Are Karma and Rebirth Real?

No holds barred discussion on the Buddhadharma. Argue about rebirth, karma, commentarial interpretations etc. Be nice to each other.

Re: are karma and rebirth for real?

Postby LastLegend » Sat Oct 22, 2011 9:53 pm

Karma is real. Actions will create effects. If you grow apple, you will have apple.
And hell is your own experience of your mind...if you constantly think negative, that's hell for you right there.

Rebirth...well things grow, and die, and grow again. It is a cycle man and we need to break out of this cycle. I am sure you can see this in nature as well...if there is birth, there is death. If there is death, there is birth.

Peace outside hippies
NAMO AMITABHA
NAM MO A DI DA PHAT (VIETNAMESE)
NAMO AMITUOFO (CHINESE)
User avatar
LastLegend
 
Posts: 1732
Joined: Sat Mar 19, 2011 3:46 pm
Location: Washington DC

Re: are karma and rebirth for real?

Postby coldmountain » Sat Oct 22, 2011 11:36 pm

Thanks for your response Dechen Norbu,

So, there you have it. IMO, the only way out in the current state of affairs is for you to try it for yourself. It will be a hell of a quest as it seems training your mind to such a point takes years of dedicated practice, thousands or tens of thousands hours of meditation and perhaps some more hundreds of hours studying. In the end you will know, but it's a knowledge obtained in a way that can't be proven to a 3rd person. Gladly, knowing for a fact that rebirth is true or not seems to bring many other positive side effects to our mind. ;) So it may worth your while.


I suppose the problem I have with this is that it rests on the testimony of a few people. The claims of Buddhism about heavens, hells and all the rest seem to hinge on scant evidence. Ultimately, it seems little different than belief in God, those who say you have to believe first, then see. But how can one believe without seeing? This of course is not a perfect analogy, but it comes close. How can I have the confidence to practice when one of the most basic claims of Buddhism seems fantastic? The idea of knowing 'in the end' seems like the Christian's assurance that we'll know in the afterlife. And if it really takes tens of thousands of hours of training the mind just to verify what, to my mind, should be a relatively readily accessible phenomenon, for me that might as well be at some point in the afterlife. In this way it seems to vary little from God. The biggest claim of theism is also the most vacant in terms of empirical verification.

I really do hear you on the philosophy of mind. I can no longer accept materialistic metaphysics, but giving up on materialism, while opening me up to the possibility of rebirth, has not given me any positive reason to believe in it.

Thanks and peace,
Mike
coldmountain
 
Posts: 46
Joined: Wed May 04, 2011 9:52 pm

Re: are karma and rebirth for real?

Postby KeithBC » Sat Oct 22, 2011 11:58 pm

coldmountain wrote:Ultimately, it seems little different than belief in God, those who say you have to believe first, then see.

I beg to differ. It is quite different.

Buddhism does not ask you to believe first then see. It asks you to keep an open mind, not rejecting its teachings while you check things out for yourself. If you pay attention, you will see that suffering is caused by attachment. If you pay attention, you can verify that following the Eightfld Path is a more wholesome way to live. If you pay attention, you can verify karma for yourself. If you pay attention, you can even get hints of previous lives.

Then, as you build up experience in verifying the Buddha's claims as being true, you will realize the quality of teacher that he was. You will have confidence that, when the Buddha makes a particular claim, it is very likely true even if you have no first-hand experience, because the teachings you already checked out turned out to be true.

Buddhism asks you to see for yourself, and then believe.

Om mani padme hum
Keith
User avatar
KeithBC
 
Posts: 379
Joined: Tue Apr 07, 2009 5:22 pm
Location: East Coast of Canada

Re: are karma and rebirth for real?

Postby Tilopa » Sun Oct 23, 2011 12:17 am

KeithBC wrote:
coldmountain wrote:Ultimately, it seems little different than belief in God, those who say you have to believe first, then see.


Buddhism asks you to see for yourself, and then believe.

True but some of the fundamentals such as karma and rebirth are hidden or very hidden phenomena and can't be 'seen' but only inferred through logic or accepted on the basis of one's belief that Buddha is omniscient and his teachings correct. Like other religious traditions at a certain point faith also becomes an essential aspect of practice.
User avatar
Tilopa
 
Posts: 486
Joined: Sun Oct 17, 2010 3:53 am

Re: are karma and rebirth for real?

