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 KevinSolway » Mon Nov 07, 2011 7:17 pm

gregkavarnos wrote:I am not talking about "my" interpretation of dependent origination, though you are definitely talking about "yours". The interpretation of dependent origination that I "report" is the common interpretation


Okay, so if it's not your interpretation then it's somebody elses interpretation.

My advice, which you are welcome to ignore, is to make an interpretation your own, and take personal responsibility for it. If you do this then you will get the huge rewards if you are correct, and will pay a huge price if you are wrong. But there's no other way to live!

Life is too short to be borrowing other people's interpretations.
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Re: are karma and rebirth for real?

Postby Malcolm » Mon Nov 07, 2011 7:17 pm

KevinSolway wrote:
I consider that it is a matter of definition that the substrate or cause of consciousness is "physical", and it is ultimately the physical world, which is the cause of consciousness, which is the physical body.


The Buddha has taught us consistently that the cause of the physical world is consciousness.

This, I will suggest, is the reason why your speculations are dissonate with what the majority of Buddhists understand about the Buddha's teachings.

Consciousness is the cause of matter, not the other way round.

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འ༔ ཨ༔ ཧ༔ ཤ༔ ས༔ མ༔

" The one who teaches the benefits of peace,
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Re: are karma and rebirth for real?

Postby KevinSolway » Mon Nov 07, 2011 7:56 pm

Namdrol wrote:
KevinSolway wrote:
I consider that it is a matter of definition that the substrate or cause of consciousness is "physical", and it is ultimately the physical world, which is the cause of consciousness, which is the physical body.


The Buddha has taught us consistently that the cause of the physical world is consciousness.


And he's not mistaken on this. In the case that we divide things up into the duality of "mind" and "matter", there are only two things, and each of these two must be caused by something. Since the only thing other than mind is matter, then matter must be the cause of mind. Likewise the only thing other than matter is mind, so mind must be the cause of matter.

Beyond the duality of "mind" and "matter" is the undifferentiated Natural World, which has various names.
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Re: are karma and rebirth for real?

Postby Dechen Norbu » Mon Nov 07, 2011 7:56 pm

KevinSolway wrote:
All of the conditions that actually bring about a result, such as rain, seed, etc, are definitely the cause of the result. In that sense only are conditions the same as causes, i.e., when the conditions definitely contribute to a result.

Namdrol made a clear distinction between what is seen as a cause and a condition. You are ignoring this distinction when it is useful. Conditions do not carry the potential to bring about a result. This is what makes them different of causes. So don't equate them as if they were the same for the purpose of wining an argument.


Yes, except when they have already caused the result, in which case their potential has been realized.

This has no relevance for the debate.

I consider that it is a matter of definition that the substrate or cause of consciousness is "physical", and it is ultimately the physical world (which is the cause of consciousness), which is the physical body.

That is your biased consideration. Don't mistake a fact for an assumption based on metaphysical predilections.
I agree that there are definitely immaterial realms, and there are no physical bodies in those realms, but the immaterial realms themselves have a cause, and that cause is physical. That's where the physical "body" is. The body is not in the immaterial realm.

This is just speculation. Neither science nor Buddhism defend this position. It's of no consequence to us that you make up your own theories that can't be proven or disproven. In this thread the preferred arguments should come from 1) Buddhadharma, 2) Philosophy and science 3) shared experience. Our own speculations matter little to others.

It's fine to divide things up into "mind" and "body". The problem comes when people imagine that each of these are inherently existent, and imagine that the mind is independent of the body, and unaffected by the body.

It doesn't matter what people imagine. People imagine all sorts of stuff. If we were to discuss them all we wouldn't finish this thread in our lifetime. It matters the Buddhist teachings about this subject and their coherent analysis. No teaching says that mind can't be influenced by physical phenomena. It's way more complex than that. But it seems to me that you are greatly unaware of what is a Buddhist teaching and what isn't.

