Another rebirth thread

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Re: Another rebirth thread

Postby Ngawang Drolma » Fri Jan 15, 2010 5:05 am

* Consciousness in the suttas is not a stand-alone thing. It's always connected to its object (e.g. eye-consciousness, ear-consciousness) and not the rebirth-linking consciousness you hear about in the post-sutta material


If ignorance or craving don't persist (or misperception of our true nature), then how could craving for form and birth occur after the skandhas break up?

* Likewise, suffering is experienced here-and-now, but when consigned to a future existence, it's observability in accordance with the framework is impossible (unless you do a complicated join-the-dots exercise as per the commentaries)


If we don't attempt to create causes and conditions to attain enlightenment in the future, then why do we purify through actions and practice?

Perhaps I'm talking uber-Mahayana :)

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Re: Another rebirth thread

Postby Ngawang Drolma » Fri Jan 15, 2010 5:08 am

Huifeng wrote:The bodhisattva sought a way out of duhkha, a way out of rebirth.
With no rebirth, where is there duhkha?


To me this gets straight to the point.

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Re: Another rebirth thread

Postby retrofuturist » Fri Jan 15, 2010 5:40 am

Greetings Laura,

If ignorance or craving don't persist (or misperception of our true nature), then how could crave form and take birth after the skandhas break up?

You don't. That's the whole point of being an arahant (and presumably why a bodhisattva strives not to accidentally become an arahant). Incidentally, that's another reason why I don't like the 3-life interpretation of DO... because the eradication of ignorance causes the whole process of origination to cease there and then. The suttas clearly state this. Nobody has to trudge off to the next life or two and cop a whack of suffering before the process is pacified.

If we don't attempt to create causes and conditions to attain enlightenment in the future, then why do we purify through actions and practice?

Perhaps I'm talking uber-Mahayana


I don't get the "If we don't attempt to create causes and conditions to attain enlightenment in the future" bit, because I don't see why a Buddhist intent on enlightenment (via any tradition's roadmap) wouldn't be trying to do this?

The bodhisattva sought a way out of duhkha, a way out of rebirth. With no rebirth, where is there duhkha?


My thoughts on this statement depend on what is meant here by "rebirth". In my mind, "rebirth" isn't the fundamental problem... because if sentient existence was a never-ending parade of bliss, joy and happiness, "rebirth" (however defined) would be all fine and dandy. The problem is dukkha... not rebirth per se.

Metta,
Retro. :)
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Re: Another rebirth thread

Postby Ngawang Drolma » Fri Jan 15, 2010 5:46 am

I don't get the "If we don't attempt to create causes and conditions to attain enlightenment in the future" bit, because I don't see why a Buddhist intent on enlightenment (via any tradition's roadmap) wouldn't be trying to do this?


I see, it's across all traditions. So doesn't it speak to the future?

Do you believe that attainments can occur suddenly, or due to the fruit of the path?

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Re: Another rebirth thread

Postby retrofuturist » Fri Jan 15, 2010 5:51 am

Greetings Laura,

LauraJ wrote:So doesn't it speak to the future?


If you're talking about the dependent origination cycle, yes it does. How? Because there is ignorance in the future and the process repeats accordingly. There is a sutta that says that the cause of ignorance is ignorance, but I can't seem to find it at the moment.

LauraJ wrote:Do you believe that attainments can occur suddenly, or due to the fruit of the path?


Well, one moment they don't exist and then they do, so it would have to be (by definition) suddenly... but that sudden moment would be the fruit of the path. (though I'm a little lost as to the connection with the topic!)

Metta,
Retro. :)
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Re: Another rebirth thread

Postby Ngawang Drolma » Fri Jan 15, 2010 5:56 am

Thank you, Retro :namaste:

The connection I'm making is that we create causes and conditions for progress on the path with speaks to future becoming. So this is a presumption that craving or ignorance will be a cause that arose from the last link when we're done with this collection of skandhas. But I was under the impression that you don't attribute jati to a future event.

But knowing the cycle, we practice the paramitas (perfections), purify the mind, and so forth. I think this all speaks to the knowledge that jati will predictably occur again post mortem.

