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 catmoon » Tue Oct 25, 2011 1:37 am

Nangwa wrote:
catmoon wrote:
Food_Eatah wrote:I failed to see how one can advance in the Dharma when they refuse to believe one of the most basic teaching of rebirth.



It's simple. There are many things that come before faith in Buddhism. Kindness. Wisdom. The eightfold path. Eventually the rebirth issue might become a roadblock, but there is enough in Buddhsim to keep people busy for years before they come to it.

Kindness and wisdom are not exclusive to Buddhism and you are not following the eightfold path if you deny rebirth.
Denying rebirth is definitely wrong view.



So it's wrong view. There are many, and most of us have them. You don't have to have The Right View to be a Buddhist, you just have to be on the path.
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Re: are karma and rebirth for real?

Postby Josef » Tue Oct 25, 2011 1:41 am

catmoon wrote:
So it's wrong view. There are many, and most of us have them. You don't have to have The Right View to be a Buddhist, you just have to be on the path.

We have an eightfold path, not a sevenfold path. Right view is not optional, which means rebirth is not optional.
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Re: are karma and rebirth for real?

Postby catmoon » Tue Oct 25, 2011 1:46 am

Nangwa wrote:
catmoon wrote:
So it's wrong view. There are many, and most of us have them. You don't have to have The Right View to be a Buddhist, you just have to be on the path.

We have an eightfold path, not a sevenfold path. Right view is not optional, which means rebirth is not optional.


If you restrict access to those who can pick up the entire eightfold path at once and practice, the only people who will be able to enter the path are those who are already Buddhas, or close to it.

In Catholicism there are creeds to which one must subscribe before being allowed entrance to the Church. Articles of faith like the resurrection, appearance before the crowds and ascent to Heaven must be believed before entry is granted. As far as I know, anyone is free to pursue the Buddhist path as best they can. It's a tolerant religion. It's different.
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Re: are karma and rebirth for real?

Postby deepbluehum » Tue Oct 25, 2011 1:48 am

Faith is the first of the five faculties. Faith in karma and phala, faith in rebirth, faith in the three jewels and in the enlightenment of the Tathagata. These faiths are key to right view. Other practices are not more important than faith. If you don't have faith in karma and phala which includes rebirth, then you don't have right view. If you don't have right view, you are not on the path of dharma.
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Re: are karma and rebirth for real?

Postby deepbluehum » Tue Oct 25, 2011 1:53 am

catmoon wrote:
Nangwa wrote:
catmoon wrote:
So it's wrong view. There are many, and most of us have them. You don't have to have The Right View to be a Buddhist, you just have to be on the path.

We have an eightfold path, not a sevenfold path. Right view is not optional, which means rebirth is not optional.


If you restrict access to those who can pick up the entire eightfold path at once and practice, the only people who will be able to enter the path are those who are already Buddhas, or close to it.

In Catholicism there are creeds to which one must subscribe before being allowed entrance to the Church. Articles of faith like the resurrection, appearance before the crowds and ascent to Heaven must be believed before entry is granted. As far as I know, anyone is free to pursue the Buddhist path as best they can. It's a tolerant religion. It's different.


Faith is a faculty for beginners who have not developed the wisdom to intuitively understand dependent arising. Faith is not a faculty for those who are already Buddhas or close to it. Buddhas and those close to it already see dependent arising; for them dharma is not a matter of belief but direct perception. For someone entering the path to develop right view means trusting in the Buddha's realization, which includes direct perception of karma, phala and rebirth. Based on this trust, one engages in the path until one's capacity for wisdom develops into intuitive direct perception of the workings of volition and consequences, which in turn develops into renunciation and compassion.
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Re: are karma and rebirth for real?

Postby catmoon » Tue Oct 25, 2011 2:03 am

The kind of faith mentioned in the above two posts is a vice, not a virtue, and was strenuously forbidden by the Buddha in the Kalama sutra.


"Come, Kalamas. Do not go upon what has been acquired by repeated hearing; nor upon tradition; nor upon rumor; nor upon what is in a scripture; nor upon surmise; nor upon an axiom; nor upon specious reasoning; nor upon a bias towards a notion that has been pondered over; nor upon another's seeming ability; nor upon the consideration, 'The monk is our teacher.' "


"Kalama Sutta: The Buddha's Charter of Free Inquiry", translated from the Pali by Soma Thera. Access to Insight, 7 June 2010, http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/auth ... el008.html . Retrieved on 24 October 2011.


The quoted passage is repeated several times in the sutra.


Editted for copyright compliance.
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Re: are karma and rebirth for real?

Postby Josef » Tue Oct 25, 2011 2:11 am

catmoon wrote:The kind of faith mentioned in the above two posts is a vice, not a virtue, and was strenuously forbidden by the Buddha in the Kalama sutra.


