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 Son » Sat Jun 02, 2012 10:12 pm

coldmountain wrote:
So if I interpret my experience to mean that I attained a union with a permanent unchanging, universal Soul, Buddhism has nothing to say about that? We aren't free to interpret our experiences any way we choose. I might dream that I went to the moon, but am I justified to assert that I was actually there?


The only way to really do that is Nirvana, if it's a permanent union, if you're going to think of some samboghakaya as being an the representation of an unchanging "Universal Soul," hence union with the Dharmakaya--which is what Mahayana is about really...
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Re: Are Karma and Rebirth Real?

Postby odysseus » Sun Jul 01, 2012 6:13 am

coldmountain wrote:
1) You have direct experience with it (if you do, I'd like to know how you're able to verify that you're not misinterpreting your experience?)
2) You know others who do.
3) You have encountered phenomena which demand rebirth and karma as an explanation (i.e. rebirth, or whatever phenomena needs explaining in terms of such, is a positive reality that demands accounting for, and not just a tacked-on, metaphysical appendix to the empirical world).


Hello,

firstly I would like to say that for me, I don´t see karma and rebirth as things to believe in. They are for me simple explanations (call them concepts if you don´t agree) of how things work that can be verified by human experience. Nothing supernatural about it! They have always been better solutions than eternal heaven/hell and materialism/annihilation. In fact, just the most logical things in this vast universe.

1): I had an intense "spiritual" experience a few years ago that lasted for several months. At one time, I could see my "soul", my inner body living inside my physical body as a being with even a specific colour. Some while later, I had a vision where I saw an entity (a psycho-physical something) with the same colour arriving from afar and taking place in my mother´s womb. I have no life-memories of past lives, but this was enough for me. It was so real. I could literaly "realise" how a being is reborn into another world. I cannot verify this experience with anyone, but it was so real that it convinced me of the rebirth of people. You may deem me psychotic but I had no hallucinations in this time. My reality-testing was intact.

2): I don´t know anyone else, but even a Christian acquaintance of mine talked about past lives.

3): See my first answer. As far as karma goes, many times I had done something voluntarily and I have been the receiver of similar happenings. Of course, karma is more complex than this but it´s easy to verify the logic of it.

As a conclusion, I cannot find any other logical explanations than karma and rebirth as this universe is so vast and other explanations seem so limited. I´m not well versed in religion so there may be more to monotheistic heaven/hell notions than I know of.

As a bonus, I don´t feel any more religious with karma and rebirth because these are so self-explanatory and logical that I don´t need any superstitious drivel to understand them.
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Re: Are Karma and Rebirth Real?

Postby Son » Sun Jul 01, 2012 6:46 pm

odysseus wrote:
coldmountain wrote:
1) You have direct experience with it (if you do, I'd like to know how you're able to verify that you're not misinterpreting your experience?)
2) You know others who do.
3) You have encountered phenomena which demand rebirth and karma as an explanation (i.e. rebirth, or whatever phenomena needs explaining in terms of such, is a positive reality that demands accounting for, and not just a tacked-on, metaphysical appendix to the empirical world).


Hello,

firstly I would like to say that for me, I don´t see karma and rebirth as things to believe in. They are for me simple explanations (call them concepts if you don´t agree) of how things work that can be verified by human experience. Nothing supernatural about it! They have always been better solutions than eternal heaven/hell and materialism/annihilation. In fact, just the most logical things in this vast universe.

1): I had an intense "spiritual" experience a few years ago that lasted for several months. At one time, I could see my "soul", my inner body living inside my physical body as a being with even a specific colour. Some while later, I had a vision where I saw an entity (a psycho-physical something) with the same colour arriving from afar and taking place in my mother´s womb. I have no life-memories of past lives, but this was enough for me. It was so real. I could literaly "realise" how a being is reborn into another world. I cannot verify this experience with anyone, but it was so real that it convinced me of the rebirth of people. You may deem me psychotic but I had no hallucinations in this time. My reality-testing was intact.