Postby KeithBC » Sun Oct 23, 2011 1:39 am

Tilopa wrote:True but some of the fundamentals such as karma and rebirth are hidden or very hidden phenomena and can't be 'seen' but only inferred through logic or accepted on the basis of one's belief that Buddha is omniscient and his teachings correct. Like other religious traditions at a certain point faith also becomes an essential aspect of practice.

Rebirth, yes, can only be inferred.

But it is possible to observe karma directly. True, you can't see it carrying over from one lifetime to the next, but you can see it in operation during this life.

Om mani padme hum
Keith
User avatar
KeithBC
 
Posts: 379
Joined: Tue Apr 07, 2009 5:22 pm
Location: East Coast of Canada

Re: are karma and rebirth for real?

Postby DarwidHalim » Sun Oct 23, 2011 2:07 am

coldmountain wrote:Cause and effect does not mean rebirth, for it is just as easy to affirm cause and effect without rebirth. Rebirth requires cause and effect, but not the other way around.


In order to understand whether god exists or not, we need to understand emptiness perfectly. We will start with intellectual level followed by direct experience. That is the normal way. It will be very long to explain it in this forum.

However, your comment which I quoted above is quite interesting.

Cause and effect does not required rebirth. This is true. The problem is normal people cannot stop the cause. They always create the cause unconsciously. In this case, they have themselves choose to be born again and again.

The teaching of 6 bardo well explain that when we are going to die, we will be very scared. Because of that during the bardo state, we will 'grab' something, where that something is related to our karma. In this case, we are choosing the cause again and again and again. No choice then for us to take rebirth. The rebirth cannot be stopped.

In order for you to accept karma is quite easy, just do simple experiment you will get it.
In order to accept rebirth, we need intellectual understanding in case we never see Our past lifes, which will be quite long to be explained here.

I think this book can help you: "Natural liberation" by Padmashbava and others. Another book is "Mind Beyond Death"
I am not here nor there.
I am not right nor wrong.
I do not exist neither non-exist.
I am not I nor non-I.
I am not in samsara nor nirvana.
To All Buddhas, I bow down for the teaching of emptiness. Thank You!
User avatar
DarwidHalim
 
Posts: 418
Joined: Thu Sep 22, 2011 6:04 pm

Re: are karma and rebirth for real?

Postby deepbluehum » Sun Oct 23, 2011 2:09 am

KeithBC wrote:Rebirth, yes, can only be inferred.


Arhats and up directly perceive all their past lives. Tathagatas see everyone's past and future lives. Drubwang Rinpoche, as fairly recent example, recalled his past lives and recounted one where he committed a murder.
deepbluehum
 
Posts: 1302
Joined: Sat Aug 13, 2011 2:05 am
Location: San Francisco, CA

Re: are karma and rebirth for real?

Postby dakini_boi » Sun Oct 23, 2011 2:21 am

coldmountain wrote:The claims of Buddhism about heavens, hells and all the rest seem to hinge on scant evidence. Ultimately, it seems little different than belief in God, those who say you have to believe first, then see. But how can one believe without seeing? This of course is not a perfect analogy, but it comes close. How can I have the confidence to practice when one of the most basic claims of Buddhism seems fantastic? The idea of knowing 'in the end' seems like the Christian's assurance that we'll know in the afterlife. And if it really takes tens of thousands of hours of training the mind just to verify what, to my mind, should be a relatively readily accessible phenomenon, for me that might as well be at some point in the afterlife. In this way it seems to vary little from God. The biggest claim of theism is also the most vacant in terms of empirical verification. . .


Mike,

Buddhist teachings on heavens & hells can be empirically observed. They are metaphors for possible conditions that beings live in. They are presented as if they are separate "realms" - but they are really temporary states that beings find themselves based on various causes. I can certainly observe, in my own life, transmigration among the six realms.

Probably the best place to start studying Buddhism if you are really geared toward empiricism, is with the 4 noble truths. It took me years of honestly observing myself, before I was able to accept the 1st and 2nd noble truths. (on suffering and its causes). At this point, the only thing I really take on faith in Buddhism is that liberation is possible. The reason I accept this on faith is that great teachers who have demonstrated to me that their perception surpasses my own have said this.

The only reason belief in rebirth is necessary to practice Buddhism is because - if your chain of causes and effects ends with your death, what could possibly motivate you to invest the time and effort to attain conditionless happiness? It would seem to be much easier to focus on the 8 worldly dharmas. . .
dakini_boi
 
Posts: 678
Joined: Sun Dec 12, 2010 1:02 am

Re: are karma and rebirth for real?

