Theravadans That Believe in the Bardo

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Theravadans That Believe in the Bardo

Postby Mr. G » Thu May 12, 2011 11:55 am

From our sister site http://www.dhammawheel.com :

http://www.dhammawheel.com/viewtopic.ph ... =20#p21999

Ven. Bikkhu Bodhi:

Ben wrote:From Venerable Bodhi

There definitely seem to be suggestions in the suttas that there is a temporal gap, an intermediate state, between lives, at least with respect to rebirth in the human realm and in the case of non-returners. I have a long note to the Connected Discourses of the Buddha (Samyutta Nikaya), chapter 46, which explores this question in regard to the fivefold distinction among non-returners. I will paste it in below.

The position that rebirth is instantaneous is strongly maintained by the Theravada commentaries, but other schools of Indian Buddhism based on the early collections (pre-Mahayana) supported an intermediate state. This became a ground of contention among the Buddhist schools, sometimes generating a lot of emotional friction, but the issue seems to be given very little importance in the early discourses. Nevertheless, there are passages that suggest (quite clearly, in my opinion) that there is an intermediate state. For example, the famous Metta Sutta speaks of extending loving-kindness to 'bhuutaa vaa sambhavesii vaa' -- "to beings who have come to be and those about to come to be" -- and the suttas on nutriment say that the four kinds of nutriment are "for the maintence of those that have come to be and to assist those about to come to be." Those beings that are sambhavesii, "about to come to be" (or "seeking existence") must be an allusion to those in the intermediate state seeking a new rebirth.


See too SN 44:9, in which Vacchagotta asks the Buddha: "When a being has laid down this body but has not yet been reborn in another body, what does Master Gotama declare to be its fuel on that occasion?" The Buddha does not reject V's question by asserting that such a situation is impossible. He says, rather, that in such a situation "I declare that it is fueled by craving.382 For on that occasion craving is its fuel."

Note 382 reads:
382. Tam aha˙ ta˚hÒp›d›na˙ vad›mi. The Buddha’s statement seems to imply that a temporal gap can intervene between the death moment and reconception. Since this contradicts Therav›da orthodoxy, Spk contends that at the death moment itself the being is said to be “not yet reborn” because the rebirth-consciousness has not yet arisen.



I have also found evidence for beings in this state from the reported rebirth memories of people who (without meditative experience) can recollect their previous life and death. Several cases I have read of this type report that the being, after passing away, spends some time moving about in a subtle body (identical in form with their previous body, hence with a sense of the same personal identity) until they find themselves drawn towards a particular couple, who then become their new parents. Some cases like this are included in Francis Story's book, Rebirth as Doctrine and Experience (published by the Buddhist Publcation Society, Kandy, Sri Lanka).

See too Peter Harvey's book, The Selfless Mind (Curzon) which I refer to in the note below.
65 This fivefold typology of nonreturners recurs at 48:15, 24, 66; 51:26; 54:5; and 55:25. Spk explains the antar›parinibb›yı (“attainer of Nibb›na in the interval”) as one reborn in the Pure Abodes who attains arahantship during the first half of the life span. This type is subdivided into three, depending on whether arahantship is reached: (i) on the very day of rebirth; (ii) after one or two hundred aeons have elapsed; or (iii) after four hundred aeons have elapsed. The upahaccaparinibb›yı (“attainer of Nibb›na upon landing”) is explained as one who attains arahantship after passing the first half of the life span. For Spk, the asaºkh›raparinibb›yı (“attainer without exertion”) and the sasaºkh›raparinibb›yı (“attainer with exertion”) then become two modes in which the first two types of nonreturners attain the goal. This explanation originates from Pp 16–17 (commented on at Pp-a 198–201). However, not only does this account of the first two types disregard the literal meaning of their names, but it also overrides the sequential and mutually exclusive nature of the five types as delineated elsewhere in the suttas (see below).
If we understand the term antar›parinibb›yı literally, as it seems we should, it then means one who attains Nibb›na in the interval between two lives, perhaps while existing in a subtle body in the intermediate state. The upahaccaparinibb›yı then becomes one who attains Nibb›na “upon landing” or “striking ground” in the new existence, i.e., almost immediately after taking rebirth. The next two terms designate two types who attain arahantship in the course of the next life, distinguished by the amount of effort they must make to win the goal. The last, the uddha˙sota akani˛˛hag›mı, is one who takes rebirth in successive Pure Abodes, completes the full life span in each, and finally attains arahantship in the Akani˛˛ha realm, the highest Pure Abode.
This interpretation, adopted by several non-Therav›da schools of early Buddhism, seems to be confirmed by the Purisagati Sutta (AN IV 70–74), in which the simile of the flaming chip suggests that the seven types (including the three kinds of antar›parinibb›yı) are mutually exclusive and have been graded according to the sharpness of their faculties. Additional support comes from AN II 134,25–29, which explains the antar›parinibb›yı as one who has abandoned the fetter of rebirth (upapattisa˙yojana) without yet having abandoned the fetter of existence (bhavasa˙yojana). Though the Therav›din proponents argue against this interpretation of antar›parinibb›yı (e.g., at Kv 366), the evidence from the suttas leans strongly in its favour. For a detailed discussion, see Harvey, The Selfless Mind, pp. 98–108.
AN II 155–56 draws an alternative distinction between the sasaºkh›raparinibb›yı and the asaºkh›raparinibb›yı: the former reaches arahantship through meditation on the “austere” meditation subjects such as the foulness of the body, the perception of the repulsiveness of food, discontent with the whole world, the perception of impermanence in all formations, and mindfulness of death; the latter, through the four jh›nas.