2): I don´t know anyone else, but even a Christian acquaintance of mine talked about past lives.

3): See my first answer. As far as karma goes, many times I had done something voluntarily and I have been the receiver of similar happenings. Of course, karma is more complex than this but it´s easy to verify the logic of it.

As a conclusion, I cannot find any other logical explanations than karma and rebirth as this universe is so vast and other explanations seem so limited. I´m not well versed in religion so there may be more to monotheistic heaven/hell notions than I know of.

As a bonus, I don´t feel any more religious with karma and rebirth because these are so self-explanatory and logical that I don´t need any superstitious drivel to understand them.



I have the same exact experience.
Thank you for sharing.
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Re: Are Karma and Rebirth Real?

Postby odysseus » Wed Aug 08, 2012 8:10 am

A note; karma and rebirth alone are not enough to explain what happens after death. There is something lacking, which it seems like Buddhists are ignoring and not many teachers talk about it. Some people may feel like karma and rebirth are "cold" explanations and it´s valid. But there is a third phenomenon that happens after death which I´m investigating and I personally know it´s something GOOD without being able to explain it now. What I´m saying is that people are worried about the relationships to loved ones after their or own death. Sure, Buddhism is not about eternal Heaven though heavens exist, but it could seem too scientific to explain the afterlife only by karma and rebirth.

So, I´m seeking "the third answer" to this subject. At least I understand there´s something good that can happen regarding this. If anyone has hints, please write them.

:pig:
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Re: Are Karma and Rebirth Real?

Postby Son » Thu Aug 09, 2012 12:55 am

odysseus wrote:A note; karma and rebirth alone are not enough to explain what happens after death. There is something lacking, which it seems like Buddhists are ignoring and not many teachers talk about it. Some people may feel like karma and rebirth are "cold" explanations and it´s valid. But there is a third phenomenon that happens after death which I´m investigating and I personally know it´s something GOOD without being able to explain it now. What I´m saying is that people are worried about the relationships to loved ones after their or own death. Sure, Buddhism is not about eternal Heaven though heavens exist, but it could seem too scientific to explain the afterlife only by karma and rebirth.

So, I´m seeking "the third answer" to this subject. At least I understand there´s something good that can happen regarding this. If anyone has hints, please write them.

:pig:


I'm not sure I understand, but I want to.
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Re: Are Karma and Rebirth Real?

Postby Osho » Thu Aug 09, 2012 1:50 am

Karma is real
Rebirth is also real.
On the path some follow however there is a third 'option' which is to be released from that cycle and enter the Pure Land .
More about Mindfulness here
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Re: are karma and rebirth for real?

Postby JKhedrup » Mon Nov 12, 2012 12:27 pm

deepbluehum wrote:This is the kind of situation where I have to do the following:

I bow to the glorious gurus, mahasiddhas, devas and dakinis,
Who bestow every benefit and bliss without exception,
Sit on your lion throne in my heart and
Bless me to account the profound teaching on karma, and rebirth.



Praise to the glorious Nagarjuna, who dispels all doubts.
May all beings without exception cross the great flood of delusion and doubt,
And arrive at the nature of peace on the shore of nondeception.


Deep Blue Hum,
This is a beautiful passage. But can you please cite the source, for all our benefit? :namaste:
A foolish man proclaims his qualifications,
A wise man keeps them secret within.
A straw floats on the surface of water,
But a precious gem placed upon it sinks to the depths
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Re: Are Karma and Rebirth Real?

Postby Sara H » Mon Nov 19, 2012 12:03 am

coldmountain wrote:Hi everyone,

I've entitled this thread what it is, fully aware that the vast majority of responses will constitute a resounding 'Yes'. As most everyone here knows (or should know), the issue of rebirth is something that Westerners and those influenced by Western culture have special difficulty accepting. The reason for this is threefold: first, the idea has no foothold in our culture. It hasn't held a place in our thinking, at least for a couple thousand years. The second reason is because of the rise of scientific materialism. Philosophically, it is a priori ruled out by many. I regard these first two reasons as rather inessential. I'm not committed to materialism or to Western metaphysics in general.

