How are you preparing for death?

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PadmaVonSamba
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Re: How are you preparing for death?

Post by PadmaVonSamba »

Malcolm wrote: Tue Aug 30, 2022 4:36 pm
PadmaVonSamba wrote: Tue Aug 30, 2022 1:30 pm
Malcolm wrote: Mon Aug 29, 2022 7:43 pm

Rebirth occurs because of the habit of I-making. When that habit is eradicated, then one has control over birth. It may not be "provable" to those commoners with ordinary, contaminated, undeveloped sense organs, but it is verifiable by those who make the effort to cultivate samadhi and the deva eye, etc. That community has found rebirth empirically validated amongst themselves.

The point is, you can’t prove that it is verifiable.
You cannot prove it to ordinary people who lack the higher cognitions.
You can’t prove that anyone has some kind of “uncontaminated” sense perception.
You cannot prove it to ordinary people who lack the higher cognitions.
That too is a matter of faith.
Only to ordinary people who lack the higher cognitions. But even ordinary people who possess the higher cognitions can verify these things.

For example, if someone does not have a powerful microscope, they cannot verify claims of this or that microbe. Someone who has such an instrument is able to. If one wants to develop the higher cognitions, the method to do so is described by the Buddha in many places.
Can you please cite where the Buddha describes how one may prove that rebirth is a fact? That would be really useful.
EMPTIFUL.
An inward outlook develops outward insight.
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PadmaVonSamba
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Re: How are you preparing for death?

Post by PadmaVonSamba »

Malcolm wrote: Tue Aug 30, 2022 8:03 pm
PadmaVonSamba wrote: Tue Aug 30, 2022 8:01 pm
It is a basic tenet of Buddhist theory.
It is what Buddhism proposes to be true. Therefore it is Buddhist theory.
What do you think ‘theory’ means?
as above, an axiom is held to be a self-evident truth, not a theory. BTW, you seem to putting a lot of energy into sowing doubt about rebirth.
If people thought that rebirth was self-evident, this discussion would not be taking place.
And actually, I do think it is self-evident, if one abandons the idea that there is a “self” that is reborn.
If I am sowing doubts about anything, it is only the unnecessarily dubious reasoning used by so many to defend the concept of rebirth.
EMPTIFUL.
An inward outlook develops outward insight.
Giovanni
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Re: How are you preparing for death?

Post by Giovanni »

PadmaVonSamba wrote: Tue Aug 30, 2022 8:01 pm
Giovanni wrote: Tue Aug 30, 2022 5:39 pm
PadmaVonSamba wrote: Tue Aug 30, 2022 1:34 pm

“Theory” means a proposed explanation. Theories can be accepted as true. They can also be accepted as untrue.
For example, Buddhist theory regards the concept of an actual ‘self’ that exists continuously from moment to moment or from lifetime to lifetime, which we could call “Hindu theory” as untrue.

Whether this theory is or is not an axiom of anything is beside the point.
It’s absolutely to the point. The axiom is both the initial impetus for the arising of Sraddha and serves as a holding operation until prajna arises.
It is a basic tenet of Buddhist theory.
It is what Buddhism proposes to be true. Therefore it is Buddhist theory.
What do you think ‘theory’ means?
My apologies .I did not notice that I had been wrongly autocorrect edited about tenet.
I suspect that we have a very different view of Buddhadharma. I will respect that and leave it there.
Malcolm
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Re: How are you preparing for death?

Post by Malcolm »

PadmaVonSamba wrote: Tue Aug 30, 2022 8:13 pm
Malcolm wrote: Tue Aug 30, 2022 8:03 pm
PadmaVonSamba wrote: Tue Aug 30, 2022 8:01 pm
It is a basic tenet of Buddhist theory.
It is what Buddhism proposes to be true. Therefore it is Buddhist theory.
What do you think ‘theory’ means?
as above, an axiom is held to be a self-evident truth, not a theory. BTW, you seem to putting a lot of energy into sowing doubt about rebirth.
If people thought that rebirth was self-evident, this discussion would not be taking place.
And actually, I do think it is self-evident, if one abandons the idea that there is a “self” that is reborn.
If I am sowing doubts about anything, it is only the unnecessarily dubious reasoning used by so many to defend the concept of rebirth.
Who said there was a self that was reborn? On the other hand, the Buddha himself said hundreds of places, "when I was so and so, in such and such a clan, during the reign of such and such a king, when there was Buddha so and so..."

1) The Buddha taught rebirth. 2) Those with the proper faculties can verify the Buddha's doctrine on rebirth directly, without recourse to inference. 3) And the inferential reasoning that establishes rebirth is sound. These are the three valid cognitions we accept in Buddhadharma: testimony of a reliable witness, direct perception of undamaged senses, and inference. These three valid cognitions are also accepted by the world.
Vases, canvas, bucklers, armies, forests, garlands, trees
houses, chariots, hostelries, and all such things
that common people designate dependent on their parts,
accept as such. For Buddha did not quarrel with the world!

