Soto-zen, Dogen and reincarnation

Re: Soto-zen, Dogen and reincarnation

Postby Blue Garuda » Wed Jul 18, 2012 5:01 pm

Simon E. wrote:" That remains somewhat unclear "Is what the present Dalai Lama actually said .
I suspect no one was consciously lying, and there are no indications of hallucination.
There are though extremely good reasons for any given group to see what it wants to see and hear what it wants to hear.

I have no premise. I have no opinion. I dont actually even think its a very serious question.
But I realise that it represents an emotional stance for some.
If Reincarnation could be shown to be true or false with no doubts at all, it would make no difference at all to my Dzogchen practice.
None.


Good point.

What is perhaps more difficult to sieve out is whether statements made by Zen practitioners are always from the perspective of Zen, or contain elements of Shinto etc. I may bow and clap to the Kamiza before my Zazen. LOL :)

In the case of a Buddhist who practices Dzogchen, we must be careful to establish, as you clarified, whether they are speaking or writing from a Buddhist perspective or a Dzogchen perspective.

What may be deemed necessary for one may not be deemed necessary for the other. This would also hold true, of course, for Christians practising Dzogchen. If you only practise Dzogchen and do not feel that you are also a Buddhist then there is only the one perspective.

There is a good argument for stating that if you are a practitioner of Dzogchen then there is only the Dzogchen perspective; whatever else you may practise is done within that context. Would you agree?

The question whcih I fear will remain unanswered, is whether Dogen was giving exclusively a Zen perpective .
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Re: Soto-zen, Dogen and reincarnation

Postby Simon E. » Wed Jul 18, 2012 5:07 pm

I certainly think that one who approaches Dzogchen from a Buddhist perspective may experience dissonance if they depart from a Buddhist framework. I am sure that is an experience known to more than one DC member.
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Re: Soto-zen, Dogen and reincarnation

Postby Blue Garuda » Wed Jul 18, 2012 5:10 pm

Simon E. wrote:I certainly think that one who approaches Dzogchen from a Buddhist perspective may experience dissonance if they depart from a Buddhist framework. I am sure that is an experience known to more than one DC member.


Sorry edited while you were posting. We seem to agree. ;)
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Re: Soto-zen, Dogen and reincarnation

Postby Mr. G » Wed Jul 18, 2012 7:02 pm

    What we call the three temporal periods are the three time periods in which we receive the retribution from our good and evil acts. These are, first, the retribution experienced in one’s present life; second, the retribution experienced in one’s next life; and third, the retribution experienced in some later future life.Through your practice of the Way of the Buddhas and Ancestors you learn, first off, to clarify what the principle of karmic retribution in these three time periods is.If you do not do so, you will make many errors and fall into false views. You will not just fall into false views, you will also give rise to evil ways and undergo suffering for a long time.

    - Dogen - On Karmic Retribution in the Three Temporal Periods (Sanji-Go)
    How foolish you are,
    grasping the letter of the text and ignoring its intention!
    - Vasubandhu
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Re: Soto-zen, Dogen and reincarnation

Postby catmoon » Wed Jul 18, 2012 8:32 pm

Huseng wrote:
If, however, you are a staunch externalist set in denying rebirth it really doesn't matter how many testimonies of adept yogis you are presented with as it will just come across as nonsense to you.

You can't equate UFOs and other such things to rebirth.



I wasn't making any pronouncements on the reality of rebirth, I was was just countering the assertion that rebirth has some kind of legitimacy in the scientific community.

I was not equating UFOs and rebirth, I was equating some of the methods used to verify each. In other words, rebirth can no more rely on science for it's legitimacy than UFOs can. The Christians tried to co-opt science to support their beliefs and called it Creation Science. I would hope Buddhists would do rather better.

It might be worth mentioning that if one is a staunch Buddhist set on affirming rebirth, it doesn't matter how many testimonies of adept scientists.... etc etc. Staunchness has no bearing on the truth of positions held.

I'm all in favour of believing in rebirth, I'm just picky about the arguments used in supporting it.
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Re: Soto-zen, Dogen and reincarnation

Postby Jnana » Wed Jul 18, 2012 9:42 pm

Simon E. wrote:I have no premise. I have no opinion. I dont actually even think its a very serious question.