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Re: Another rebirth thread

Postby Huifeng » Fri Jan 15, 2010 6:07 am

retrofuturist wrote:
* As per the Simsapa Sutta, the Buddha taught suffering and its cessation (not transmigration)

* Misinterpretation of the term jati, which does not mean 'rebirth'. It can mean 'birth', but even the Abhidhamma understands jati to be a 'momentary' thing, rather than a 'lifetime' thing.


And are the Simsapa sutta and (Theravada) Abhidhamma texts regularly used and considered ultimately authoritative by any Mahayana schools? If so, which ones, as I am very keen to find out.
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Re: Another rebirth thread

Postby retrofuturist » Fri Jan 15, 2010 6:14 am

Greetings bhante,

Huifeng wrote:And are the Simsapa sutta and (Theravada) Abhidhamma texts regularly used and considered ultimately authoritative by any Mahayana schools? If so, which ones, as I am very keen to find out.


You're in a better position to answer that question than I am, but since this is the Dharma-free-for-all, I feel comfortable speaking of them... not in an attempt to trump the Mahayana resource materials but to explain the logic behind my beliefs. Some Mahayana practitioners value the Pali Canon to some extent, and hopefully my comments will be of interest to such people, to a similar extent. I don't guarantee that it will be of use to everyone... and Laura did specifically ask me, "Why don't you use the three lives theory?"

Metta,
Retro. :)
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Re: Another rebirth thread

Postby Ngawang Drolma » Fri Jan 15, 2010 6:18 am

retrofuturist wrote:You're in a better position to answer that question than I am, but since this is the Dharma-free-for-all, I feel comfortable speaking of them... not in attempt to trump the Mahayana resource materials but to explain the logic behind my beliefs. Some Mahayana practitioners value the Pali Canon to some extent, and hopefully my comments will be of interest to such people, to a similar extent. I don't guarantee that it will be of use to everyone... and Laura did specifically ask me, "Why don't you use the three lives theory?"

Metta,
Retro. :)


I am interested :)

I'm pressing Retro mainly because I'm curious about his beliefs and his rejection of the three-lives model.
It's curious to me that someone would reject it.

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Re: Another rebirth thread

Postby retrofuturist » Fri Jan 15, 2010 6:33 am

Greetings,

LauraJ wrote:It's curious to me that someone would reject it.


... and it may well be the case that within the scope of Mahayana doctrine there is no basis whatsoever upon which to reject the three-lifetime interpretation, and this in turn would be of interest to me, and I would greatly welcome discussion on whether there is a parallel debate on the subject within Mahayana circles that corresponds with the debates within Theravada circles.

And tying that back to rebirth, I feel compelled to say (just in case there is any doubt) that adherence to a non-time-delineated model of dependent origination is independent to belief or disbelief in the Buddha's doctrines of post-mortem continuance. There is ample evidence in all scriptures of all traditions to recognise that the Buddha taught literal post-mortem continuance.

:spy:

Metta,
Retro. :)
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Re: Another rebirth thread

Postby Ngawang Drolma » Fri Jan 15, 2010 6:39 am

Very nice clarification, Retro :)

I'll try to find such debates among known Mahayana and Vajrayana practitioners.
Hopefully someone will jump in, too.

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Re: Another rebirth thread

Postby retrofuturist » Fri Jan 15, 2010 6:45 am

Greetings bhante,

Apologies, I missed this post earlier as I was rushing to an appointment...

Huifeng wrote:
retrofuturist wrote:Greetings Laura,

LauraJ wrote:Retro doesn't jati happen repeatedly, both in the moment-to-moment experience and after the skandhas break up?


From my reading of the suttas that would appear to be the case.

Metta,
Retro. :)


Please cite a Mahayana source.


I don't know of any. I am not learned in Mahayana doctrine. Perhaps you know of some Mahayana sources that contadict my statement?

Metta,
Retro. :)
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Re: Another rebirth thread

Postby Ngawang Drolma » Fri Jan 15, 2010 7:43 am

Okay Retro, I'm gathering information regarding conversations among Mahayana and Vajrayana folks regarding the three-lives model.

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Re: Another rebirth thread

Postby ronnewmexico » Fri Jan 15, 2010 6:38 pm

Well as to the original question...."What do you think? What transmigrates".

I will leave it to others of much greater knowledge than I, to do searches of sutra sutta and doctrine to estimate what approximates such a thing as explained in such a fashion.

