Opinions on Roger Jackson's "Rebirth"?

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PadmaVonSamba
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Re: Opinions on Roger Jackson's "Rebirth"?

Post by PadmaVonSamba »

Anyway, it’s good enough to call yourself a secular Buddhist or whatever now, and accumulate the merit for a favorable rebirth that you don’t believe in. Better than not doing that.
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Re: Opinions on Roger Jackson's "Rebirth"?

Post by Virgo »

aurelian wrote: Wed Apr 20, 2022 6:34 pm
I'm curious as to what everyone else thinks here?
All levels of Buddhist realization from the lowest degree of personal liberation on up to highest bhumi of Buddhahood are 100% predicated on rebirth being a real phenomena, so Jackson is forced to throw out Buddhist liberation completely with this model. That means there would be no point to Buddhist practice beyond being somewhat more stress free and content.

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Re: Opinions on Roger Jackson's "Rebirth"?

Post by mikenz66 »

Caoimhghín wrote: Thu Apr 21, 2022 2:38 pm
Malcolm wrote: Thu Apr 21, 2022 4:07 amIt’s not a question of belief in rebirth, but an acknowledgement that the existential question the Buddha sought to remedy was the question of rebirth.
IMO, the issue with Buddhist modernists, the sorts of modernists who jettison anything that seems "too ethnic/Indian/superstitious," is that they reframe the Buddha's teaching to be about an escaping of identity-reification. They generally read "birth and death" as the adoption of new identities, which leads to suffering. Pratītyasamutpāda becomes an abstract principle about how the mind constantly tries to identify with different things. "The uprooting of identity" becomes the new "uprooting of birth and death."

I think it's all bunk. But it's not a matter of them "not believing in rebirth" or "not acknowledging the existential question the Buddha sought to remedy," it's a matter of them completely reinterpreting what "birth and death" even means and having a notion of the existential question that is deeply at variance with the actual words of the Buddha in his sūtras.

Generally in my experience interacting with them, because these people don't believe in rebirth, being essentially Western physicalists, and because they figure that them and the Buddha are like two peas in a pod, they figure that obviously the Buddha never taught anything at variance with what is essentially Western physicalism and that all of the teachings about rebirth are Hindu notions smuggled in by ignorant disciples. They'll even commit the error of Sati the Fisherman's Son and insist that if there is rebirth there is one particular consciousness that transmigrates, not realizing it! All for the sake of illustrating that "rebirth" is at variance with the Buddhadharma.
That's a great analysis, which belongs on the Buddhadasa Bhikkhu Thread over on DhammaWheel...
https://www.dhammawheel.com/viewtopic.p ... 95#p673995

It seems that Ajahn Buddhadasa had a particularly strong impact on the secular side of Buddhist practice with this reinterpretation in terms of identity.

:heart:
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Re: Opinions on Roger Jackson's "Rebirth"?

Post by Caoimhghín »

Him and Nanavira Bhikkhu.
Then, the monks uttered this gāthā:

These bodies are like foam.
Them being frail, who can rejoice in them?
The Buddha attained the vajra-body.
Still, it becomes inconstant and ruined.
The many Buddhas are vajra-entities.
All are also subject to inconstancy.
Quickly ended, like melting snow --
how could things be different?

The Buddha passed into parinirvāṇa afterward.
(T1.27b10 Mahāparinirvāṇasūtra DĀ 2)
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Re: Opinions on Roger Jackson's "Rebirth"?

Post by climb-up »

Well the argument against literalism is pretty stupid, I didn't really feel a need to read any farther than that.

But, despite it often having stupid arguments about what "real" buddhism "should" be, I don't have any problem with secular buddhism.
If you were raised in a secular materialist world and have no way of accepting things outside of that worldview, you can still make your and others lives better by being more mindful and aware, practicing the brahmaviharas and the paramitas, etc., and you're making (or deepening) a connection with the dharma.
So, hopefully, you have a happier life, you're nicer to people and help them have happier lives and, through the merit and wisdom you've gained in your practice, you'll have rebirth in a dharma family or in a situation where you can fully embrace the teachings and practice. Excellent! That is all good! :twothumbsup:
aurelian
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Re: Opinions on Roger Jackson's "Rebirth"?

Post by aurelian »

Anders wrote: Thu Apr 21, 2022 10:34 am Going by that article, his take on "literalists" and "neo-traditionalists" is just a platform to frame what he really wants to talk about: His 'as-if'-agnosticism'.

Whilst the Buddha does indeed offer arguments along similar lines, it is a disappointing take that reduces the matter of rebirth to belief, analysis or reconciliation with modern beliefs and doddges the crux of the matter - Personal experience.