Yes, well, it seems that you do have some interest in voicing qualms and doubts about issues related to post-mortem continuum, etc.
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Re: Soto-zen, Dogen and reincarnation

Postby dharmagoat » Wed Jul 18, 2012 9:42 pm

catmoon wrote:I'm all in favour of believing in rebirth, I'm just picky about the arguments used in supporting it.

I am similar, except that I favour neither believing nor disbelieving in rebirth, and I question any arguments that assert or deny it.
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Re: Soto-zen, Dogen and reincarnation

Postby Indrajala » Thu Jul 19, 2012 6:02 am

catmoon wrote:I was not equating UFOs and rebirth, I was equating some of the methods used to verify each. In other words, rebirth can no more rely on science for it's legitimacy than UFOs can. The Christians tried to co-opt science to support their beliefs and called it Creation Science. I would hope Buddhists would do rather better.


Nonsense. With the aforementioned case studies out of the University of Virginia they have verified that these children have memories which actually reflect real life people and events, which can often be verified with the people involved.

With people claiming to have been abducted by aliens you cannot verify their account with the purported aliens involved. In the case of children recollecting being someone prior to their conception, they can and have verified the details with the people the child claims to remember as part of their past life.

The methodology used by these researchers has been proper. They're neither Buddhist nor religious about their research.

They have evidence highly suggestive of reincarnation, not proof. You cannot prove this sort of thing under laboratory conditions, let alone realistically recreate it.
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Re: Soto-zen, Dogen and reincarnation

Postby Simon E. » Thu Jul 19, 2012 8:49 am

Jnana wrote:
Simon E. wrote:I have no premise. I have no opinion. I dont actually even think its a very serious question.

Yes, well, it seems that you do have some interest in voicing qualms and doubts about issues related to post-mortem continuum, etc.

My qualms are about any group voicing claims for phenomena that they have no personal consciousness or knowledge of simply because it fits a belief system to which they subscribe.
I think its...unseemly.
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Re: Soto-zen, Dogen and reincarnation

Postby Blue Garuda » Thu Jul 19, 2012 9:06 am

Simon E. wrote:
Jnana wrote:
Simon E. wrote:I have no premise. I have no opinion. I dont actually even think its a very serious question.

Yes, well, it seems that you do have some interest in voicing qualms and doubts about issues related to post-mortem continuum, etc.

My qualms are about any group voicing claims for phenomena that they have no personal consciousness or knowledge of simply because it fits a belief system to which they subscribe.
I think its...unseemly.


Yes, but you also deny people's personal experiences and attribute them to hallucination when they express them (as on another thread).

I wonder what you would think if you actually experienced memories of past lives, the presence of a spirit realm etc.

My guess is you would probably not believe your own senses either, in which case the discussion of evidence here is completely pointless for you. ;)

I wasn't aware that the University of Virginia was staffed by Buddhists who conducted the research from that viewpoint, although you probably dismiss their evidence also. This is because you do have a view and a prejudice (pre-judgement). Unless we have no experience or memory, we all do. I know of no science which claims that we arrive at every new experience with the ability to dismiss all that our minds already contain. If a person's mind contains memories of past lives, or if the person is a researcher who hears and verifies those memories, they can no more be unbiased than you or I.
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Re: Soto-zen, Dogen and reincarnation

Postby Indrajala » Thu Jul 19, 2012 9:19 am

Simon E. wrote:My qualms are about any group voicing claims for phenomena that they have no personal consciousness or knowledge of simply because it fits a belief system to which they subscribe.
I think its...unseemly.


How about people's common conviction in the big bang?

Nobody personally witnessed it and most of humanity has never researched it enough to have anything more than a belief that it happened, dependent on the good testimonies of reliable authorities in science.

In Buddhism we can rely on the good testimonies of reliable authorities while depending on inference and evidence where it exists to support a reasonable view of rebirth.

Like I said above, in such a context it is no longer a "belief" but a reasonable view to hold. It is my hope that Buddhists will not simply believe in rebirth as some kind of religious fantasy, but as a reasonable view that can be defended and advocated based on reasonable grounds coupled with evidence.
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Re: Soto-zen, Dogen and reincarnation

Postby Simon E. » Thu Jul 19, 2012 10:26 am

You are quite right Blue Garuda. We are using entirely different modalities, and can therefore arrive at no common agreement concerning what constitutes objective fact.
I have no right to question other peoples belief systems, particularly when those systems are important constituents to them in the way that they view life.
I said before that I will stay away from discussions I can have no useful input to.