But the last reason is a bit more problematic for me. It is actually another trinity of factors:

1) I have no direct experience with it.
2) I have not known anyone personally who does.
3) I have not encountered any phenomena in life that requires rebirth or karma as an explanation (i.e. rebirth and karma seem to be superfluous in giving an account of things). I cannot deny the possibility of rebirth, but it doesn't seem needed. From my perspective, the behavior of phenomena go on just the same whether I think in terms of karma or rebirth or not. This is a negative evidence against rebirth and karma, because one would expect such phenomena, if they were real, to demand our attention. Therefore, rebirth and karma would have to present themselves as evidenced in a strong, unambiguous way in order to justify my acceptance.

Even so, I recognize that there are some intuitive reasons for accepting a karmic perspective on things, based on philosophy of mind. But from my vantage point, at the same time some of it seems utterly fantastic.

Perhaps I've been a bit long winded in setting up my question, but I like people to get an understanding of where I'm coming from. I'm going to ask, then, Is rebirth (and karma, of course) real? If you answer 'yes', then the second question would naturally be: 'How do you know?'

I THINK the answers should fall somewhere into the three points I articulated. In other words,

1) You have direct experience with it (if you do, I'd like to know how you're able to verify that you're not misinterpreting your experience?)
2) You know others who do.
3) You have encountered phenomena which demand rebirth and karma as an explanation (i.e. rebirth, or whatever phenomena needs explaining in terms of such, is a positive reality that demands accounting for, and not just a tacked-on, metaphysical appendix to the empirical world).

These of course, are very demanding questions. But the claims of Buddhism on karma and rebirth seem at least as demanding, so I think it only fair to ask.

Thanks in advance.

Peace!

1) Yes, I have direct experience with them. The kinds of things I have experienced fall within a standard line of pattern for such experiences, that other people have experienced as well, as well as falling in line with historic and otherwise accounts of other people's such experiences, in Buddhism and otherwise. I have also discussed my experiences in spiritual counseling with Monks and and other qualified Dharma Teachers, as well as other experienced Laypeople, who also confirmed that they too had experienced these kinds of things, and that for some people this is a normal, if not necessarily every day, part of practice.

2)Yes, I know many other people personally who have had these experiences as well. In a variety of age groups, geographic locations, and years of practice.

3)Yes, I've seen this to be apparent in certain circumstances.

I posted on one such experience here:

http://www.dharmawheel.net/viewtopic.php?f=69&t=9012&p=128819#p128819

I'd be happy to talk about this with anyone further.
And I'll do my best to answer any questions they might have.

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Re: Are Karma and Rebirth Real?

Postby vysam » Tue Jan 08, 2013 12:54 am

hi
what perplexes me is the denial of the immanent soul,the atman of the upanishads,and the karma theory's continued acceptance.
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Re: Are Karma and Rebirth Real?

Postby futerko » Tue Jan 08, 2013 1:12 am

vysam wrote:hi
what perplexes me is the denial of the immanent soul,the atman of the upanishads,and the karma theory's continued acceptance.


You seem to be saying... if there is no soul, then what does karma act on? - but actually karma is precisely what gives shape and form to this "soul" - agency and structure are seen to be non-dual here.
we cannot get rid of God because we still believe in grammar - Nietzsche
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Re: Are Karma and Rebirth Real?

Postby Sherlock » Tue Jan 08, 2013 10:28 am

vysam wrote:hi
what perplexes me is the denial of the immanent soul,the atman of the upanishads,and the karma theory's continued acceptance.


That's one of the ways in which general Sutric Buddhism still manifests a mind-body dualism.

In the tantras, there is a development of the idea that karma is linked to winds that go through your body. I recommend this post by Malcolm earlier in the thread.
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Re: Are Karma and Rebirth Real?