Postby Thug4lyfe » Sun Oct 23, 2011 8:02 am

Not believing in rebirth will hinder your cultivation. Your more likely to commit alot of wrong doing and regress in your progress, because temptations are too strong to with standing without a more solid faith on consequences from bad karma.
Image
User avatar
Thug4lyfe
 
Posts: 454
Joined: Tue Aug 16, 2011 11:40 pm

Re: are karma and rebirth for real?

Postby edearl » Sun Oct 23, 2011 8:19 am

Food_Eatah wrote:Not believing in rebirth will hinder your cultivation. Your more likely to commit alot of wrong doing and regress in your progress, because temptations are too strong to with standing without a more solid faith on consequences from bad karma.

I guess I don't understand. If you have infinite chances to do right and have good karma, it seems to me one would be more likely to be bad in this life, and put-off working to be good. If you only have one chance, you better be good the first time. N'est-ce pas?
HHDL: "My confidence in venturing into science lies in my basic belief that as in science so in Buddhism, understanding the nature of reality is pursued by means of critical investigation: if scientific analysis were conclusively to demonstrate certain claims in Buddhism to be false, then we must accept the findings of science and abandon those claims."
User avatar
edearl
 
Posts: 289
Joined: Fri Sep 23, 2011 10:11 pm
Location: USA, Texas

Re: are karma and rebirth for real?

Postby Kyosan » Sun Oct 23, 2011 8:24 am

deepbluehum wrote:Actions have consequences, that's just common sense. Western religions believe in rebirth in hell or heaven. Islam believes you are reborn from hell to heaven when the punishment is complete. The best explanation comes from Western metaphysics, every moment the body changes. It is discontinuous. In Buddhist terms, every moment is a rebirth of the previous moment. Western medicine has M.D. accounts of patients reporting events when they were clinically dead.

Bottom line. There is no Buddhism without both karma and rebirth. Without karma and rebirth, Buddhism would be completely useless and meaningless. In sum, Buddhism is the teaching about karma and rebirth.

You are calling impermanence (the momentary existence) of all things rebirth. What impermanence really means is that there is no abiding self in things. There is no self in things, so how could that self be reborn from instant to instant?
:namaste:
Kyosan
 
Posts: 331
Joined: Fri Oct 15, 2010 10:57 pm
Location: USA, Tucson

Re: are karma and rebirth for real?

Postby Dechen Norbu » Sun Oct 23, 2011 12:30 pm

Kyosan wrote:
deepbluehum wrote:Actions have consequences, that's just common sense. Western religions believe in rebirth in hell or heaven. Islam believes you are reborn from hell to heaven when the punishment is complete. The best explanation comes from Western metaphysics, every moment the body changes. It is discontinuous. In Buddhist terms, every moment is a rebirth of the previous moment. Western medicine has M.D. accounts of patients reporting events when they were clinically dead.

Bottom line. There is no Buddhism without both karma and rebirth. Without karma and rebirth, Buddhism would be completely useless and meaningless. In sum, Buddhism is the teaching about karma and rebirth.

You are calling impermanence (the momentary existence) of all things rebirth. What impermanence really means is that there is no abiding self in things. There is no self in things, so how could that self be reborn from instant to instant?
:namaste:


The concept of rebirth doesn't go against the idea of anatman. The concept of reincarnation, however, does, because it assumes that there is a permanent entity like a soul traveling through time and taking different bodies. This is not the same as rebirth. You don't have a self going from this moment to the very next that has more than conceptual existence. However, to the unenlightened so it seems. Although there's no real self going through this life, we act as if it did. We live as if it did, die as if it did and take a new birth as if it did. What there is is a mental continuum, thoughts and feelings perceived by an awareness unsubstantial that doesn't stop when this body dies. This deep awareness can be found through meditation and there are experiments which can be performed regarding the investigation of its starting point by the practitioner.