It's important, Kevin, that you are made aware that this is a public forum in case you didn't notice :lol: . I respect your ideas and you have every right to your own theories, even if you don't recognize their shortcomings (and that is lame, dude). However you must consider the interests of others and not everyone here is worried about your own version of the Buddhadharma, the spin you give to the teachings, your interpretations of what is literal and what isn't and so on. I believe you may find them quite interesting, but not everyone would agree. If you want to debate your own ideas about the teachings, open a thread for that purpose. I won't allow this one to be hijacked as it has been so far.

Rebirth and karma here may be discussed in common terms to us all, meaning sound logic, general epistemology, epistemology of science, Buddhist teachings, authority of the sages, things we can all relate to and agree upon. If you bring forth a metaphysical predilection based on naturalism, I'll point the flaws it may have. If you make a statement based on faith, I may point its frailty. You get the point, I'm sure. One may defend his ideas knowing that so far there are no positions which are unassailable. If that was the case, we would have a consensus already.

What is inadmissible is someone defending a position ad nauseum in spite of falling prey of all sorts of logical fallacies, self defeating arguments, incoherence, personal speculation you name it. I'm not to blame if you can't see this and I won't accept a parallel conversation about it. We are not to blame for your lack of knowledge.

Someone has to put this thread back on track. It might as well be me.
So Kevin, I find that at this point you are mostly being disruptive and the exchange of ideas you are maintaining with others is no longer being productive, I'm sorry to say. If you want to discuss your personal theories, open a new thread, please. If you want to discuss rebirth, keep your personal theories out of it unless you can prove them. If not, I've told above how you can approach the subject in a meaningful way for all of us.

Thank you.
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Re: are karma and rebirth for real?

Postby Malcolm » Mon Nov 07, 2011 8:05 pm

KevinSolway wrote:
Namdrol wrote:
KevinSolway wrote:
I consider that it is a matter of definition that the substrate or cause of consciousness is "physical", and it is ultimately the physical world, which is the cause of consciousness, which is the physical body.


The Buddha has taught us consistently that the cause of the physical world is consciousness.


And he's not mistaken on this. In the case that we divide things up into the duality of "mind" and "matter", there are only two things, and each of these two must be caused by something. Since the only thing other than mind is matter, then matter must be the cause of mind. Likewise the only thing other than matter is mind, so mind must be the cause of matter.

Beyond the duality of "mind" and "matter" is the undifferentiated Natural World, which has various names.



According to the Buddha all phenomena in the universe, the natural world, are categorized into six classes: consciousness, space, air, fire, water and earth. Conciousness is the cause of the other five. Consciousness has the potential to give rise to the other five, but the other five do not have the ability to give rise to consciousness. It is not a relation of mutual dependence. Matter depends on consciousness, but consciousness does not depend on matter. Consciousness depends only on prior moments of consciousness, and since there are no beginnings, according to the logic of dependent origination, there is no fault of infinite regress.

N

N
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འ༔ ཨ༔ ཧ༔ ཤ༔ ས༔ མ༔

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Re: are karma and rebirth for real?

Postby KevinSolway » Mon Nov 07, 2011 8:27 pm

Dechen Norbu wrote:. . . unless you can prove them.


Well it's your forum and you can run it how you see fit. I cannot force you to understand my arguments.

But I do hope you will be consistent with your rulings.

Unless a person can prove that one person can be reborn as another person, after their physical death, or that a person can be reborn as an animal, or a preta, etc, then they should not be permitted to express any such ideas here, either in their own words or in words quoted from anywhere else.
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Re: are karma and rebirth for real?

Postby Malcolm » Mon Nov 07, 2011 8:38 pm

KevinSolway wrote:
Dechen Norbu wrote:. . . unless you can prove them.


Well it's your forum and you can run it how you see fit. I cannot force you to understand my arguments.

But I do hope you will be consistent with your rulings.

Unless a person can prove that one person can be reborn as another person, after their physical death, or that a person can be reborn as an animal, or a preta, etc, then they should not be permitted to express any such ideas here, either in their own words or in words quoted from anywhere else.



I suspect that by "proof", Dechen means "actually found in the teachings of the Buddha" -- not empirically proven in a scientific study.