In a personal sense and not to state it is even necessarily a Buddhist sense, though I may be able to "back it up" with certain references that are established within Buddhism. I do not actually know enough to state this is a "official Buddhist view". It seems so but I am not certain.

My take....We are essentially aware. To digress a bit "essentially" however does not imply inherantly existant. If no object presents we do not have a awareness present. This never however is the case for various reasons.

Our awareness has certain characteristics, present to cause what it is called our awareness. Ability to discriminate, ability to see sameness, ability to perceived energy movement dynamic, and.....specfic to this thing called rebirth, and what transmigrates....ability to retain things.This is a necessary process to know our environment and to know any object that may present in it. Awareness simply being to know of, as in knowing of the existance of a ball entering a room we may be in. Awareness in this context implies more cognicence, than that simplicity. Aspects of awareness enable us to "know" things. We know but relationship but that is another issue, to again digress.

So we are more than aware. Unfortunately we take these varying aspects of awareness(tools present to enable us to understand things) and misconstrue them. Like and dislike emenate from discrimination, combined with same perception, create a self concept(through ignorance) per example.

The rebirth or transmigration(actually nothing transmigrates we are the same essentially in death as in birth and all states inbetween) is a extension of the habitual tendency aspect of our awareness which is itself derived from the retentiveness quality aspect of our awareness, or cognitive process.

WE must retain knowledge to preform cognitive functions. Again that is a broader catagory but essentially this is the awareness that is spoken of...cognition. To fully know what a ball entering a room is, we must have a retentive aspect to our awareness, and from this stems habitual processes. Retention enables cognitive function to compare one object perceived to another, perhaps a object not currently being perceived.

So essentially by misconstruing awareness retentive aspect(the process how it works the mechanism) we create habit and thusly we create habitual tendency. Essentially with repetitive process and reinforcement(in this case self reinforcement of a mistaken kind) we create a thing we call self. Once we create self, a rebirth is a necessity and not a option. With creation of self....other is also created. Our birth death and all the rest(products of a misconstrued awareness) are a result of this creation. WE create self and other, and reinforce its existance with the production of a environment which affirms its existance. The particular rebirth is dependent upon what we consider to be necessary to reinforce self. We develope tendency(part of habitual formation) and from this tendency we create certain environments which serve in their complexity to in a final sense, reinfoce what we concieve of as our self.
So our tendency fits us to our particular rebirth. Self concept, necessitates it. SElf concept is the cause of a particuar rebirth.

So in essence, it is retentive aspect of consciousness from which rebirth stems.

So..."What do you think? What transmigrates"...is answered. I can elaborate on each essential point if requested.

A add on....
It is all total nonsense of course, these things are in the end simply how we understand, and self and other are all bogus garbage which deceives us into thinking this is how things are, when they are not. Only with true understanding, seeing things as they actually are through actually employing our awareness in their normal fashion, can we see through this pile of garbage which stretches to the sky and beyond. Right here and now is how things are when we die, no different in any aspect. Degree only.
Our death and rebirth is how we are. If we were not we would not participate is such painful things.

And not a shred of this changes the fact....without a object to preceive we do not perceive. That is the key to understanding our escape, not our awareness but our emptiness. So suchly we must travel in this particular direction if we want to end this thing that is, this delusion. The thing itself, our awareness quality our ability to do this thing called being aware, never ends when object is present to elicit its presence.

So there....enjoy my laypersons uneducated perhaps nonBuddhist view of this thing!!

Agree, or disagree, Buddhist or nonBuddhist, human or god, animal or demon, joker or thief, begger or king...I don't care....not a fig.

Enjoy!!
To add.....I will generally not debate this thing, as I consider it a personal view. And as personal view not better nor worse than any other personal view. I can elaborate if requested on some specific points, and can largly "back up" specific points from sources within Buddhism, if that is requested. I actually do not know what constitutes Buddhism at this place in time. Present day Buddhism remains largly unknown to me.

But I have answered the question, as I may, and has been requested.
"This order considers that progress can be achieved more rapidly during a single month of self-transformation through terrifying conditions in rough terrain and in "the abode of harmful forces" than through meditating for a period of three years in towns and monasteries"....Takpo Tashi Namgyal.
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Re: Another rebirth thread

Postby ground » Sun Jan 17, 2010 5:39 pm

LauraJ wrote:What do you think? What transmigrates?