Rebirth is just a change in circumstances a little deeper than usual. But in essence, life, death, rebirth and so on are deluded perceptions.
Ron hints that in his original way of saying things. Truly there's no life nor death and these are but deluded experiences. To gain an insight about this is, IMO, quite important, but also not that easy for everyone. Gaining a bit of insight about this, also lightens a little our concerns regarding rebirth and karma. These teachings are quite useful, but not the main point. They are useful especially when we check our conduct, but even then, the tendency will be going from sets of rules to a behavior guided by wisdom. When one investigates the mind deeply enough, one will also realize that even a dramatic set of circumstances such as death doesn't put an end to consciousness. It's just a change, a little faster than the usual changes which are constantly occurring all around. i.e., I had a body in the past that is no more, only a result remains, my adult body. I had feelings and ideas in the past that are no more, only this awareness of what comes and goes. I'm only the result of a person who doesn't exist any longer. If my memory fails me and I suffer from amnesia, I'll still be the result of that person, even though I don't share a single atom or a single mental process with him. Just this awareness that watches changes going on, experiences which are now bright and vivid and will fade away in the future to the point of oblivion.

Sometimes what we need to try to understand is what is blocking us from a deeper understanding about rebirth. What makes us prone to dismiss this idea without first giving it proper thought and putting it to the test? Sometimes we may discover that even without noticing we have a predilection for a certain system of metaphysical assumptions we've assimilated during our education. We are tired of knowing that what seems is not always what is and even though it seems the sun goes around the sky, Earth revolves around the sun, even though it seems we die and that's it, there may be the case that things are different. Episodes of people claiming to recall past lives are not rare nor recent. Are they imagining things? I don't think such is always the case.

Our culture encourages parents to repress recounts of past lives memories if their offspring manifests them. So it is natural that we don't hear about it often, unless we dig a little. Were you living in Tibet or in India and probably you'd face a whole different set of beliefs.

We tend to be a little ethnocentric in our worldview, and that is natural. These days such problem is being lessened, one of the positive effects of globalization (it had to have something good, for it has so many bad). There were times when according to us proper people were white and Christian. Otherwise they were considered barbaric, sometimes not even human.
Well, I'm diverging. Anyway, the point is, it is worth a while to try methods that some people say will allow you to check for yourself rebirth, karma and so on. Choosing what is not more than a temporary set of metaphysical predilections in the guise of scientific facts doesn't seem productive. Science may have a word about many, many subjects, but for the time being it has no answers to these questions, at least answers properly built according to good methodological practices and intellectual honesty. So, in the future perhaps, but for now it's a dead end. Then you have Buddhadharma and its propositions. One of them, taken quite seriously, is that being a good honest person is part of the way to go. If you meet closely some real practitioners, you'll be impressed with their kindness, honesty and so on. That doesn't go along well with lying about knowing the truth about rebirth. So perhaps if we listen to the experts in this field, first understanding why we can consider them so, and when we put traditional scholastic divergences apart, we will see that they all pretty much speak the same language. Then we test it ourselves as, so far, we don't seem to be able to get answers from anywhere else but our own experience. Seems an interesting proposal to me.
User avatar
Dechen Norbu
 
Posts: 2798
Joined: Sat Mar 26, 2011 6:50 pm

Re: are karma and rebirth for real?

Postby deepbluehum » Sun Oct 23, 2011 5:21 pm

Kyosan wrote:
deepbluehum wrote:Actions have consequences, that's just common sense. Western religions believe in rebirth in hell or heaven. Islam believes you are reborn from hell to heaven when the punishment is complete. The best explanation comes from Western metaphysics, every moment the body changes. It is discontinuous. In Buddhist terms, every moment is a rebirth of the previous moment. Western medicine has M.D. accounts of patients reporting events when they were clinically dead.

Bottom line. There is no Buddhism without both karma and rebirth. Without karma and rebirth, Buddhism would be completely useless and meaningless. In sum, Buddhism is the teaching about karma and rebirth.

You are calling impermanence (the momentary existence) of all things rebirth. What impermanence really means is that there is no abiding self in things. There is no self in things, so how could that self be reborn from instant to instant?
:namaste:


Impermanence and rebirth are one teaching. Every moment is a little different than the previous. The body's condition is always changing from moment to moment. While it has changed, yet, we continue to use this "body." Thus, moments are discontinuous, each composed of distinct interdependent conditions. Being distinct yet conventionally useful, each moment is the rebirth of the previous, and stands in causal relationship to the previous. This nucleus of operation is at the heart of the Buddhist teaching on rebirth. Because, if moments always stand in relationship to one another like this, then there is nothing about death per se that could change this relationship. Each previous moment is death; each current moment is birth. What dies and is born is never the same. We don't posit an entity, only a causal stream illustrated by the twelve links and eight consciousness system. What is reborn has no abiding self and is impermanent. However that is not to say "there is no abiding self in things, therefore there is no rebirth." The object of negation is the causal stream. It has no abiding self. This causal stream has the nature of birth, old age, sickness and death. What is not reborn is the prajnaparamita, buddha-nature, nirvana-element "consciousness pure luminous all around," etc, because it is like space, is not an object of analysis, because what cannot be born, cannot die or be reborn. If this mode of description does not suit you due to doctrinal history and allegiances, then I offer the following: Conditionality is, by its very nature, unborn. What has not come into being, cannot be rendered undone. And, what cannot be undone cannot be negated, either. Conditionality is "soul" of Buddhism, meaning, conditionality unknown is samsara, known is nirvana, because once the veil of ignorance is lifted, a known illusion has no power to deceive, and, without deception, suffering has no cause.
deepbluehum
 
Posts: 1302
Joined: Sat Aug 13, 2011 2:05 am
Location: San Francisco, CA

Re: are karma and rebirth for real?

Postby Ogyen » Sun Oct 23, 2011 8:23 pm

Dechen Norbu wrote:Science can't answer that question just yet. In fact, science can't say much about consciousness, its origin and fate, without helping itself with metaphysical speculation, even if sometimes that sort of assumptions pass to the general public as scientific facts. There are some interesting studies about it, but then you find different interpretations of the results. While some say that there is strong evidence in favor of a theory supporting reincarnation (usually people outside Buddhism don't make the difference between rebirth and reincarnation), others will maintain that such is not the case. The reasons for such scenario are vast and trying to understand both positions implies spending some dozens of hours researching and reading about philosophy, epistemology of science, history of science, sociology etc. Then it is possible to have some grasp about what's really going on. In the end, what you will have are opinions covering a large spectrum regarding this matter. You may prefer some over others, but in the end you will end with your own opinion or not being able to form one.

If I were to tell you that I knew for a fact that rebirth was a fact, talking about memories of past lives, you couldn't be sure if I was talking about cold hard facts or my beliefs mixed with interpretations. So, again you would be stuck in the testimony of a 3rd party. It won't do much for you in terms of certainty.

Regarding your observations about nature, there are many cases of people who seem to have unexplained memories and feelings concerning what some assume to be past lives. Thousands of cases were already reported. Some are explainable, some hardly. You never seen an electron, a molecule or a supernova. Yet you trust experts word on this. You can try to figure out who are those you can consider experts about this subject of rebirth. Scientists? Not for me. Some Buddhist teachers? It's for you to decide.

In the end, it boils down to your own experience, since it seems that this phenomena is quite hidden and not easy to verify. Deepen your practice to a point in which you know for yourself if rebirth is a fact. When you discover, you may say to others that you know for a fact that rebirth theory can be confirmed, but then others will have nothing but your word to rely upon. If they wish to know for themselves, they need to follow the procedure and train their mind as you did.

By the way, I am thinking about an apple right now. There's no science on Earth that can prove this to be true. This doesn't mean I can't think about an apple right now, though. I know I am. Is it possible for you to think about an apple right now? Try it for yourself and tell me. However, to be sure that you indeed can think about an apple at this very moment, I would have to read your mind. Not even a polygraph could guarantee that you were speaking the truth, as we have nothing able to measure or detect mental phenomena directly (it's useful to avoid mistaking them for their neural correlates).

So, there you have it. IMO, the only way out in the current state of affairs is for you to try it for yourself. It will be a hell of a quest as it seems training your mind to such a point takes years of dedicated practice, thousands or tens of thousands hours of meditation and perhaps some more hundreds of hours studying. In the end you will know, but it's a knowledge obtained in a way that can't be proven to a 3rd person. Gladly, knowing for a fact that rebirth is true or not seems to bring many other positive side effects to our mind. ;) So it may worth your while.


:bow: :bow: :bow: :bow: :bow: :bow:

I guess, if you really wanna know, find a way to find out.
:heart:
Image Made from 100% recycled karma

The Heart Drive Word Press
Mud to Lotus

"To love. To be loved. To never forget your own insignificance. To never get used to the unspeakable violence and the vulgar disparity of life around you. To seek joy in the saddest places. To pursue beauty to its lair. To never simplify what is complicated or complicate what is simple. To respect strength, never power. Above all, to watch. To try and understand. To never look away. And never, never, to forget." –Arundhati Roy
User avatar
Ogyen
 
Posts: 446
Joined: Sun Dec 06, 2009 5:36 pm

Re: are karma and rebirth for real?