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Re: Theravadans That Believe in the Bardo

Postby retrofuturist » Thu May 12, 2011 12:06 pm

Greetings,

The main reason the commentaries go to lengths to deny a bardo is because it's inconsistent with the scholastic Abhidhamma framework, and the associated notion of a single moment of rebirth-linking consciousness.

Maitri,
Retro. :)
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Re: Theravadans That Believe in the Bardo

Postby Astus » Thu May 12, 2011 12:38 pm

An insightful work by Ven. Sujato: Rebirth and the In-between State in Early Buddhism
"There is no such thing as the real mind. Ridding yourself of delusion: that's the real mind."
(Sheng-yen: Getting the Buddha Mind, p 73)

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This face, the face at birth."

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Re: Theravadans That Believe in the Bardo

Postby David N. Snyder » Thu May 12, 2011 10:51 pm

Chalk me up as another Theravadin open to the idea of the 'In-between state' or Bardo:

Some people assert that after death, consciousness is suspended for a while before being reborn. This is called the in-between state (antarabhava). In Tibetan (Vajrayana) Buddhism there is much interest in the in between state where there are rituals and prayers to assist the departed toward a good rebirth. In Tibetan the in between state is known as the Bardo.

Some claim that this state lasts for seven days, others for 14 and yet others for 49 days. The in-between state is not mentioned specifically in the Tipitaka but we can assume that there is a pause of some duration before re-embodiment and the subsequent rebirth. The available fertilized eggs could not possibly correspond with the number of people who have just died and the consciousness seeking re-embodiment and thus some period of waiting must occur at least in some cases.

The Abhidhamma and the Classical Theravada hold that rebirth is always immediate with no intermediate state. Although there is no indication from the Suttas that directly references an immediate rebirth in all cases. It is only insisted upon in the Abhidhamma, which although part of the Pali Canon, is a later text.

There are a few Suttas which suggest that there could be this intermediate state. One of the strongest indications of this is in the Metta Sutta which speaks of extending loving-kindness to 'bhuutaa vaa sambhavesii vaa' -- "to beings who have come to be and those about to come to be."

If there is an intermediate state (and the above suggests that there is) it would probably be reserved for just those higher or noble ones who are awaiting a good birth. For most, including animals and others, it is most likely instant.

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Re: Theravadans That Believe in the Bardo

Postby kalden yungdrung » Sat Jun 18, 2011 3:52 pm

Tashi delek,

Yes Anatarabhava would be the equivalent for the Tibetan word Bardo.

Thought that the Buddha Shakyamuni thought according Theravada, about Nirvana as liberation to Samsara.
So the many liberation technics in Dorje Thekpa as well Bon comprise the liberation in the Bardo by hearing and that all is unknown in the Indian Buddhist Theravada Tradition. I understood also that in Theravada only the monks could get enlightened. The laymen support the monks and because of that they hope to become a monk in next their next live. That would be a little about to get enlightened according the Theravada Tradition, when i understood it well.