This time I will stick to that.

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Re: Soto-zen, Dogen and reincarnation

Postby Simon E. » Thu Jul 19, 2012 10:32 am

Huseng wrote:
Simon E. wrote:My qualms are about any group voicing claims for phenomena that they have no personal consciousness or knowledge of simply because it fits a belief system to which they subscribe.
I think its...unseemly.


How about people's common conviction in the big bang?

Nobody personally witnessed it and most of humanity has never researched it enough to have anything more than a belief that it happened, dependent on the good testimonies of reliable authorities in science.

In Buddhism we can rely on the good testimonies of reliable authorities while depending on inference and evidence where it exists to support a reasonable view of rebirth.

Like I said above, in such a context it is no longer a "belief" but a reasonable view to hold. It is my hope that Buddhists will not simply believe in rebirth as some kind of religious fantasy, but as a reasonable view that can be defended and advocated based on reasonable grounds coupled with evidence.

The proof or otherwise of the existence of the BIg Bang ( which is posited on repeatable and consistent data concerning objectively observed phenomena ) would likewise make no difference at all to my Dzogchen practice.
But as I have said, you have your faith...and that works for you.
I will leave you in peace with good wishes.

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Re: Soto-zen, Dogen and reincarnation

Postby Jnana » Thu Jul 19, 2012 5:30 pm

Simon E. wrote:
Jnana wrote:
Simon E. wrote:I have no premise. I have no opinion. I dont actually even think its a very serious question.

Yes, well, it seems that you do have some interest in voicing qualms and doubts about issues related to post-mortem continuum, etc.

My qualms are about any group voicing claims for phenomena that they have no personal consciousness or knowledge of simply because it fits a belief system to which they subscribe.
I think its...unseemly.

I'd suggest that it depends on the intention of the speaker and the context of the discussion. Mentioning the six higher knowledges in the context of a discussion of the Buddhadharma is relevant and generally appropriate to the situation. Of course, as Atiśa states in his Bodhimārgapradīpapañjikā, trying to actually lead sentient beings onto the bodhisattva path without having first realized the higher knowledges is like the blind leading the blind.
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Re: Soto-zen, Dogen and reincarnation

Postby dharmagoat » Thu Jul 19, 2012 10:46 pm

Simon E. wrote:I have no right to question other peoples belief systems, particularly when those systems are important constituents to them in the way that they view life.
I said before that I will stay away from discussions I can have no useful input to.

You what? You have every right to question other people's belief systems, especially if those people are presenting their beliefs as facts. You also have every right to present your own belief system, which others have the right to question. If you resolve to let sleeping dogs lie, you are missing the point of what this kind of discussion forum is all about.

Simon E. wrote:This time I will stick to that.

I don't believe you. Where is the evidence?
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Re: Soto-zen, Dogen and reincarnation

Postby Simon E. » Fri Jul 20, 2012 9:57 am

If the purpose of the forum is to simply reiterate points that are incapable of resolution because they refer to that which cannot be disproved, then I am happy to miss the point.
The " evidence " will be the fact that this is my last post on the thread. :smile:

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Re: Soto-zen, Dogen and reincarnation

Postby Matylda » Fri Jul 20, 2012 11:39 am

Raitanator wrote:"...How fortunate we are to have been born as human beings given the opportunity to prepare meals for the Three Treasures. Our attitude should trulry be one of joy and gratefulness.
We should also reflect on waht our lives might have been had we been born in one of the realms of hell, as an insatiable spirit, as some lowly animal, or as a demon. How difficult our lives would be if we suffered the misfortunes of these four circumstances or any other of the eight misfortunate conditions. We would be unable to practice the dharma with the strength of the community even though we had a mind to do so. Much less would we be able to prepare food with our own hands and offer it to the Three Treasures. Our bodies and minds would be bound by the limitations and afflictions of those worlds and would have to suffer their burdens..."

"...Therefore, rejoice in your birth into the world, where you are capable of using your body freely to offer food to the Three Treasures: the Buddha, the Dharma, and the Samgha. Considering the innumerable possibilities in a timeless universe we have been given a marvelous opportunity. The merit of working as a tenzo will never decay. My sincerest desire that you exhaust all the strength and effort of all your lives - past, present, and future - and every moment of every day into your practice through the work of the tenzo, so that you form a strong connection with the buddhadharma. To view all things with this attitude is called Joyful Mind..."