"Come, Kalamas. Do not go upon what has been acquired by repeated hearing; nor upon tradition; nor upon rumor; nor upon what is in a scripture; nor upon surmise; nor upon an axiom; nor upon specious reasoning; nor upon a bias towards a notion that has been pondered over; nor upon another's seeming ability; nor upon the consideration, 'The monk is our teacher.' "

trans. Soma Thera


The quoted passage is repeated several times in the sutra.

Ah yes. The same excerpt from the Kalama Sutra that we always see. Its completely irrelevant to this discussion.
It would be relevant if someone said something like, "I heard that Buddhist accept the Buddhas teachings on rebirth and therefore will not investigate these teachings myself." I am yet to see that kind of statement.
The consistent misuse of the Kalama Sutra as a support for arguing against rebirth is really disappointing.
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Re: are karma and rebirth for real?

Postby Josef » Tue Oct 25, 2011 2:18 am

catmoon wrote:
Nangwa wrote:
catmoon wrote:
So it's wrong view. There are many, and most of us have them. You don't have to have The Right View to be a Buddhist, you just have to be on the path.

We have an eightfold path, not a sevenfold path. Right view is not optional, which means rebirth is not optional.


If you restrict access to those who can pick up the entire eightfold path at once and practice, the only people who will be able to enter the path are those who are already Buddhas, or close to it.


Im not restricting anything. People can practice any part that they like and thats great. Take right livelihood and run with it but you wont be a Buddhist until you have right view as well.
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Re: are karma and rebirth for real?

Postby Karma Dondrup Tashi » Tue Oct 25, 2011 2:18 am

There are no facts. So what are you all arguing about?
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Re: are karma and rebirth for real?

Postby Josef » Tue Oct 25, 2011 2:20 am

Karma Dondrup Tashi wrote:There are no facts. So what are you all arguing about?

Relatively there are. Thats what makes the issue so good for debate.
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Re: are karma and rebirth for real?

Postby catmoon » Tue Oct 25, 2011 2:24 am

Nangwa wrote:
Im not restricting anything. People can practice any part that they like and thats great. Take right livelihood and run with it but you wont be a Buddhist until you have right view as well.




Perhaps you are restricting something. Suppose you were to run into someone who was just venturing into Buddhism and suppose you were to tell them that they are not a Buddhist. Such a seeker might very well be deeply offended, conclude that Buddhism is just a bunch of dogmatic nonsense like any other religion, and leave the path forever. Terrible karma for all involved.
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Re: are karma and rebirth for real?

Postby deepbluehum » Tue Oct 25, 2011 2:30 am

Actually in the Kalama Sutta the Buddha skillfully instills the faculty of faith in the Kalamas. A correct reading this text bears out that you can test karma and phala by acting with loving-kindness and compassion to discern whether these mental states overcome the three poisons. Then, by taking the four immeasurables as the path one has developed the five faculties and is properly within the scope of the eightfold path.
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Re: are karma and rebirth for real?

Postby Josef » Tue Oct 25, 2011 2:31 am

catmoon wrote:
Nangwa wrote:
Im not restricting anything. People can practice any part that they like and thats great. Take right livelihood and run with it but you wont be a Buddhist until you have right view as well.




Perhaps you are restricting something. Suppose you were to run into someone who was just venturing into Buddhism and suppose you were to tell them that they are not a Buddhist. Such a seeker might very well be deeply offended, conclude that Buddhism is just a bunch of dogmatic nonsense like any other religion, and leave the path forever. Terrible karma for all involved.

Its pretty pointless to consider oneself a Buddhist when you are not.
Its also pointless to think you are on the path when you are not.
Without right view being a "Buddhist" is no different than any other religion anyway and even worse it can be a manifestation of the eight worldly concerns.
Why bother wanting to be a Buddhist if you reject the fundamental reason for being one? Liberation from samsara/buddhahood.
We like to think that Buddhism is about happiness and kindness. Happiness and kindness are great and extremely important, but, the reason we utilize them is because we are on a path to liberate ourselves and others from the beginningless, endless, cycle of rebirth.
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Re: are karma and rebirth for real?

Postby coldmountain » Tue Oct 25, 2011 2:31 am

Nangwa wrote:
coldmountain wrote:
Food_Eatah wrote:I failed to see how one can advance in the Dharma when they refuse to believe one of the most basic teaching of rebirth.

But the problem here is with your idea that somehow people just 'refuse' to believe in the teaching of rebirth.

Thats exactly what they do.
They cling to their refusal/denial of rebirth a thousand times harder than any Buddhist clings to the rebirth teachings.
No rebirth, no Buddhism, and you know what? Thats totally ok. Not everyone has to be a Buddhist, but if you dont accept the teachings on karma and rebirth (which are far more rational than a single life theory) then you are absolutely not a Buddhist.