Bachelor remains in a bind because if he were sincere, he either has to believe the Buddha was deluded or disingenuous. In order to avoid this bind, he adopts disingenuous scholastic analysis by trying to argue such claims as "it was inherited cultural custom, he just went along with it" which is clearly a wrongheaded analysis of the Buddha's treatment of the matter, as well as his general methodology.
I think you hit the nail on the head here. One thing that a lot of "modernist" Western Buddhists don't bother to address is the issue of experience. The rishis and sages of Vedic India taught rebirth, based on their own findings from the experiences of deep meditation and realization. Rebirth was accepted by almost all in the time of the Buddha due to this "revealed" knowledge (and I use that term loosely and certainly not in the Abrahamic sense). However, the Buddha taught that the liberation experienced by the those who had attained it was incomplete and not total, due to the continued ignorance of anātman, which Śākyamuni had realized upon his own enlightenment. All of those who followed the path of the Buddhadharma thereafter and also attained liberation confirmed rebirth through their own experiences. When it comes down to it, the Bardo Thodol of Tibetan Buddhism, for example, is simply a continuation of this tradition, being the teachings of what was realized by those who had attained a level of awareness to understand.

Ultimately, the modernists who deny or doubt rebirth are forming their opinions not based on experiences arrived at through following the Dharma, but instead on pure intellectual speculation. The implication, as you have said, is that the Buddha and others that have followed the path after him were all deluded and we moderns "know better." As stated, if people choose not to accept rebirth and karma, and instead follow the Buddhadharma in order to ease the sufferings of this life, that is perfectly fine. There is still much to be gained. But it needs to be recognized that this is a heterodox form of Buddhism.
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Re: Opinions on Roger Jackson's "Rebirth"?

Post by tobes »

aurelian wrote: Tue Apr 26, 2022 7:26 pm
Anders wrote: Thu Apr 21, 2022 10:34 am Going by that article, his take on "literalists" and "neo-traditionalists" is just a platform to frame what he really wants to talk about: His 'as-if'-agnosticism'.

Whilst the Buddha does indeed offer arguments along similar lines, it is a disappointing take that reduces the matter of rebirth to belief, analysis or reconciliation with modern beliefs and doddges the crux of the matter - Personal experience.

Bachelor remains in a bind because if he were sincere, he either has to believe the Buddha was deluded or disingenuous. In order to avoid this bind, he adopts disingenuous scholastic analysis by trying to argue such claims as "it was inherited cultural custom, he just went along with it" which is clearly a wrongheaded analysis of the Buddha's treatment of the matter, as well as his general methodology.
I think you hit the nail on the head here. One thing that a lot of "modernist" Western Buddhists don't bother to address is the issue of experience. The rishis and sages of Vedic India taught rebirth, based on their own findings from the experiences of deep meditation and realization. Rebirth was accepted by almost all in the time of the Buddha due to this "revealed" knowledge (and I use that term loosely and certainly not in the Abrahamic sense). However, the Buddha taught that the liberation experienced by the those who had attained it was incomplete and not total, due to the continued ignorance of anātman, which Śākyamuni had realized upon his own enlightenment. All of those who followed the path of the Buddhadharma thereafter and also attained liberation confirmed rebirth through their own experiences. When it comes down to it, the Bardo Thodol of Tibetan Buddhism, for example, is simply a continuation of this tradition, being the teachings of what was realized by those who had attained a level of awareness to understand.

Ultimately, the modernists who deny or doubt rebirth are forming their opinions not based on experiences arrived at through following the Dharma, but instead on pure intellectual speculation. The implication, as you have said, is that the Buddha and others that have followed the path after him were all deluded and we moderns "know better." As stated, if people choose not to accept rebirth and karma, and instead follow the Buddhadharma in order to ease the sufferings of this life, that is perfectly fine. There is still much to be gained. But it needs to be recognized that this is a heterodox form of Buddhism.
Yes, at the end of the day it comes down to shabda pramana. I find it disappointing how little genuine attention is given to this by so called serious scholars/philosophers etc.

To refute or dismiss it is to more or less accept the proposition that there are no practitioners in existence who have genuine insight into phenomena beyond the empirical or cultural. This absolutely brings into question the entire point of Buddhadharma, even the Stoic bits. What's the point if no one can develop higher insight into the nature of reality?

I suspect that if we did a straw poll here, long term practitioners have assented to rebirth etc precisely because they have encountered great practitioners and seen directly that such beings see more to reality than they do. Shabda pramana follows from this.
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Re: Opinions on Roger Jackson's "Rebirth"?