N
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http://atikosha.org
འ༔ ཨ༔ ཧ༔ ཤ༔ ས༔ མ༔

" The one who teaches the benefits of peace,
he is said to be a ṛṣī; the others are the opposite of him."

-- Uttaratantra
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Re: are karma and rebirth for real?

Postby Dechen Norbu » Mon Nov 07, 2011 8:42 pm

KevinSolway wrote:
Dechen Norbu wrote:. . . unless you can prove them.


Well it's your forum and you can run it how you see fit. I cannot force you to understand my arguments.

But I do hope you will be consistent with your rulings.

Unless a person can prove that one person can be reborn as another person, after their physical death, or that a person can be reborn as an animal, or a preta, etc, then they should not be permitted to express any such ideas here, either in their own words or in words quoted from anywhere else.


No, this standard is applied to you. See, this being a Buddhist board we can decide who we consider to be an authority on the matter. If I want to see a question about Physics answered, I ask a physic. I don't need him to prove his theory to me, neither do i need to prove it to others. Otherwise we would have to reinvent the wheel again and again. I trust his authority. Likewise, in Buddhist matters I trust the Buddhist sages. I have good reasons to do so. Otherwise I wouldn't be a Buddhist.
Now, we are free to reject metaphysical naturalism, consider other modes of inquiry valid (like deep contemplation) and trust the time tested opinions of the Buddhist sages. As so far science brings us very little about consciousness, we can check other modes of getting knowledge and still remain sane. We don't need to buy other people's metaphysical systems. This is the perk of being in a Buddhist board. We can't force our ideas upon you or ask you to accept them. Neither we want to. Buddhism has a strong rationale supporting it. Plus it offers a bonus that few metaphysical systems allow: there seems to be a path by witch you can really verify the assumptions in an unmediated fashion. It's more than can be said about metaphysical naturalism if you ask me. That will always remain unverified.
You by not being a Buddhist sage, have to prove your theories or provide credible sources. If you want to debate this philosophically, then do it. I don't object. But keep in mind the rules of a clean debate: no logical fallacies allowed. No speculation either unless you provide a good rationale that is supported by someone we consider an authority (pick a side of the fence if you must). Made up theories of your own are not credible. Don't take it personally. I have nothing against you making your own theories. Just create another topic if you wish to share them with us.

kind regards.
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Re: are karma and rebirth for real?

Postby Dechen Norbu » Mon Nov 07, 2011 8:53 pm

Namdrol wrote:
KevinSolway wrote:
Dechen Norbu wrote:. . . unless you can prove them.


Well it's your forum and you can run it how you see fit. I cannot force you to understand my arguments.

But I do hope you will be consistent with your rulings.

Unless a person can prove that one person can be reborn as another person, after their physical death, or that a person can be reborn as an animal, or a preta, etc, then they should not be permitted to express any such ideas here, either in their own words or in words quoted from anywhere else.



I suspect that by "proof", Dechen means "actually found in the teachings of the Buddha" -- not empirically proven in a scientific study.

N

Yes that also. My previous post makes it clear, i guess. I used the term proof quite loosely, as theories are mostly falsified, but I would expect him to get the point. Basically it means his statements must have some meat in them. We need credible sources, Buddhist, philosophic you name it or at least flawless reasoning if he really wants to use his own theories. Kevin is not an authority by himself to any Buddhist, with all due respect, so he must back up his ideas quite well if they are original. A simple "oh I think it is like this and that" may be very interesting, but refutes nothing and is not adequate to this thread. Debating rebirth using one's own pet theories is far more than I'm able to concede. :lol: If he wants to take a shot at refuting rebirth or karma he can use arguments from lots of credible sources, his imagination not being one of them! :lol:
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Re: are karma and rebirth for real?

Postby KevinSolway » Mon Nov 07, 2011 8:54 pm

Namdrol wrote:Consciousness depends only on prior moments of consciousness


Question for Namdrol.

Prior moments of consciousness are still consciousness. So what is the cause of consciousness itself? That is, what is the cause of the whole infinite series of moments of consciousness?
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Re: are karma and rebirth for real?

