Does the soul exist in Mahayana thought?

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Does the soul exist in Mahayana thought?

Postby new2dharma » Fri Sep 14, 2012 9:02 pm

Hello,
I was just reading a book review of TNH's "The heart of the buddha's teachings" on Amazon and a reviewer said that the idea of Annata or no self is false and that
TNH is incorrect by mentioning it in his book. So do buddhists believe in an individual's soul or self? If not what gets reincarnated? Thanks and Namaste, Dan :buddha1:
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Re: Does the soul exist in Mahayana thought?

Postby Malcolm » Fri Sep 14, 2012 9:16 pm

new2dharma wrote:So do buddhists believe in an individual's soul or self? If not what gets reincarnated? Thanks and Namaste, Dan :buddha1:


No.

Afflictions.
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Re: Does the soul exist in Mahayana thought?

Postby PadmaVonSamba » Fri Sep 14, 2012 9:40 pm

no. There is no permanent thing that hops from one body to the next.
what there is, is a vast accumulations of events constantly unfolding, which we experience as an individual 'self'.
the physical body is in fact made up of millions of tiny individual cells all busily minding trheir own business, replicating, until they stop.
what survives is not consciousness, but the continued causes of consciousness,
similar to what would happen if you were to go into a coma and then come back out again a year later.
your consciousness was broken--interrupted.
But the causes of cognitive awareness are still there. So, you wake up and think, 'where am I? what's going on? why does everything look a little different that it did before?
those causes are not contingent on a permanent body or entity,
otherwise you would have no memory of being a small child, because practically every cell in your body that was once a small child died and was replaced, many times over.
Yet a stream of connected awareness maintained.

You can think of it as a truck carrying a load of lumber on a road along a river
and the truck hits a bump and tips over and all of the lumber goes into the river.
That's like dying.

Downstream, the lumber gathers up where the water is shallow, and another prson finds it and puts it into their truck.
That is like rebirth.

If you are able to construct a vessel out of your consciousness,
maybe when it hits the water it maintains its shape and sails down stream in one piece, like a boat.
That is what you might say that reincarnated lamas do.
.
.
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Re: Does the soul exist in Mahayana thought?

Postby David N. Snyder » Fri Sep 14, 2012 10:13 pm

"You cannot step into the same river twice."
Greek philosopher Heraclitus

There are always new waters flowing through the river. The river doesn't even exist, except in conventional speech since it is never the same, the volume, velocity, etc. is always in flux.
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Re: Does the soul exist in Mahayana thought?

Postby greentara » Sat Sep 15, 2012 12:41 am

All this is theoretical. A soul or an idea of god that can be understood is no soul or god. Who can explain the infinate in words. It is a great mystery that very few penetrate.
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Re: Does the soul exist in Mahayana thought?

Postby gad rgyangs » Sat Sep 15, 2012 2:03 am

Malcolm wrote:
new2dharma wrote:So do buddhists believe in an individual's soul or self? If not what gets reincarnated? Thanks and Namaste, Dan :buddha1:


No.

Afflictions.


and if you get rid of the afflictions, what's left?
Thoroughly tame your own mind.
This is (possibly) the teaching of Buddha.
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Re: Does the soul exist in Mahayana thought?

Postby Malcolm » Sat Sep 15, 2012 2:27 am

gad rgyangs wrote:
Malcolm wrote:
new2dharma wrote:So do buddhists believe in an individual's soul or self? If not what gets reincarnated? Thanks and Namaste, Dan :buddha1:


No.

Afflictions.


and if you get rid of the afflictions, what's left?


No rebirth.
http://www.bhaisajya.net
http://www.bhaisajya.guru
http://atikosha.org
འ༔ ཨ༔ ཧ༔ ཤ༔ ས༔ མ༔

Though there are infinite liberating gateways of Dharma,
there are none not included in the dimension of the knowledge of the Great Perfection.

-- Buddha Samantabhadri
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Re: Does the soul exist in Mahayana thought?

Postby lobster » Sat Sep 15, 2012 3:05 am

new2dharma wrote: So do buddhists believe in an individual's soul or self? If not what gets reincarnated?:


I know of no credible evidence for souls or reincarnation or Father Christmas.
Dukkha I know of.

I will try and deal with what I know of. :smile:
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Re: Does the soul exist in Mahayana thought?

Postby gad rgyangs » Sat Sep 15, 2012 4:56 am

Malcolm wrote:
gad rgyangs wrote:and if you get rid of the afflictions, what's left?


No rebirth.


no rebirth as in "extinction", or no rebirth as in "an improvement in one's circumstances"?
Thoroughly tame your own mind.
This is (possibly) the teaching of Buddha.
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Re: Does the soul exist in Mahayana thought?

Postby greentara » Sat Sep 15, 2012 5:12 am

Lobster, 'Dukkha I know of' indeed suffering is the real cause that propels people to embark on a serious spiritual quest. To dive within and keep quiet.
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Re: Does the soul exist in Mahayana thought?

Postby tomamundsen » Sat Sep 15, 2012 5:46 am

gad rgyangs wrote:
Malcolm wrote:
gad rgyangs wrote:and if you get rid of the afflictions, what's left?


No rebirth.


no rebirth as in "extinction", or no rebirth as in "an improvement in one's circumstances"?

Yea, I am interested in an elaboration as well. I thought that no affliction (8th bhumi) meant no more uncontrolled rebirth, but still rebirth non-the-less. At least until the 10th bhumi. Not sure what's going on with birth after that.
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Re: Does the soul exist in Mahayana thought?