But to get enlightened according the Nyingma and Bon tradition, that was not thought by the Indian Buddha.
We have persons in Dzogchen who can go into the Bardo States and can return from there.

So the Bardo teachings seem to be of Tibetan origen because i never heard something of that written in Pali or Sanskrit.
When in Sanskrit then it must be translated out of the Tibetan.

So when a Theravada is convinced about the Bardo states and the 4 Lamps, then he/she would be still a Theravadin?


Best wishes
KY
Last edited by kalden yungdrung on Sat Jun 18, 2011 10:03 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Theravadans That Believe in the Bardo

Postby Malcolm » Sat Jun 18, 2011 4:39 pm

kalden yungdrung wrote:[color=#0080FF]Tashi delek,

So the Bardo teachings seem to be of Tibetan origen because i never heard something of that written in Pali or Sanskrit.



There are bardo teachings in Indian Vajrayāna. They do not come from Tibet.

N
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Re: Theravadans That Believe in the Bardo

Postby kalden yungdrung » Sat Jun 18, 2011 4:50 pm

Namdrol wrote:
kalden yungdrung wrote:Tashi delek,

So the Bardo teachings seem to be of Tibetan origen because i never heard something of that written in Pali or Sanskrit.



There are bardo teachings in Indian Vajrayāna. They do not come from Tibet.

N



Tashi delek,

Please tell me more about Indian Vajrayana outside the Tibetan Dorje Thekpa.

I guess you are dealing here with Swat / Udhiyana the Sanskrit area of the Great Indian Mahasiddhas as well the homeland of Prahevajra / Garab Dorje one of the founders of Indian Dzogchen, because Bon has also an Indian Dzogchen Cycle of teachings stemming from the blue Drenpa Namkha.

But that will mean they are translated into Tibetan, your source of informations.

Best wishes
KY
THOUGH A MAN BE LEARNED
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HE RESEMBLES THE BLIND MAN
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Re: Theravadans That Believe in the Bardo

Postby Malcolm » Sat Jun 18, 2011 5:06 pm

kalden yungdrung wrote:
Please tell me more about Indian Vajrayana outside the Tibetan Dorje Thekpa.


For example, we have the bardo teachings connected with the six yogas of Naropa and so on. You can look there -- we have firm Indian sources for these.
http://www.bhaisajya.net
http://atikosha.org
འ༔ ཨ༔ ཧ༔ ཤ༔ ས༔ མ༔

" The one who teaches the benefits of peace,
he is said to be a ṛṣī; the others are the opposite of him."

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Re: Theravadans That Believe in the Bardo

Postby Caz » Sat Jun 18, 2011 5:19 pm

It is interesting to think that some believe it (rebirth) to be instantanious upon death. If Buddha speaks about craving being the fuel which drives the rebirth craving itself implies seeking an object before attaining it.
People whom have been medically dead for short periods also seem to have come back sometimes I dont know how well this factors into Abhidharma frame work with the mind leaving the body but I would have thought once one was dead in such a sense and if rebirth was certainly instantanious then there would be no coming back to any previous body ? :popcorn:
Abandoning Dharma is, in the final analysis, disparaging the Hinayana because of the Mahayana; favoring the Hinayana on account of the Mahayana; playing off sutra against tantra; playing off the four classes of the tantras against each other; favoring one of the Tibetan schools—the Sakya, Gelug, Kagyu, or Nyingma—and disparaging the rest; and so on. In other words, we abandon Dharma any time we favor our own tenets and disparage the rest.

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Re: Theravadans That Believe in the Bardo

Postby kalden yungdrung » Sat Jun 18, 2011 10:24 pm

Namdrol wrote:
kalden yungdrung wrote:
Please tell me more about Indian Vajrayana outside the Tibetan Dorje Thekpa.


For example, we have the bardo teachings connected with the six yogas of Naropa and so on. You can look there -- we have firm Indian sources for these.


Tashi delek,

But how is Bardo here experienced? Is the root or source here related to Indian Dzogchen or Indian Mahamudra?
We know all that Mahamudra is very near to Dzogchen, but the lights (Todgal) or the Lamps are missing here.
So i guess that the Bardo States here, are explained according the Indian Dzogchen Tradition.......
Further are Indian Mahasiddhas mainly Tantrikas, so no Dzogchenpas.