Postby Nosta » Tue Jan 08, 2013 2:08 pm

Another perspective about the "karma and rebirth are real?" problem: imagine that they are not real. Would you be kind and compassive? Would you make whatever you want, knowing that nothing would happen and that after this life everything would disapear? How would you face life?

I am not saying that these kind of reflexion is a way to prove or not the existence of karma and rebirth, but its a different way to think about things.
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Re: Are Karma and Rebirth Real?

Postby Seishin » Tue Jan 08, 2013 2:33 pm

Not believing in such things doesn't make someone a bad person just as believing in these things does not make one a good person. This is probably not what you meant but it's a slippery slope and I thought I'd clarify this. :smile:

Gassho,
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Re: Are Karma and Rebirth Real?

Postby Nosta » Tue Jan 08, 2013 6:15 pm

I know :) and thank you for remembering such "traps" :)
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Re: Are Karma and Rebirth Real?

Postby Sherab Dorje » Sat Jan 26, 2013 10:55 am

So you think that rebirth is not real, huh?
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One will be like a blind man who has no eyes."
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Re: Are Karma and Rebirth Real?

Postby pueraeternus » Sat Jan 26, 2013 3:19 pm

gregkavarnos wrote:So you think that rebirth is not real, huh?
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It should be Mein Kater. :rolling:
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Re: Are Karma and Rebirth Real?

Postby Salomon » Fri Feb 01, 2013 3:38 am

odysseus wrote:
coldmountain wrote:
1) You have direct experience with it (if you do, I'd like to know how you're able to verify that you're not misinterpreting your experience?)
2) You know others who do.
3) You have encountered phenomena which demand rebirth and karma as an explanation (i.e. rebirth, or whatever phenomena needs explaining in terms of such, is a positive reality that demands accounting for, and not just a tacked-on, metaphysical appendix to the empirical world).


Hello,

firstly I would like to say that for me, I don´t see karma and rebirth as things to believe in. They are for me simple explanations (call them concepts if you don´t agree) of how things work that can be verified by human experience. Nothing supernatural about it! They have always been better solutions than eternal heaven/hell and materialism/annihilation. In fact, just the most logical things in this vast universe.

1): I had an intense "spiritual" experience a few years ago that lasted for several months. At one time, I could see my "soul", my inner body living inside my physical body as a being with even a specific colour. Some while later, I had a vision where I saw an entity (a psycho-physical something) with the same colour arriving from afar and taking place in my mother´s womb. I have no life-memories of past lives, but this was enough for me. It was so real. I could literaly "realise" how a being is reborn into another world. I cannot verify this experience with anyone, but it was so real that it convinced me of the rebirth of people. You may deem me psychotic but I had no hallucinations in this time. My reality-testing was intact.

2): I don´t know anyone else, but even a Christian acquaintance of mine talked about past lives.

3): See my first answer. As far as karma goes, many times I had done something voluntarily and I have been the receiver of similar happenings. Of course, karma is more complex than this but it´s easy to verify the logic of it.

As a conclusion, I cannot find any other logical explanations than karma and rebirth as this universe is so vast and other explanations seem so limited. I´m not well versed in religion so there may be more to monotheistic heaven/hell notions than I know of.

As a bonus, I don´t feel any more religious with karma and rebirth because these are so self-explanatory and logical that I don´t need any superstitious drivel to understand them.


Just I want to say that is exactly what I wanted to say before reading you, except the part you experienced with your visions. Very interesting sharing about your visions.
This has been exactly the same experience to me. When I heard this, it has been just the simplest and the most logical explanation someone gave to me about Justice/Hell/Heaven/Bad/Good/Harmony/And so On. Nothing special about this, just recognizing reality.
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Re: Are Karma and Rebirth Real?

Postby Loka » Wed Feb 20, 2013 5:02 am

I’m very late to this party and haven’t had time to go through all 600 plus previous posts so forgive me if I’m repeating too much of what’s already been said.