Postby coldmountain » Sun Oct 23, 2011 10:43 pm

Thanks for all the responses everyone.

Food_Eatah wrote:Not believing in rebirth will hinder your cultivation. Your more likely to commit alot of wrong doing and regress in your progress, because temptations are too strong to with standing without a more solid faith on consequences from bad karma.


I can accept this as valid. What we believe about life after death will of course have profound effects on how we live this life.

Bhikkhu Bodhi wrote an essay called 'Does Rebirth Make Sense', in which he simply explains the philosophical coherence of the idea. (http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/auth ... ay_46.html)

I find many things in this essay that speak to me, but I also know that just because it sounds intuitively appealing, it is not then real. It all seems to really come down to whether the universe is really 'like that'. Does cause and effect really extend to a moral dimension of existence? Does the mind survive death? These are of course very important questions but it seems that no matter what, one is encouraged to accept certain propositions merely on faith.

In my own life I've walked away from this type of faith, and my walking away has led me to Buddhism. Buddhism's premises are very potent, but it is disturbing to me that one of its central premises is so 'out there' from my perspective.

Now I know others have been ready to point out that Buddhism is not like that, that it encourages actual practice to test the teachings out for oneself. I agree that in a very genuine way Buddhism seems to be like that. I'd like to be able to just keep an open mind and practice meditation without focusing on such questions, but it seems that important issues like this cannot just be left on the backburner for me.

Peace.
coldmountain
 
Posts: 46
Joined: Wed May 04, 2011 9:52 pm

Re: are karma and rebirth for real?

Postby Kyosan » Mon Oct 24, 2011 4:22 am

deepbluehum wrote:Impermanence and rebirth are one teaching. Every moment is a little different than the previous. The body's condition is always changing from moment to moment. While it has changed, yet, we continue to use this "body." Thus, moments are discontinuous, each composed of distinct interdependent conditions. Being distinct yet conventionally useful, each moment is the rebirth of the previous, and stands in causal relationship to the previous. This nucleus of operation is at the heart of the Buddhist teaching on rebirth. Because, if moments always stand in relationship to one another like this, then there is nothing about death per se that could change this relationship. Each previous moment is death; each current moment is birth. What dies and is born is never the same. We don't posit an entity, only a causal stream illustrated by the twelve links and eight consciousness system. What is reborn has no abiding self and is impermanent. However that is not to say "there is no abiding self in things, therefore there is no rebirth." The object of negation is the causal stream. It has no abiding self. This causal stream has the nature of birth, old age, sickness and death. What is not reborn is the prajnaparamita, buddha-nature, nirvana-element "consciousness pure luminous all around," etc, because it is like space, is not an object of analysis, because what cannot be born, cannot die or be reborn. If this mode of description does not suit you due to doctrinal history and allegiances, then I offer the following: Conditionality is, by its very nature, unborn. What has not come into being, cannot be rendered undone. And, what cannot be undone cannot be negated, either. Conditionality is "soul" of Buddhism, meaning, conditionality unknown is samsara, known is nirvana, because once the veil of ignorance is lifted, a known illusion has no power to deceive, and, without deception, suffering has no cause.

Thanks for your explanation deepbluehum. I think we are very much in agreement on both what impermanence and the self is. I wasn't sure what you meant by the word "rebirth" and that's why I responded to your post.

I think of impermanence like this. At every moment a new moment appears and the old moment disappears. This process is driven by cause and effect and there is no self that persists in objects from moment to moment. We see forms of objects in our minds and think that there is a permanent self in these objects but in reality there isn't. I think that is the same thing you said.
:namaste:
Kyosan
 
Posts: 331
Joined: Fri Oct 15, 2010 10:57 pm
Location: USA, Tucson

Re: are karma and rebirth for real?

Postby Sherab Dorje » Mon Oct 24, 2011 7:42 am

edearl wrote:
Food_Eatah wrote:Not believing in rebirth will hinder your cultivation. Your more likely to commit alot of wrong doing and regress in your progress, because temptations are too strong to with standing without a more solid faith on consequences from bad karma.