This kind of dogmatizing is absolutely not helpful. If it is 'far more rational', then please do explain how this is so in an intellectually honest manner. If you have something substantial behind your convictions, then please do disclose what they are (and I do mean that).

But something tells me that if you haven't grasped that not everyone is convinced of rebirth, then you stand on purely religious faith and little more. Your words fall on the same grounds as those Christians who would say of you and I that we are clinging to a denial of God, and that everyone innately believes in God. You're just refusing to believe in him. 'The fool has said in his heart there is no God', as it says in the Hebrew scriptures.

This idea that I'm refusing to believe in rebirth is absolutely nonsensical. If you're so certain of it, convince me. Give me something to believe. Until then, I can no more believe in rebirth than that I'm Hercules. You clearly don't understand what 'belief' is or what constitutes justified acceptance of a belief. Nobody chooses what they believe.
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Re: are karma and rebirth for real?

Postby Josef » Tue Oct 25, 2011 2:36 am

coldmountain wrote:
This kind of dogmatizing is absolutely not helpful.

I completely disagree and will absolutely not give a detailed response to any post or poster who accuses me of "dogmatizing".
You will not be convinced. I could type and give citations until my fingers hurt and it would be completely pointless.
The onus is on you to provide the counter-arguments. Buddhism has over 2500 years of practice and results to back its claims up.
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Re: are karma and rebirth for real?

Postby catmoon » Tue Oct 25, 2011 2:42 am

deepbluehum wrote:Actually in the Kalama Sutta the Buddha skillfully instills the faculty of faith in the Kalamas. A correct reading this text bears out that you can test karma and phala by acting with loving-kindness and compassion to discern whether these mental states overcome the three poisons. Then, by taking the four immeasurables as the path one has developed the five faculties and is properly within the scope of the eightfold path.



So, when Buddha tells us not to put faith in scriptures, teachers, and axioms, you interpret it as a teaching to practice faith? I think you have stood the sutra on it's head and completely reversed it's meaning. And I'm not alone...


"Friend Savittha, apart from faith, apart from liking, apart from what has been acquired by repeated hearing, apart from specious reasoning, and from a bias towards a notion that has been pondered over, I know this, I see this: 'Decay and death are due to birth.'"

Samyuttanikaya, Nidanavagga, Mahavagga, Sutta No. 8

"Here a bhikkhu, having seen an object with the eye, knows when greed, hate, and delusion are within, 'Greed, hate, and delusion are in me'; he knows when greed, hate, and delusion are not within, 'Greed, hate, and delusion are not in me.' Bhikkhus, have these things to be experienced through faith, liking, what has been acquired by repeated hearing, specious reasoning, or a bias towards a notion that has been pondered over?" — "No, venerable sir." — "Bhikkhus, this even is the way by which a bhikkhu, apart from faith, liking, what has been acquired by repeated hearing, specious reasoning, or a bias towards a notion that has been pondered over, declares realization of knowledge thus: I know that birth has been exhausted, the celibate life has been lived, what must be done has been done and there is no more of this to come."

Samyuttanikaya, Salyatanavagga, Navapuranavagga, Sutta No. 8



Preface

The instruction of the Kalamas (Kalama Sutta) is justly famous for its encouragement of free inquiry; the spirit of the sutta signifies a teaching that is exempt from fanaticism, bigotry, dogmatism, and intolerance.



The Kalama Sutta, which sets forth the principles that should be followed by a seeker of truth, and which contains a standard things are judged by, belongs to a framework of the Dhamma; the four solaces taught in the sutta point out the extent to which the Buddha permits suspense of judgment in matters beyond normal cognition. The solaces show that the reason for a virtuous life does not necessarily depend on belief in rebirth or retribution, but on mental well-being acquired through the overcoming of greed, hate, and delusion.



All quotes "Kalama Sutta: The Buddha's Charter of Free Inquiry", translated from the Pali by Soma Thera. Access to Insight, 7 June 2010, Retrieved on 24 October 2011.
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Re: are karma and rebirth for real?

Postby coldmountain » Tue Oct 25, 2011 2:43 am

Nangwa wrote:
coldmountain wrote:
This kind of dogmatizing is absolutely not helpful.

I completely disagree and will absolutely not give a detailed response to any post or poster who accuses me of "dogmatizing".
You will not be convinced. I could type and give citations until my fingers hurt and it would be completely pointless.
The onus is on you to provide the counter-arguments. Buddhism has over 2500 years of practice and results to back its claims up.


It sounds to me as if you're backing away from an honest inquiry. Rebirth is a positive claim about purportedly real phenomena. It is up to anyone advancing a claim to demonstrate its reality. This is basic logic. The onus is not on me to prove a negative (to prove the nonexistence of something).

Peace.
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Re: are karma and rebirth for real?

