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PostPosted: Wed Dec 12, 2012 2:42 pm 
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I am an agnostic who is interested in Buddhism. I like meditation, the teachings of The Buddha and Asian culture, but I cannot accept rebirth without skepticism. As an agnostic I cannot be sure or unsure about anything, but I really do not fully believe in rebirth and the realms of rebirth. I view it more as a story, not a truth. Does Zen, or any other minor school just view Buddhism as a philosophical religion without rebirth?


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PostPosted: Wed Dec 12, 2012 2:49 pm 
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There are people who disregard the teachings on rebirth and anything else they deem supernatural. Anyone can freely study and practice Buddhism without fully agreeing to every words of the Buddha before checking everything personally. It is actually a level of attainment within Buddhism when one has gained assurance via study and practice that the teachings of the Buddha are true. So you should not worry about your scepticism regarding rebirth. However, it should also be clear to you that rebirth is a fundamental teaching within Buddhism on which the entire path of liberation is based (i.e. without something to be free from there is no point in working for enlightenment).

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PostPosted: Wed Dec 12, 2012 3:42 pm 
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I agree, you don't need to agree with everything to be able to practice. Remain agnostic and practice with a school. Sooner or later your views will either change (from meditative experience) or you'll realise these things just aren't that important to stress over :smile:

Gassho,
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 12, 2012 3:45 pm 
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Besides, if you practice in earnest, whatever beliefs and assumptions you may have going in will be radically questioned (by you!). It's counterproductive to assume that your practice will confirm to you what you think you already know. Why not go in for the mystery?

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PostPosted: Wed Dec 12, 2012 3:46 pm 
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no. many zen monks are indifferent about that. some what like "don't ask don't tell" even ven Seong Cheol in Korean Jogye order had not recognized that was true until in his 50s. his whole life was a succession of doubt, question to buddhist principles -karma, rebirth-. but eventually he accepted all of them through practice, contemplation and scholary study.

so you don't need to accept all of buddhist doctrenes as true. the discovery and acknowlegement of these doctrines are your own tasks just like the Buddha and other masters did. it's like in Asia, when lay people recieve five precepts, in some occasions, one can choose not to receive certain precepts. if one was a butcher, then he/she can choose not to receive the first precept. -ahimsa- :namaste:


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PostPosted: Wed Dec 12, 2012 4:17 pm 
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I agree, you don't need to agree with everything to be able to practice. Remain agnostic and practice with a school. Sooner or later your views will either change (from meditative experience) or you'll realise these things just aren't that important to stress over


I agree with this.

I'm a Tibetan Buddhist; which is a very mystical school of Buddhism. There are many things within it that I don't believe: such as the higher realms, literal samsara and literal karma. I do personally believe in rebirth, though.

But you know what? None of my personal belief, or disbelief, really matters. It's all about the practice itself and how I apply it in my life.


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PostPosted: Wed Dec 12, 2012 5:07 pm 
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Fundamentally, you really don't need to accept or reject anything.

I like what Astus said, plenty of people come to Buddhism doubting all the non-obvious stuff, but it's also undeniable that rebirth and karma are at the center of Buddhist doctrine, including the Pali Canon - the closest thing we have to a literal "word of the Buddha".

Why would you avoid doing something because you don't agree with 100% of it?

Also, how is a story not a truth?

The only Buddhism that rejects rebirth that I know of are modern "take what ya like" versions.

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Last edited by Johnny Dangerous on Wed Dec 12, 2012 5:56 pm, edited 4 times in total.

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PostPosted: Wed Dec 12, 2012 5:16 pm 
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These realms are a projection of the mind, like Middle Earth in the Lord of the Rings films: convincing at the moment, but how real is it? Now that your childhood is gone, how real is it now?

How real is any of this stuff, ultimately?

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PostPosted: Wed Dec 12, 2012 5:25 pm 
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See this and this

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PostPosted: Thu Dec 13, 2012 2:53 pm 
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Some of them do, some of them don't. :smile:

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PostPosted: Fri Dec 21, 2012 8:08 am 
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I would sortof more or less parrot what Astus said.

It is a intrinsic part of Buddhist teachings, but it isn't necessary to personally believe in that to practice.

As the Buddha said, try it and see if it proves true for you.

I know it personally has proved true for me as I've had past lives come up in my sitting.

But while that works for me, my personal "proof" doesn't really do anything for you or anyone else other than to say that someone else has experienced it.

You still would either have to find it true for you, or not, or that it doesn't matter as someone said.

In Gassho,

Sara H

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