I guess I don't understand. If you have infinite chances to do right and have good karma, it seems to me one would be more likely to be bad in this life, and put-off working to be good. If you only have one chance, you better be good the first time. N'est-ce pas?
You are overlooking one major detail: most of the people that do not believe in rebirth also do not believe in any form of "after life". If there is no continuity, no outcome to action except for that experienced during this incredibly brief span of time we call a lifetime, then why engage in positive actions for the benefit of others? Without rebirth or some notion of an afterlife there is no tangible reason to engage in positive/virtuous actions, if they do not bring instant (or at least in the short term) personal gratification.
:namaste:
"When one is not in accord with the true view
Meditation and conduct become delusion,
One will not attain the real result
One will be like a blind man who has no eyes."
Naropa - Summary of the View from The Eight Doha Treasures
User avatar
Sherab Dorje
Former staff member
 
Posts: 7889
Joined: Fri May 14, 2010 9:27 pm
Location: Greece

Re: are karma and rebirth for real?

Postby Thug4lyfe » Mon Oct 24, 2011 8:05 am

Not believing in rebirth and what happens after the death of our current physical form is a dangerous view in my opinion. Buddhism specifically talks about 4 maras that hinders us. The Mara of our mental afflictions, the mara of the 5 aggregates (skandhs), the mara of DEATH and the mara of wrong views.

If you've read ksitigarbha sutra, it describes rebirth in hell from many bad karma is a very painful and time wasting hinderance to our practice. Because it will take us out of the picture for a long long time. Not to mention the hungry ghost and animal rebirth.

Now, let's say you believe in rebirth and it turns out to be false.... whats the worst can happen? Other people on the internet laughs that your an ignorant superstitious religious freak? Does that really matter after your dead? Now if rebirth is real and it's controlled by Karma, does people's laughs really matter? People who practice "superstitious" deeds like chanting the Buddha's name and seeking help from Ksitigarbha Bodhisattva etc will be saved. Who is laughing then?

Now, lets also thinking what are the "terrible consequences" of believing in rebirth terrifying you into doing superstitious deeds like:

1. Stop stealing
2. Stop slandering other people
3. Stop supporting the porn industry by being one of the downloader, being one less patron in the club picking up girls, instead getting married based on reason, compassion and respect
4. Stop drinking alcohol and doing drugs

5. Have way less fun for yourself, in doing so having more money to help others?
Image
User avatar
Thug4lyfe
 
Posts: 454
Joined: Tue Aug 16, 2011 11:40 pm

Re: are karma and rebirth for real?

Postby Sherab Dorje » Mon Oct 24, 2011 9:16 am

Inevitably in these discussions (and they have been held on countless occasions, on countless Buddhist forums) one turns to the Buddhas teachings on the Four Assurances (from every sceptics favorite sutta: The Kalamas Sutta)
"Now, Kalamas, one who is a disciple of the noble ones — his mind thus free from hostility, free from ill will, undefiled, & pure — acquires four assurances in the here-&-now:

"'If there is a world after death, if there is the fruit of actions rightly & wrongly done, then this is the basis by which, with the break-up of the body, after death, I will reappear in a good destination, the heavenly world.' This is the first assurance he acquires.

"'But if there is no world after death, if there is no fruit of actions rightly & wrongly done, then here in the present life I look after myself with ease — free from hostility, free from ill will, free from trouble.' This is the second assurance he acquires.

"'If evil is done through acting, still I have willed no evil for anyone. Having done no evil action, from where will suffering touch me?' This is the third assurance he acquires.

"'But if no evil is done through acting, then I can assume myself pure in both respects.' This is the fourth assurance he acquires.

"One who is a disciple of the noble ones — his mind thus free from hostility, free from ill will, undefiled, & pure — acquires these four assurances in the here-&-now."

"So it is, Blessed One. So it is, O One Well-gone. One who is a disciple of the noble ones — his mind thus free from hostility, free from ill will, undefiled, & pure — acquires four assurances in the here-&-now:

"'If there is a world after death, if there is the fruit of actions rightly & wrongly done, then this is the basis by which, with the break-up of the body, after death, I will reappear in a good destination, the heavenly world.' This is the first assurance he acquires.

"'But if there is no world after death, if there is no fruit of actions rightly & wrongly done, then here in the present life I look after myself with ease — free from hostility, free from ill will, free from trouble.' This is the second assurance he acquires.

"'If evil is done through acting, still I have willed no evil for anyone. Having done no evil action, from where will suffering touch me?' This is the third assurance he acquires.