Postby new2dharma » Sat Sep 15, 2012 5:56 am

It seems like this is a popular topic of buddhist books I have read; especially when it comes to having x amount of rebirths until one reaches the point of no rebirth.


p.s.
If anyone can suggest good books that cover general buddhist philosophy and such I would greatly appreciate it. Especially in the tibetan or mahayana schools. I'm having trouble finding a book that kinda hits on everything I need to know for basic understanding. I tried "what the buddha taught" and I was told it was full of errors. I am currently reading, The heart of Buddha's teachings and it seems to be a pretty complete guide but I know little so there you go. :) :namaste:
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Re: Does the soul exist in Mahayana thought?

Postby tomamundsen » Sat Sep 15, 2012 6:04 am

new2dharma wrote:It seems like this is a popular topic of buddhist books I have read; especially when it comes to having x amount of rebirths until one reaches the point of no rebirth.

I have a suspicion that you are referring to the Nikaya concepts of stream-enterer, once-returner, never-returner, and arahant. Things are different in Mahayana. Also, note that once-returner and never-returner refer to being reborn in the desire realm, this does not preclude rebirth in the form and formless realms

new2dharma wrote:p.s.
If anyone can suggest good books that cover general buddhist philosophy and such I would greatly appreciate it. Especially in the tibetan or mahayana schools. I'm having trouble finding a book that kinda hits on everything I need to know for basic understanding. I tried "what the buddha taught" and I was told it was full of errors. I am currently reading, The heart of Buddha's teachings and it seems to be a pretty complete guide but I know little so there you go. :) :namaste:

The Abhidharmakosa by Vasubandhu is a (I hate to use the term, but Hinayana) Buddhist handbook of sorts. However, that text is very unapproachable without the guidance of a teacher who knows a lot about Sanskrit Buddhist texts and the cultural/political context. User "Malcolm" on here has taught an online class in the past that was aimed at approaching the text so that you will be able to read it on your own. You might be able to get the audio lectures from him. At any rate, here is the text - http://www.amazon.com/Abhidharmakosabha ... dharmakosa.
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Re: Does the soul exist in Mahayana thought?

Postby new2dharma » Sat Sep 15, 2012 6:30 am

Thanks Tomamundsen! Take care, Dan

Yes I believe it was a teaching about entering the stream.
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Re: Does the soul exist in Mahayana thought?

Postby viniketa » Sat Sep 15, 2012 6:57 am

For those who may not wish to spend $300-400 on the Abhidharma-kośa, for an overall introduction to Mahāyāna concepts in English, I'd suggest Peter Della Santina's Tree of Enlightenment. It's a bit dated, certainly doesn't provide all the nuances of the differing schools of thought, and may "gloss" over more complex things, but it's free: http://peterdellasantina.org/books/tree ... enment.htm

That's the html version, but there is also a PDF downloadable from that site to read offline, if you prefer.

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Re: Does the soul exist in Mahayana thought?

Postby Nothing » Sat Sep 15, 2012 10:48 am

Here is a thing for you to think about, if the teaching is correct and that we can obtain our own past lives in the higher levels of understanding.....how do you explain this?
The word may not be the soul but probably consciousness.....thoughts?

Do you see the difference when someone is asleep and someone who is dead?.....do you see the differences?
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Re: Does the soul exist in Mahayana thought?

Postby Karma Dondrup Tashi » Sat Sep 15, 2012 2:00 pm

new2dharma wrote:... do buddhists believe in an individual's ... self?

Nope.

new2dharma wrote:If not what gets reincarnated?

An individual's self.

:tongue:
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Re: Does the soul exist in Mahayana thought?

Postby Malcolm » Sat Sep 15, 2012 2:34 pm

gad rgyangs wrote:
Malcolm wrote:
gad rgyangs wrote:and if you get rid of the afflictions, what's left?


No rebirth.


no rebirth as in "extinction", or no rebirth as in "an improvement in one's circumstances"?


No rebirth in the triple realm. What else could possibly matter?

M
http://www.bhaisajya.net
http://www.bhaisajya.guru
http://atikosha.org
འ༔ ཨ༔ ཧ༔ ཤ༔ ས༔ མ༔

Though there are infinite liberating gateways of Dharma,
there are none not included in the dimension of the knowledge of the Great Perfection.

-- Buddha Samantabhadri
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Re: Does the soul exist in Mahayana thought?

Postby gad rgyangs » Sat Sep 15, 2012 2:53 pm

Malcolm wrote:
gad rgyangs wrote:
no rebirth as in "extinction", or no rebirth as in "an improvement in one's circumstances"?


No rebirth in the triple realm. What else could possibly matter?

M


so what do you do instead of being born in the triple realm?
Thoroughly tame your own mind.
This is (possibly) the teaching of Buddha.
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Re: Does the soul exist in Mahayana thought?

Postby Malcolm » Sat Sep 15, 2012 2:57 pm

gad rgyangs wrote:
Malcolm wrote:
gad rgyangs wrote:
no rebirth as in "extinction", or no rebirth as in "an improvement in one's circumstances"?


No rebirth in the triple realm. What else could possibly matter?

M


so what do you do instead of being born in the triple realm?



Presumably one dallies with celestial vigins, eating grapes and drinking wine.

M
http://www.bhaisajya.net
http://www.bhaisajya.guru
http://atikosha.org
འ༔ ཨ༔ ཧ༔ ཤ༔ ས༔ མ༔

Though there are infinite liberating gateways of Dharma,
there are none not included in the dimension of the knowledge of the Great Perfection.

-- Buddha Samantabhadri
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