I don't recall my first time becoming "aware of something". Was it in my mother's womb or later? I don't know. I do not feel like having "transmigrated". I feel like having started to live for the first time somewhere in the past. And I have been taught that this start is called "birth". I have been taught and seen what "birth" is in biological and physical contexts. I also have been taught what "I" means and what "mine" is. This was easy learning. From what I see, hear and read I conclude that this life, my life, will definitely end and there will be no more "I" being aware of anything. Will there be further "being aware of" then? Don't know. Guess it will be the same way it was before I first became aware of something in this, my life.
What would this life feel like if "I" and "mine" were totally gone and all reminders of "I" and "mine" were gone as well? No "my birth", no "my parents", no "my life" ... guess the question of "re-birth" or "transmigration" would become totally irrelevant. But as long as there appears this body and a "being aware of" "I" and "mine" will never be totally gone, so to wonder how it would feel like is as speculative as pondering about "transmigration" or "re-birth".

But I like the model of dependent origination because it says "nothing and everything", appears to be non-linear and counter-intuitive.

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Re: Another rebirth thread

Postby Ngawang Drolma » Sun Jan 17, 2010 6:01 pm

Agree, or disagree, Buddhist or nonBuddhist, human or god, animal or demon, joker or thief, begger or king...I don't care....not a fig.


Thanks a lot TM, your posts are a good read.

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Laura :)
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Re: Another rebirth thread

Postby Lazy_eye » Sun Jan 17, 2010 6:57 pm

LauraJ wrote:What transmigrates?

:namaste:


Usually when I ask myself this question, it's actually a different (though related) question that I'm interested in. Namely, whether consciousness enters a disembodied state after death; and, if so, what the properties of that state might be.

Since the suttas speak of "the breakup of the body" (and what happens after), it seems clear that there's some sort of intermediate state. And in the twelvefold chain, consciousness precedes nama-rupa, so it must be able to function -- at least in a trace or latent form -- without a physical base. Although I also heard a talk recently in which the teacher referenced a different formulation of dependent origination, in which nama-rupa is described as a supporting condition for consciousness (and vice versa).

It seems to me this is the root question...if we understand what Buddhism teaches about the behavior of consciousness, and the various operative states, then we can understand transmigration/rebirth. I'm pretty far from understanding any of it. :thinking:

LE
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Re: Another rebirth thread

Postby BFS » Sun Jan 17, 2010 6:59 pm

LauraJ wrote:What do you think? What transmigrates?

:namaste:


What I think, I think, is of very little importance. :lol:


I like what Matthieu Ricard has to say about how in Buddhism - reincarnation is not the rebirth of the self :


"First of all, it’s important to understand that what’s called reincarnation in Buddhism has nothing to do with the transmigration of some “entity” like an autonomous “self”. It’s not a process of metempsychosis.
As long as one thinks in terms of entities rather than function and continuity of experience, it’s impossible to understand the Buddhist concept of rebirth. As it’s said, “There is no thread passing through the beads of the necklace of rebirths.”
Over successive rebirths, what is maintained is not the identity of a “person,” but the conditioning of a stream of consciousness. "
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Re: Another rebirth thread

Postby ronnewmexico » Sun Jan 17, 2010 7:15 pm

LJ

It seems that quote you mention is from my post and TM is abscribed to it.

Rest assured TM and I are not the same person. Perhaps it is a nonintentional inferal, but nevertheless it may read that way.

His view and mine differ significantly as you may note.

To add to BFS's theme I have heard it described as the lighting of one candle from another and another from that one(and on and on). That being a description of the energy of the light being the same but the candle and actual thing burning, differing. The flame continueing nothing more.
"This order considers that progress can be achieved more rapidly during a single month of self-transformation through terrifying conditions in rough terrain and in "the abode of harmful forces" than through meditating for a period of three years in towns and monasteries"....Takpo Tashi Namgyal.
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Re: Another rebirth thread

Postby Ngawang Drolma » Sun Jan 17, 2010 7:21 pm

ronnewmexico wrote:LJ
It seems that quote you mention is from my post and TM is abscribed to it.


You're right! :emb:

Thanks for your post.

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