Regarding the matter of karma and rebirth, it seems to me that it’s more than just a matter of skepticism. The Buddhists texts themselves, especially in the Mahayana strongly suggest that rebirth is a provisional and not ultimate element of the dharma, i.e., an instance of upaya; for as some have already mentioned without some kind of “ownership” of our acts why would we be induced to do good?

The problem of course is that in the ultimate view of interdependence we don’t own our acts anymore than we own our selves. Our acts certainly have consequences, good and bad; karma works itself it out and beings are reproduced. We certainly help form these new beings by our actions, but we are identified with such beings only to the extent we are identified interdependently with all beings everywhere.

The simply analogy is with children. Do we love and care for only our own children, or for the neighbor’s children as well? How about the children in the next city or country?

Consider as well how little control we have in the end over what our children do. They’re seldom the little replicants we’d like them to be. This holds even more truly of rebirth. Even it were the case that I shared a tenuous continuum of consciousness, some dispositions or mental formations, however theorized - what has that to do with my present phenomenal self, my present pains and projects? Certainly I may have concerns for that newly arisen being but no more and no less than for a myriad other arisen beings in other so-called continuums.

The difficulty of course is obvious. Just as it’s far easier, in terms of instinct, to care for our own genetic offspring, it’s far easier to care for the descendents of our own consciousness, however tenuous the connection may be, than for all sentient beings everywhere. So I understand why so many Buddhists adhere to the literalist view of karma and rebirth. But again I see this as provisional. In the end we must be able to see beyond our own rebirths, just as we have learned to see beyond our own children.
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Re: Are Karma and Rebirth Real?

Postby Indrajala » Wed Feb 20, 2013 5:47 am

Loka wrote:The Buddhists texts themselves, especially in the Mahayana strongly suggest that rebirth is a provisional and not ultimate element of the dharma, i.e., an instance of upaya; for as some have already mentioned without some kind of “ownership” of our acts why would we be induced to do good?


Your reading is fallacious.

Rebirth is conventionally real, though ultimately it dissolves under analysis like any other perceived phenomenon.

Conventionally rebirth is as real as retirement. Plenty of children recollect past life memories. Many adults recollect their past lives as well. If your meditation is solid enough you'll likely recall something sooner or later, though accurately identifying such things is perhaps problematic for many.

Rebirth is not merely nominally real like a third hand or second head for which terms exist but we do not ever see. We do in fact see evidence and cases of rebirth all over the world. It is thus conventionally real, and not a mere nominal designation for something that is never witnessed or observed.

Even it were the case that I shared a tenuous continuum of consciousness, some dispositions or mental formations, however theorized - what has that to do with my present phenomenal self, my present pains and projects?


This kind of selfish thinking is the cause of great suffering in the world. People just care about their own lives up until death and then they think they won't be around anymore so no sense caring much about the environment and so on. You only live once, they say, so to hell with postmortem consequences.


In the end we must be able to see beyond our own rebirths, just as we have learned to see beyond our own children.


If you really understood the implications of saṃsāra, you might think otherwise.
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Re: Are Karma and Rebirth Real?

Postby Loka » Wed Feb 20, 2013 6:58 am

Huseng wrote:Conventionally rebirth is as real as retirement. Plenty of children recollect past life memories. Many adults recollect their past lives as well. If your meditation is solid enough you'll likely recall something sooner or later, though accurately identifying such things is perhaps problematic for many.

Rebirth is not merely nominally real like a third hand or second head for which terms exist but we do not ever see. We do in fact see evidence and cases of rebirth all over the world. It is thus conventionally real, and not a mere nominal designation for something that is never witnessed or observed.


Well, here we have a difference in what we accept as evidence. To my knowledge, there is no such compelling evidence. Of course, I would I certainly be willing to change my position were I to discover such evidence. But on that score, my reading is "fallacious" only relatively, from your point of view.


Huseng wrote:If you really understood the implications of saṃsāra, you might think otherwise.


But there is no difference between samsara and nirvana, absolutely none. But teach me, what are these implications you say I don't understand?
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