Post by Malcolm »

tobes wrote: Wed Apr 27, 2022 2:02 am
I suspect that if we did a straw poll here, long term practitioners have assented to rebirth etc precisely because they have encountered great practitioners and seen directly that such beings see more to reality than they do. Shabda pramana follows from this.
Can’t speak for others, but that is not why I came to accept rebirth. I came to accept rebirth because I had first inferred that emptiness and dependent origination were the correct view.
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Re: Opinions on Roger Jackson's "Rebirth"?

Post by tingdzin »

aurelian wrote: Tue Apr 26, 2022 7:26 pm Ultimately, the modernists who deny or doubt rebirth are forming their opinions not based on experiences arrived at through following the Dharma, but instead on pure intellectual speculation. The implication, as you have said, is that the Buddha and others that have followed the path after him were all deluded and we moderns "know better."
A common attitude made no less sordid by constant repetition.
Johnny Dangerous wrote: Thu Apr 21, 2022 3:11 pm xactly, people always sidestep this. There are plenty of Buddhist teachings that are about “making samsara more comfortable”, in fact. They just aren’t the full meal deal. So I don’t object to people practicing that way at all, I just object to people like Bachelor insisting that that limited approach and view is “the real Buddhism”.
Yep.
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Re: Opinions on Roger Jackson's "Rebirth"?

Post by Virgo »

Malcolm wrote: Wed Apr 27, 2022 2:33 am
tobes wrote: Wed Apr 27, 2022 2:02 am
I suspect that if we did a straw poll here, long term practitioners have assented to rebirth etc precisely because they have encountered great practitioners and seen directly that such beings see more to reality than they do. Shabda pramana follows from this.
Can’t speak for others, but that is not why I came to accept rebirth. I came to accept rebirth because I had first inferred that emptiness and dependent origination were the correct view.
When I was fifteen I integrated and lived by the Rule of Three (also called the Three-fold Law or Law of Return). Years later when I encountered the Dharma I quickly accepted rebirth because I realized the only way karma could really work properly is if it was spread over a vast span of lifetimes.

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Re: Opinions on Roger Jackson's "Rebirth"?

Post by tobes »

Virgo wrote: Wed Apr 27, 2022 6:25 pm
Malcolm wrote: Wed Apr 27, 2022 2:33 am
tobes wrote: Wed Apr 27, 2022 2:02 am
I suspect that if we did a straw poll here, long term practitioners have assented to rebirth etc precisely because they have encountered great practitioners and seen directly that such beings see more to reality than they do. Shabda pramana follows from this.
Can’t speak for others, but that is not why I came to accept rebirth. I came to accept rebirth because I had first inferred that emptiness and dependent origination were the correct view.
When I was fifteen I integrated and lived by the Rule of Three (also called the Three-fold Law or Law of Return). Years later when I encountered the Dharma I quickly accepted rebirth because I realized the only way karma could really work properly is if it was spread over a vast span of lifetimes.

Virgo
Yeah, for me having some direct insight into karma was what drew me into Buddhadharma; I would have really loved to have some other view, but the determining constraints of karma were just too visceral and obvious to be able to deny or refute. From this everything else follows.....
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Re: Opinions on Roger Jackson's "Rebirth"?

Post by Virgo »

tobes wrote: Thu Apr 28, 2022 12:41 am Yeah, for me having some direct insight into karma was what drew me into Buddhadharma; I would have really loved to have some other view, but the determining constraints of karma were just too visceral and obvious to be able to deny or refute. From this everything else follows.....
Yes, I agree completely.

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Re: Opinions on Roger Jackson's "Rebirth"?

Post by aurelian »

tobes wrote: Thu Apr 28, 2022 12:41 am
Virgo wrote: Wed Apr 27, 2022 6:25 pm
Malcolm wrote: Wed Apr 27, 2022 2:33 am

Can’t speak for others, but that is not why I came to accept rebirth. I came to accept rebirth because I had first inferred that emptiness and dependent origination were the correct view.
When I was fifteen I integrated and lived by the Rule of Three (also called the Three-fold Law or Law of Return). Years later when I encountered the Dharma I quickly accepted rebirth because I realized the only way karma could really work properly is if it was spread over a vast span of lifetimes.

Virgo
Yeah, for me having some direct insight into karma was what drew me into Buddhadharma; I would have really loved to have some other view, but the determining constraints of karma were just too visceral and obvious to be able to deny or refute. From this everything else follows.....
Very interesting how we all seem to have come to our conclusions in many ways. I had already studied the Upaniṣads when I made my first steps on the Buddhist path. I was familiar with the many great sages produced by the Vedic tradition in India (and who continue to arise today, for that matter). As I've said, seeing what insights and realizations they had achieved in the past and continued to confirm today, I accepted karma and rebirth based on their findings through their own experiences. However, the Buddhadharma resonated with me precisely for the problems that the Buddha had set out to solve, which I felt that Vedānta did not address. From there, it was a short step to coming to the conclusion that the liberation that Śākyamuni had attained went far beyond even that which was achieved by the great yogis of the Hindu tradition. The Buddhadharma was like the final piece of the puzzle for me.