—— Candrakīrti. MAV 6:166
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Johnny Dangerous
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Re: How are you preparing for death?

Post by Johnny Dangerous »

PadmaVonSamba wrote: Tue Aug 30, 2022 8:04 pm
Malcolm wrote: Tue Aug 30, 2022 4:36 pm
PadmaVonSamba wrote: Tue Aug 30, 2022 1:30 pm
The point is, you can’t prove that it is verifiable.
You cannot prove it to ordinary people who lack the higher cognitions.
You can’t prove that anyone has some kind of “uncontaminated” sense perception.
You cannot prove it to ordinary people who lack the higher cognitions.
That too is a matter of faith.
Only to ordinary people who lack the higher cognitions. But even ordinary people who possess the higher cognitions can verify these things.

For example, if someone does not have a powerful microscope, they cannot verify claims of this or that microbe. Someone who has such an instrument is able to. If one wants to develop the higher cognitions, the method to do so is described by the Buddha in many places.
Can you please cite where the Buddha describes how one may prove that rebirth is a fact? That would be really useful.
There are various meditations in finding the mind, examining boundaries of mind, body etc. Some of these naturally seem to lead to conclusions about continuity of consciousness, based on inference made on direct experience. Far from exhaustive as to what’s out there but that’s a very basic idea.

I think some people in this conversation do not understand the difference between this method, and their default cultural view on “proof” which is that -the only- convincing evidence is inferential and empirical - the example of cells being recorded as changing every few years, etc.

The thing is, current science cannot really answer the Hard Question of Consciousness either, and the more honest materialists will own up to this.

So a practitioner is left either accepting that 1) such direct knowledge is possible via Buddhist practice, as the Buddha stated or 2) Buddhism is not trustworthy on this count, and we should wait on science to empirically verify its conclusions.

The obvious problem with (2) is that if (1) is correct, then assumptions about the limitations of ones direct experiences are also natural limits on ones practice. In a sense, one concedes that direct perception of reality is not possible, and that examination of the mind never leaves the realm of pure fantasy, as it is not verifiable via scientific empiricism currently ….rendering practice pointless as anything but therapeutic Dharma.

Again, whether or not you believe gnosis is possible by looking at your mind is pretty central to this whole question.

Certainly, therapeutic Dharma also is very valuable, but the two are not the same approach.

I imagine this applies to death, also.

One thing I always found interesting about the Pali Canon is that practices are often classified as “mundane” or conjoined with the path. It seems reasonable to me to say both approaches can exist here, and both lead to positive results, but important to know the difference.
Don’t you see what’s wrong with the world today? Oh Everybody wants somebody to be their own piece of clay.

-Marvin Gaye
Jeff H
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Re: How are you preparing for death?

Post by Jeff H »

Johnny Dangerous wrote: Tue Aug 30, 2022 9:30 pm The thing is, current science cannot really answer the Hard Question of Consciousness either, and the more honest materialists will own up to this.

So a practitioner is left either accepting that 1) such direct knowledge is possible via Buddhist practice, as the Buddha stated or 2) Buddhism is not trustworthy on this count, and we should wait on science to empirically verify its conclusions.

The obvious problem with (2) is that if (1) is correct, then assumptions about the limitations of ones direct experiences are also natural limits on ones practice. In a sense, one concedes that direct perception of reality is not possible, and that examination of the mind never leaves the realm of pure fantasy, as it is not verifiable via scientific empiricism currently.
I found this to be an especially clear and direct expression of the issue. Thanks JD!
We who are like children shrink from pain but love its causes. - Shantideva
Giovanni
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Re: How are you preparing for death?

Post by Giovanni »

Jeff H wrote: Wed Aug 31, 2022 1:57 pm
Johnny Dangerous wrote: Tue Aug 30, 2022 9:30 pm The thing is, current science cannot really answer the Hard Question of Consciousness either, and the more honest materialists will own up to this.

So a practitioner is left either accepting that 1) such direct knowledge is possible via Buddhist practice, as the Buddha stated or 2) Buddhism is not trustworthy on this count, and we should wait on science to empirically verify its conclusions.

The obvious problem with (2) is that if (1) is correct, then assumptions about the limitations of ones direct experiences are also natural limits on ones practice. In a sense, one concedes that direct perception of reality is not possible, and that examination of the mind never leaves the realm of pure fantasy, as it is not verifiable via scientific empiricism currently.
I found this to be an especially clear and direct expression of the issue. Thanks JD!
They are excellent points. Your (2) Johnny would specifically but not exclusively, undermine the whole Vajrayana position.
The teacher/student relationship is based on the teachers ability to convey direct knowledge of reality.
Anyone can reject that possibility, but we need to be clear that is what is implied by reducing Buddhadharma to the level of “theory”.
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Matt J
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Re: How are you preparing for death?

