)


There were two Vasubandhus. One was Asanga's brother and another existed in the following century. Later writers confused the two and assumed they were the same person. The Abhidharmakośa is not a Yogācāra text and I don't think it is Cittamatra.


It's not really a question of denying what you are positing, it is more having a clear way of understanding that it is a continuum of these aggregates. The trouble manifests itself in a sort of fantasized idea that a singular, atman like set of aggregates goes thru rebirths - eventually it ends up creating a clinging to that. It's not a question of denying identity or a particular continuum at all.

The two Vasubandhu thing: it is one theory. What I was pointing out, if you read it more closely, was that the fact that Vasubandhu is considered by many to be Cittamatrin, and yet like other masters (and of course the greatest example is the Buddha Shakyamuni himself) could talk/explain according to the different terms of different philosophical views, should give us some insight into the fact that there is not one way to look at it s there are many different types of minds. And it is in fact useful to look at it from different perspectives.


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PostPosted: Mon Jun 28, 2010 3:19 pm 
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:namaste: dear Noble Friends, my peanut...

one can talk about the movement of Mind from one body to another. everything is Mind and so if there is a continuation, it must be a Mind continuation. the Mind moving from one body to another... Mind. the body into which it enters... Mind.
if there is reincarnation, it will be a Mind thing. Mind is not dependent upon the five skhandas and yet works through them.

the Mind is mysterious, and so trying to understand the nature of reincarnation will be impossible. ultimately Mind is beyond analysis.

best wishes, White Lotus.

thats my take on it. i dont know the official buddhist line, but it seems to me that since everything is ultimateley Mind, reincarnation must be a function of Mind.

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in any matters of importance. dont rely on me. i may not know what i am talking about. take what i say as mere speculation. i am not ordained. nor do i have a formal training. i do believe though that if i am wrong on any point. there are those on this site who i hope will quickly point out my mistakes.


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