How to cook your life

There's lot of discussion whether Dogen accepted migration from samsaric realm to another - here we have a clear proof (imo) that he was quite traditional in his views. Although there are some certain people who claim exact opposite.

What do you guys think?


Not only this.. in SHIZEN BIKU chapter of Shobogenzo he relates about monk who believed that attainedstate of an arhat, but was only on the fourth dhyana level and fially dropped to hell after he died. Actually in the XIII century there was not any teaching which jeopardised concept of rebirth and lower realms... Actually it seems to be just natural for Dogen and teachers of his time to accept this teaching according to agamas and mahayana sutras.
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Re: Soto-zen, Dogen and reincarnation

Postby Jnana » Fri Jul 20, 2012 5:00 pm

Simon E. wrote:If the purpose of the forum is to simply reiterate points that are incapable of resolution because they refer to that which cannot be disproved, then I am happy to miss the point.

The purpose of the forum is, among other things, to discuss the Buddhadharma. But the sources of refuge do not include the opinions of worldly saṃsāric minds. The standard is far higher than that. The only way to ascertain knowledge is to engage in the path to the point of attaining the bodhisattva stages.
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Re: Soto-zen, Dogen and reincarnation

Postby BuddhaSoup » Sat Jul 28, 2012 2:15 am

Rebirth is just one of those Dharmas that none of us will be able to prove to a scientific degree. But as HHDL points out, if science can disprove rebirth, then he will reject it as a truth. In his next words he basically said, "but, good luck trying!" There does seem to be some interesting clinical level evidence of children recollecting past life experiences. These stories seem to have too many solid evidentiary underpinnings for any of us to reject the idea of rebirth outright. I'm a skeptic but not skeptical of rebirth.

My own sense is that if the Buddha was content with the concept of rebirth, that's quite good enough for me. Not a single one of us knows what happens to us once the flame of earthly life is extinguished...why not let the Dharma and science play with this idea a while and see what develops?
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Re: Soto-zen, Dogen and reincarnation

Postby Sara H » Fri Sep 28, 2012 6:11 am

I feel like I have something I may be able to add to the discussion here.

Past lives coming up during training, is something I've experienced, as has my spouse, and other laypeople and Monastics that I know personally.

It is, can be, a normal, if irregular part of training.

For me, this sortof thing comes up maybe 3-4 times a year.

Very, once in a while, maybe more than that.

A good example would be my transgender thing that I have talked about on this forum.

In my experience, my reason for being transgender is due to Karma.

I've had several past lives come up in my training regarding this.

In one case there was an Indian girl (from India, not native american) who was very much in the prime of her youth and sexuality as a woman, and was doing drugs in what appeared to be the sixties or seventies. She died of an overdose, and, believing in reincarnation, (not rebirth) she simply believed she could choose to be reborn as a woman and try again.
It didn't work out that way. Much to her intense frustration.

In my case, I can say that my Gender Identity is directly related to Karma and Dependent Origination, that there are consequences for people's actions and choices, that carry over from life to life.
though I can only speak for my own experience, and not for other people.

This is not the only thing that has come up regarding a particularly intense behavioral tendency, or other such thing coming up in my training.

Intense fear, intense aggression, anger, and other things,
in certain situations I've had past lives come up regarding these that helped explain them and helped me better learn not to repeat their mistakes.

In some cases it was through no fault of their own, simply something happened that was done to them by other people, or circumstances.

It can be a very helpful part of training, if, not a particularly normal one, in the sense of it happening every single day.

The best thing I have been taught is that if these things arise, to remember that you are not them, what is left of them is apart of us, and just to love them and bow to them and see what's really good to do, and not just get caught off-center by the emotional pull or intensity of things.

They just want love and help and to go back to the Eternal by way of our sitting. That's why these things come up.
And so that we can learn from them.

I'd be happy to talk about this with anyone if one wishes.

In Gassho,

Sara H
"Life is full of suffering. AND Life is full of the Eternal
IT IS OUR CHOICE
We can stand in our shadow, and wallow in the darkness,
OR
We can turn around.
It is OUR choice." -Rev. Basil

" ...out of fear, even the good harm one another. " -Rev. Dazui MacPhillamy
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