As the Buddha and all of those that attained liberation who followed him have confirmed karma and rebirth through their own great insight, I never felt the need to question any further. I guess you could say it all comes down to śraddhā for me. I trust in the insights gained through experience by the numerous teachers whose efforts have kindly provided a path for me in the Dharma, and I continue to strive to one day hold the same wisdom and insight through my own direct experience of it. Ultimately who am I (or any other being caught up in saṃsāra, for that matter) to reject via my conceptual thought that which has been learned of in a state of knowing beyond conceptions? The two ways of knowing are incommensurable. It is like using a metal detector to search for trees in the forest, and then, when it does not indicate their presence, to throw up my hands and declare them non-existent.
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Re: Opinions on Roger Jackson's "Rebirth"?

Post by tobes »

aurelian wrote: Thu Apr 28, 2022 2:32 am
tobes wrote: Thu Apr 28, 2022 12:41 am
Virgo wrote: Wed Apr 27, 2022 6:25 pm

When I was fifteen I integrated and lived by the Rule of Three (also called the Three-fold Law or Law of Return). Years later when I encountered the Dharma I quickly accepted rebirth because I realized the only way karma could really work properly is if it was spread over a vast span of lifetimes.

Virgo
Yeah, for me having some direct insight into karma was what drew me into Buddhadharma; I would have really loved to have some other view, but the determining constraints of karma were just too visceral and obvious to be able to deny or refute. From this everything else follows.....
Very interesting how we all seem to have come to our conclusions in many ways. I had already studied the Upaniṣads when I made my first steps on the Buddhist path. I was familiar with the many great sages produced by the Vedic tradition in India (and who continue to arise today, for that matter). As I've said, seeing what insights and realizations they had achieved in the past and continued to confirm today, I accepted karma and rebirth based on their findings through their own experiences. However, the Buddhadharma resonated with me precisely for the problems that the Buddha had set out to solve, which I felt that Vedānta did not address. From there, it was a short step to coming to the conclusion that the liberation that Śākyamuni had attained went far beyond even that which was achieved by the great yogis of the Hindu tradition. The Buddhadharma was like the final piece of the puzzle for me.

As the Buddha and all of those that attained liberation who followed him have confirmed karma and rebirth through their own great insight, I never felt the need to question any further. I guess you could say it all comes down to śraddhā for me. I trust in the insights gained through experience by the numerous teachers whose efforts have kindly provided a path for me in the Dharma, and I continue to strive to one day hold the same wisdom and insight through my own direct experience of it. Ultimately who am I (or any other being caught up in saṃsāra, for that matter) to reject via my conceptual thought that which has been learned of in a state of knowing beyond conceptions? The two ways of knowing are incommensurable. It is like using a metal detector to search for trees in the forest, and then, when it does not indicate their presence, to throw up my hands and declare them non-existent.
:good:

.....perhaps the most coherent way to enter the Buddhadharma? Definitely from a philosophical point of view.....
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Re: Opinions on Roger Jackson's "Rebirth"?

Post by Crazywisdom »

Malcolm wrote: Wed Apr 27, 2022 2:33 am
tobes wrote: Wed Apr 27, 2022 2:02 am
I suspect that if we did a straw poll here, long term practitioners have assented to rebirth etc precisely because they have encountered great practitioners and seen directly that such beings see more to reality than they do. Shabda pramana follows from this.
Can’t speak for others, but that is not why I came to accept rebirth. I came to accept rebirth because I had first inferred that emptiness and dependent origination were the correct view.
Exactly, the secular Buddhism thing is a product of interpretation of the Pali canon which has a very incomplete view of emptiness. Actually, once one understands emptiness and dependent origination termination at physical death is not a thing and the proliferation of grasping tendencies, the non physical nature of mind, etc., means rebirth is at least a solid wager if not the actual case.
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Re: Opinions on Roger Jackson's "Rebirth"?

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Thanks guys. Its frustrating that I couldn't find the table of contents of this book. I don't quite know what I'm ordering on Amazon. But you guys saved me money. :heart:
IF YOU PRACTICE WITH A STRONG BELIEF IN WHAT
YOU ARE DOING, THEN THERE IS NO LIMIT TO WHAT
YOU CAN ACCOMPLISH WITH YOUR PRACTICE.

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Re: Opinions on Roger Jackson's "Rebirth"?

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A couple of very off topic posts had to vanish.
For the benefit and ease of all sentient beings. :heart:
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