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Knowledge - Paññā, rebirth, and starting all over again - Dhamma Wheel

Knowledge - Paññā, rebirth, and starting all over again

Exploring Theravāda's connections to other paths. What can we learn from other traditions, religions and philosophies?
Nori
Posts: 126
Joined: Fri Jul 29, 2011 9:42 pm

Knowledge - Paññā, rebirth, and starting all over again

Postby Nori » Wed Sep 21, 2011 11:58 am

Emancipation or deliverance is supposedly won through knowledge - Paññā (that is, the ridding of ignorance) over countless lifetimes.

My question is: what sort of knowledge (understanding, wisdom) can be carried over from lifetime to lifetime?

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Looking back to the early days after my birth (whatever I can recall) it seems I was fairly ignorant. What knowledge (Paññā) could I have possibly carried over from my past life? Is it just a disposition, or a behavior that is carried over?

One thing which seems apparent is that people are born with a certain demeanor or disposition.. I wonder if this is Paññā?

There is also the idea which is told in the stories of the Tipitaka that at a certain level of development, one can recall all his past lives "I had such an occupation, such was my food, etc." as though memory is not really dependent on the brain. However, one fact to strongly contradict this claim is that peoples memories are clearly affected by the condition of their physical brain, such as when it is damaged, or parts surgically removed, and also by aging. Is this all really some clever elaborate illusion as the eastern philosophy suggests? Or are things just the way they appear to be?

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kirk5a
Posts: 1959
Joined: Thu Sep 23, 2010 1:51 pm

Re: Knowledge - Paññā, rebirth, and starting all over again

Postby kirk5a » Wed Sep 21, 2011 12:46 pm

One place to start might be what are called "latent tendencies" (anusaya) which the Buddha said were present even in the infant. It seems to be a matter of the elimination of these, rather than the acquisition of knowledge the way we are accustomed to.
"When one thing is practiced & pursued, ignorance is abandoned, clear knowing arises, the conceit 'I am' is abandoned, latent tendencies are uprooted, fetters are abandoned. Which one thing? Mindfulness immersed in the body." -AN 1.230

santa100
Posts: 2673
Joined: Fri Jun 10, 2011 10:55 pm

Re: Knowledge - Paññā, rebirth, and starting all over again

Postby santa100 » Wed Sep 21, 2011 1:43 pm

As of now, science still can't prove that memory is "totally/completely" dependent on the brain either:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Twenty_Cas ... ncarnation

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Alex123
Posts: 3476
Joined: Wed Mar 10, 2010 11:32 pm

Re: Knowledge - Paññā, rebirth, and starting all over again

Postby Alex123 » Wed Sep 21, 2011 11:51 pm

"Life is a struggle. Life will throw curveballs at you, it will humble you, it will attempt to break you down. And just when you think things are starting to look up, life will smack you back down with ruthless indifference..."

Nori
Posts: 126
Joined: Fri Jul 29, 2011 9:42 pm

Re: Knowledge - Paññā, rebirth, and starting all over again

Postby Nori » Sat Sep 24, 2011 4:51 am



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