Post by Matt J »

One interesting about being a Western Buddhist is being "caught" between two paradigms: the Western materialist paradigm that basically holds that the truth is available to anyone, and the more available it is, the more reliable it is. However, the Eastern/Buddhist paradigm is the opposite. The majority is veiled in ignorance, basically mentally/physically ill. Accordingly, the first step to truth is to develop the mind's ability to penetrate this ignorance. To me, this focus on fundamentally calming the mind and preparing it to perceive clearly marks out Indic spiritual traditions from most others (i.e. Judeo-Christian).

Of course, this is a bit flimsy because science in the West has become sufficiently complicated that a typically scientist would need many years of education and training in order to perform and understand experiments. So I cannot walk into CERN or some a lab and verify the ins and outs of quantum physics (except very basic stuff like the double slit experiment). So in this way, we end up with two types of "sages" that we can choose to trust. The science sages have demonstrated enormous control over the relative, physical world, but have failed to deliver meaning, happiness, and equanimity like their Asian counterparts.

Now a Buddhist sage who has developed his/her/their mind to a high degree can look at say "yes, rebirth is true. The nature of mind is unborn, you can access part life memories, etc." This is not about taking drugs or something and having a hallucination--- it is about developing the mind so that it ca see clearly. None of this contradicts the findings of modern science. Nor should it: science is a method that restricts itself to a certain segment of the world (measurable, observable, repeatable). There have been no hypotheses or experiments run to prove that the mind is an epiphenomenon of the brain--- it is merely an assumption they make at science school (an assumption incidentally that doesn't really make sense). Science hasn't really revealed what matter is, much less what consciousness is, so to say there is some inherent contradiction is unsupportable.
Johnny Dangerous wrote: Tue Aug 30, 2022 9:30 pm So a practitioner is left either accepting that 1) such direct knowledge is possible via Buddhist practice, as the Buddha stated or 2) Buddhism is not trustworthy on this count, and we should wait on science to empirically verify its conclusions.
"The world is made of stories, not atoms."
--- Muriel Rukeyser
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PadmaVonSamba
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Re: How are you preparing for death?

Post by PadmaVonSamba »

Curiously, the most obvious “proof” of rebirth, something that everyone can plainly see, is that here we are.
Of course, without fully analyzing what “we” (or “-I”) is, and still clinging to the idea of a truly existent “self”, one will quickly argue that this is no proof at all.
But, under thorough analysis, one will come to the conclusion that rebirth is certainly the case.

If rebirth isn’t obvious, and if one rejects the idea of a permanent or continuous “self”, then how does one explain being here now, as well as a minute ago?
EMPTIFUL.
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kirtu
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Re: How are you preparing for death?

Post by kirtu »

Phowa, Amitabha and Amitayus practice. Trying not to fall asleep before I finish my practice commitments. Not harming others, trying to accumulate merit and dedicate that to the Enlightenment of all beings, trying to help others when possible, reducing negativities and generally trying to follow the direction of my gurus.

It won't help others, but I was born memories of various hells (and not passing through them either). I was also born a memory of a higher realm. I also saw my father and mother before incarnating. For me these prove the words of the Buddha (not just these of course).
Kirt's Tibetan Translation Notes

"Even if you practice only for an hour a day with faith and inspiration, good qualities will steadily increase. Regular practice makes it easy to transform your mind. From seeing only relative truth, you will eventually reach a profound certainty in the meaning of absolute truth."
Kyabje Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche.

"Only you can make your mind beautiful."
HH Chetsang Rinpoche
Giovanni
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Re: How are you preparing for death?

Post by Giovanni »

kirtu wrote: Wed Aug 31, 2022 11:41 pm Phowa, Amitabha and Amitayus practice. Trying not to fall asleep before I finish my practice commitments. Not harming others, trying to accumulate merit and dedicate that to the Enlightenment of all beings, trying to help others when possible, reducing negativities and generally trying to follow the direction of my gurus.

It won't help others, but I was born memories of various hells (and not passing through them either). I was also born a memory of a higher realm. I also saw my father and mother before incarnating. For me these prove the words of the Buddha (not just these of course).
I think the obviously sincere words may well help others. We are not separate islands. In the end it is our own effort and insight, but the words of others can inspire.
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laic
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Re: How are you preparing for death?

Post by laic »

I have a little envelope which gives some simple instructions for my funeral.

Cremation, humanist. Intro "Mr Tambourine Man" by Bob Dylan, Outro "Gracelands" by Paul Simon.

Wear what you like.

At some time during the event the concluding words of T. S. Eliot's "Four Quartets" which I love, beginning:- "The end of all our exploring......."

That's it.

Namu-Amida-Butsu!
Protecting oneself one protects others
Protecting others one protects oneself
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