Seishin wrote:I have a genuine question which I'm interested in hearing other peoples ideas and answers;
In the Sutras, Nirvana is described as a birthless/deathless beyond the realm of samsara of birth and death. I understand the 'moment-to-moment' idea of rebirth and that Nirvana, in this instance, is to be free from the changing clinging ego and is born and dies from 'moment-to-moment'. My question is though, with the above idea of rebirth, wouldn't death bring about 'Nirvana' (ie being free from the birth and death of the 'I' in moment-to-moment)?
Again, the dilemma here is a subtle belief in the existence of a self.
Suppose you write a book, and the book is reprinted, and read by people for many years after you have died.
Did the book suddenly disappear when you died? Did the ideas you expressed in the book die?
No, they re-emerge in the mind of another person, the one who reads that book
because the causes are there for that to happen (more people are born and read, and more books are published, etc.)
But if those conditions do not arise, or if you had never written that book,
then that would not happen in the future.
Likewise, when you die, everything that you have "put into motion", so to speak,
continues as long as the conditions are there.
Some would argue that when the physical brain dies, then the conditions are not there.
That view is based on the idea that the elements in the physical brain cognitively witness their own chemical activity,
which is essentially saying that a the brain thinks, "I am a brain", except that it goes through the complicated process of creating a "me" character first.
A sort of performer, playing a role, who imagines possession of a brain and says "my brain".
It is the theory that the brain produces the experience of thought.
But if the brain produces the person, how can the person say '"my brain"?
Shouldn't it be the other way around?
It's like saying that the impersonal circuits and hard drive inside a computer
imagine themselves to be the user
of the computer.
The brain certainly produces neurochemical interactions and electrical charges and so forth
that are experienced as sounds, as emotions, and as dreams and abstract ideas.
is the one interpreting that chemistry as "personal experience"?
This is the question Buddhism raises.
And it answers that nothing exists (meaning being an indivisible, finite cause)
which can be identified as that "who"
It is merely the ground of awareness arising with phenomena
and when that awareness arises in a confused way, you have beings trapped in the samsaric projections of their own thoughts (which is the essence of karma)
And the thing to keep in mind is that karma and rebirth are only happening as aspects of confused mind.
When the mind is no longer confused,
and when awareness arises unobstructed, you have buddha.
"post mortem" rebirth means what?
the results of causes previously set into motion. That's all.
It's not 'reincarnation' of a self.