Postby coldmountain » Tue Oct 25, 2011 2:51 am

Nangwa wrote:
coldmountain wrote:This kind of dogmatizing is absolutely not helpful.

I completely disagree and will absolutely not give a detailed response to any post or poster who accuses me of "dogmatizing".


I don't wish to turn this into an argument over 'proving' rebirth. I don't expect you to 'prove' it. (I would like good positive reasons for believing in it though). I mainly take offense at your view of 'belief'. If you don't like being accused of dogmatizing, then perhaps you should not accuse others whom you do not know of 'clinging' to their 'refusal' to believe in rebirth, as if that's a meaningful, much less useful, accusation. I thought the Buddha taught the use of skillful means.
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Re: are karma and rebirth for real?

Postby deepbluehum » Tue Oct 25, 2011 3:10 am

catmoon wrote:
deepbluehum wrote:Actually in the Kalama Sutta the Buddha skillfully instills the faculty of faith in the Kalamas. A correct reading this text bears out that you can test karma and phala by acting with loving-kindness and compassion to discern whether these mental states overcome the three poisons. Then, by taking the four immeasurables as the path one has developed the five faculties and is properly within the scope of the eightfold path.



So, when Buddha tells us not to put faith in scriptures, teachers, and axioms, you interpret it as a teaching to practice faith? I think you have stood the sutra on it's head and completely reversed it's meaning. And I'm not alone...


"Friend Savittha, apart from faith, apart from liking, apart from what has been acquired by repeated hearing, apart from specious reasoning, and from a bias towards a notion that has been pondered over, I know this, I see this: 'Decay and death are due to birth.'"

Samyuttanikaya, Nidanavagga, Mahavagga, Sutta No. 8


Decay and death are due to birth is a teaching on kamma and phala and rebirth.

"Here a bhikkhu, having seen an object with the eye, knows when greed, hate, and delusion are within, 'Greed, hate, and delusion are in me'; he knows when greed, hate, and delusion are not within, 'Greed, hate, and delusion are not in me.' Bhikkhus, have these things to be experienced through faith, liking, what has been acquired by repeated hearing, specious reasoning, or a bias towards a notion that has been pondered over?" — "No, venerable sir." — "Bhikkhus, this even is the way by which a bhikkhu, apart from faith, liking, what has been acquired by repeated hearing, specious reasoning, or a bias towards a notion that has been pondered over, declares realization of knowledge thus: I know that birth has been exhausted, the celibate life has been lived, what must be done has been done and there is no more of this to come."

Samyuttanikaya, Salyatanavagga, Navapuranavagga, Sutta No. 8



Among the five faculties this passage relates to the fifth, to wisdom. Notice how it says "birth has been exhausted," meaning no rebirth. The point of such a practice is to end the cycle of rebirth.

Preface

The instruction of the Kalamas (Kalama Sutta) is justly famous for its encouragement of free inquiry; the spirit of the sutta signifies a teaching that is exempt from fanaticism, bigotry, dogmatism, and intolerance.




The Kalama Sutta, which sets forth the principles that should be followed by a seeker of truth, and which contains a standard things are judged by, belongs to a framework of the Dhamma; the four solaces taught in the sutta point out the extent to which the Buddha permits suspense of judgment in matters beyond normal cognition. The solaces show that the reason for a virtuous life does not necessarily depend on belief in rebirth or retribution, but on mental well-being acquired through the overcoming of greed, hate, and delusion.



All quotes "Kalama Sutta: The Buddha's Charter of Free Inquiry", translated from the Pali by Soma Thera. Access to Insight, 7 June 2010, Retrieved on 24 October 2011.


You should see this:


http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/auth ... ay_09.html

Clearly, whoever wrote those commentaries is not in agreement with canonical Theravada. I say this because the Buddha was giving the kalama sutta discourse to those who had not taken refuge. The teachings on the five faculties, four immeasurables and FNT are for those who have.

I'm not sure you are, but I would find it troubling that someone who is a global moderator for a Buddhist forum not only ascribes to but espouses that kamma, phala and rebirth are not necessary Buddhist teachings.

Though the practice of right mindfulness has rightly been extolled as the crest jewel of the Buddha's teaching, it cannot be stressed strongly enough that the practice of mindfulness, or any other approach to meditation, only becomes an effective instrument of liberation to the extent that it is founded upon and guided by right view.

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/auth ... el377.html
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Re: are karma and rebirth for real?

Postby Kyosan » Tue Oct 25, 2011 3:52 am

Dechen Norbu wrote:.......my point is that we should cultivate right view the best we can. This also means not harboring, for instance, competing metaphysical systems of beliefs, like nihilism......

Are you saying that I harbor competing metaphysical systems of beliefs? If so, how is that so? How would it prevent me from realizing the Buddha way?
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