Could you elucidate the source of these Bardo teachings or the author / discoverer, of these Indian Bardo texts?
Realising that Bardo teachings are connected with Dzogchen in some way, i guess that these teachings stem from the Dzogchen tradition, or does the Indian Dzogchen tradition stem from the Bardo teachings? Last mentioned suggestion is unbelievable i guess....

Best wishes
KY
THOUGH A MAN BE LEARNED
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Re: Theravadans That Believe in the Bardo

Postby Malcolm » Sat Jun 18, 2011 10:28 pm

kalden yungdrung wrote:
But how is Bardo here experienced? Is the root or source here related to Indian Dzogchen or Indian Mahamudra?
We know all that Mahamudra is very near to Dzogchen, but the lights (Todgal) or the Lamps are missing here.
So i guess that the Bardo States here, are explained according the Indian Dzogchen Tradition.......

KY[/color]


You can read any number of books about it, actually.

N
http://www.bhaisajya.net
http://atikosha.org
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Re: Theravadans That Believe in the Bardo

Postby kalden yungdrung » Sat Jun 18, 2011 10:39 pm

Namdrol wrote:
kalden yungdrung wrote:
But how is Bardo here experienced? Is the root or source here related to Indian Dzogchen or Indian Mahamudra?
We know all that Mahamudra is very near to Dzogchen, but the lights (Todgal) or the Lamps are missing here.
So i guess that the Bardo States here, are explained according the Indian Dzogchen Tradition.......

KY[/color]


You can read any number of books about it, actually.

N


Tashi delek,

Yes, indeed i could read a lot of books more about this topic, but my free time is sometimes limited.
Easier would be, if you could give the short (cut) / answer to my done question, if possible of course.
Your answer / reply is here not so clear to me whereas you made a statement of the Indian Bardo which i also know that it would be a part of the 6 Yogas of Naropa or of his karma mudra / sister / partner, the Yogini Niguma, and they are members of the Indian Mahamudra Tradition.


Best wishes
KY
THOUGH A MAN BE LEARNED
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HE RESEMBLES THE BLIND MAN
WHO WITH A LAMP IN THE HAND CANNOT SEE THE ROAD
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Re: Theravadans That Believe in the Bardo

Postby Malcolm » Sat Jun 18, 2011 11:18 pm

kalden yungdrung wrote:Yes, indeed i could read a lot of books more about this topic, but my free time is sometimes limited.
Easier would be, if you could give the short (cut) / answer to my done question, if possible of course.
Your answer / reply is here not so clear to me whereas you made a statement of the Indian Bardo which i also know that it would be a part of the 6 Yogas of Naropa or of his karma mudra / sister / partner, the Yogini Niguma, and they are members of the Indian Mahamudra Tradition.


Best wishes
KY[/color]


right, so if you read a book on the six yogas of naropa, it will be discussed there and you will clearly see how different it is from bardo teachings in Dzogchen.
http://www.bhaisajya.net
http://atikosha.org
འ༔ ཨ༔ ཧ༔ ཤ༔ ས༔ མ༔

" The one who teaches the benefits of peace,
he is said to be a ṛṣī; the others are the opposite of him."

-- Uttaratantra
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Re: Theravadans That Believe in the Bardo

Postby kalden yungdrung » Sat Jun 18, 2011 11:45 pm

Namdrol wrote:
kalden yungdrung wrote:Yes, indeed i could read a lot of books more about this topic, but my free time is sometimes limited.
Easier would be, if you could give the short (cut) / answer to my done question, if possible of course.
Your answer / reply is here not so clear to me whereas you made a statement of the Indian Bardo which i also know that it would be a part of the 6 Yogas of Naropa or of his karma mudra / sister / partner, the Yogini Niguma, and they are members of the Indian Mahamudra Tradition.


Best wishes
KY[/color]


right, so if you read a book on the six yogas of naropa, it will be discussed there and you will clearly see how different it is from bardo teachings in Dzogchen.



Tashi delek,

Ok than i know enough and it is not needed to read those books.
This realy saves time.

Best wishes
KY
THOUGH A MAN BE LEARNED
IF HE DOES NOT APPLY HIS KNOWLEDGE
HE RESEMBLES THE BLIND MAN
WHO WITH A LAMP IN THE HAND CANNOT SEE THE ROAD
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