"'But if no evil is done through acting, then I can assume myself pure in both ways.' This is the fourth assurance he acquires.

"One who is a disciple of the noble ones — his mind thus free from hostility, free from ill will, undefiled, & pure — acquires these four assurances in the here-&-now.
So really, it seems that one should not "waste" ones time trying to convince oneself of the validitiy or not of rebirth but merely keep ones "...mind thus free from hostility, free from ill will, undefiled, & pure..." and get on with the game!!!
:namaste:
"When one is not in accord with the true view
Meditation and conduct become delusion,
One will not attain the real result
One will be like a blind man who has no eyes."
Naropa - Summary of the View from The Eight Doha Treasures
User avatar
Sherab Dorje
Former staff member
 
Posts: 7889
Joined: Fri May 14, 2010 9:27 pm
Location: Greece

Re: are karma and rebirth for real?

Postby edearl » Mon Oct 24, 2011 10:14 am

gregkavarnos wrote:
edearl wrote:
Food_Eatah wrote:Not believing in rebirth will hinder your cultivation. Your more likely to commit alot of wrong doing and regress in your progress, because temptations are too strong to with standing without a more solid faith on consequences from bad karma.

I guess I don't understand. If you have infinite chances to do right and have good karma, it seems to me one would be more likely to be bad in this life, and put-off working to be good. If you only have one chance, you better be good the first time. N'est-ce pas?
You are overlooking one major detail: most of the people that do not believe in rebirth also do not believe in any form of "after life". If there is no continuity, no outcome to action except for that experienced during this incredibly brief span of time we call a lifetime, then why engage in positive actions for the benefit of others? Without rebirth or some notion of an afterlife there is no tangible reason to engage in positive/virtuous actions, if they do not bring instant (or at least in the short term) personal gratification.
:namaste:


Umm. There are those, like Buddhists who believe in many reincarnations, others like Christians and Muslims who believe in one life and an after-life, and those who do not believe in any after-life. There is a fear among many that people who do not believe in an after-life will be villains more than people who do believe in an after-life. I don't know if a poll on that issue has ever been done. However, I am aware of a few people who do not believe in an after-life, yet choose to live a moral life.

I rejected Christianity more than 50 years ago, and lived without religion for over 50 years, and have not killed anyone, in fact I have not often killed anything including insects, have not stolen anything, except as a child when I was Christian, do not lie, usually not even white lies, and follow other moral values too. When I was a young man, I realized the world population would, soon after my 75th birthday be so overcrowded that people would starve en masse; thus, I had a vasectomy and have not had children. I've reared a family of two step-children and been married 25 years. Why? Partly because I want to be known and remembered as being a good person by friends and family. However, the biggest reason is that I wanted to live with myself without regrets.

If punishment was a deterrent, countries with the death penalty, like the US, would have extremely low rates of crimes with capital punishment sentences, but that is not the case. The death penalty is not a deterrent. Similarly, I doubt punishment in an after-life is punishment. Moreover, I doubt religion makes better people. In fact, I left my Christian family because their religion was being used to justify bad things, like bigotry and war. I think social pressure on people, whether they are religious or not, has a powerful effect on people's morals, and the need for people to live together and cooperate has led to moral values, which are partly inherent and partly learned.

It is impossible to cleanly divide the affects of nurture and nature. However, people tend to be squeamish about gutting a dead animal. They tend to dislike viewing or touching dead people. A cat likes to play with its prey before killing it, but people want to put an animal out of its misery when they kill. The moral values of all cultures are remarkably very similar, everywhere on earth. These are some examples of behaviors I believe illustrate people have inherent moral values. I think my ideas about morality are radical. I was compelled to contemplate why I am person who follows accepted moral values.

I almost didn't send this post, because it seems too argumentative. I hope it isn't.

Metta
HHDL: "My confidence in venturing into science lies in my basic belief that as in science so in Buddhism, understanding the nature of reality is pursued by means of critical investigation: if scientific analysis were conclusively to demonstrate certain claims in Buddhism to be false, then we must accept the findings of science and abandon those claims."
User avatar
edearl
 
Posts: 289
Joined: Fri Sep 23, 2011 10:11 pm
Location: USA, Texas

PreviousNext

Return to Open Dharma

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: JKhedrup, Konchog1, Lotus_Bitch, Nemo, supermaxv, theanarchist, yan kong and 27 guests

>