Postby Karma Dondrup Tashi » Mon Nov 07, 2011 9:11 pm

KevinSolway wrote:
Namdrol wrote:Consciousness depends only on prior moments of consciousness


Question for Namdrol.

Prior moments of consciousness are still consciousness. So what is the cause of consciousness itself? That is, what is the cause of the whole infinite series of moments of consciousness?


Oooo pick me pick me! The big bang!

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Re: are karma and rebirth for real?

Postby Sherab Dorje » Mon Nov 07, 2011 10:18 pm

KevinSolway wrote:My advice, which you are welcome to ignore, is to make an interpretation your own, and take personal responsibility for it. If you do this then you will get the huge rewards if you are correct, and will pay a huge price if you are wrong. But there's no other way to live!

Life is too short to be borrowing other people's interpretations.
Life is much to short for me to reinvent the bhavachakra http://www.flickr.com/photos/erikwdavis/4015156204/ I have decided to follow the advice of others that have walked the path with (documented) positive results. If you want to hack your way through the jungle of views just to please your ego, well bully for you. I am not following this path in order to reinforce my sense of self, I am following it in order to reduce my attachment to it (hopefully to zero). Here is a link to a bit of spam about pride, a teaching from a true bodhisattva: http://www.dharmawheel.net/viewtopic.ph ... 156#p24785
: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
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Re: are karma and rebirth for real?

Postby Josef » Mon Nov 07, 2011 11:10 pm

"Gourmet food for pigs and dogs,
butter lamps for the blind,
a meal for those with indigestion,
and Dharma for fools—of what use are these?"

—Sakya Pandita
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Re: are karma and rebirth for real?

Postby Malcolm » Mon Nov 07, 2011 11:14 pm

KevinSolway wrote:
Namdrol wrote:Consciousness depends only on prior moments of consciousness


Question for Namdrol.

Prior moments of consciousness are still consciousness. So what is the cause of consciousness itself? That is, what is the cause of the whole infinite series of moments of consciousness?


As I said, there is no beginning to any given series, as the logic of dependent origination necessarily entails. In other words, consciousness is beginningless, also the other five dhātus (space and the four mahābhutani) are beginningless, since their cause, consciousness (i.e. the collective minds of all infinite sentient beings) has no beginning.

The Buddhist perspective, as indicated by the suttas and thousands of treatises, is that while consciousness contains the potentiality of all five elements, the five elements themselves do not contain the potentiality to give rise to consciousness.

However, you will find that when you move into Vajrayāna and especially the teachings of the Great Perfection, the explicit substance dualism of the sutrayāna is abandoned.

Up to this point, we have been discussing these issues from a strictly sutrayāna perspective.

In Vajrayāna there is begins to be a movement which recognizes that matter is in fact intelligent, rather than something inert opposed to consciousness.

This movement in Buddhist teaching reaches its fullest expression in the teaching of the Great Perfection (Dzogchen) where matter is seen as the pure expressive radiance of the natural processes of pure "consciousness" which in fact forms a non-dual field, punctuated, if you will, on the one hand by the delusion of non-recognition (of this matrix of radiant intelligence called "vidyā and jñāna(the name for the five elements in thier pure state)" because of subject/object dualism predicated on grasping identity in that which lacks identity) which creates serial point events called "sentient beings" and on the other hand, the wisdom of recognition which creates serial point events called "buddhas" and the shades in between i.e. yogis.

Within this scheme, nevertheless, karma as well as physical and literal rebirth are still quite possible and assumed because of the delusion of self-grasping. In Buddhism, ignorance (āvidya) drives rebirth and karma, and nothing else.

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Re: are karma and rebirth for real?

Postby KevinSolway » Tue Nov 08, 2011 3:04 am

Namdrol wrote:
Prior moments of consciousness are still consciousness. So what is the cause of consciousness itself? That is, what is the cause of the whole infinite series of moments of consciousness?


There is no beginning to any given series, as the logic of dependent origination necessarily entails. In other words, consciousness is beginningless


Yes, any infinite series is beginningless, but there can be any number of such beginningless series. The question was, what is the cause of the particular infinite series that you call "consciousness", as opposed to any other infinite series, and as opposed to anything else that is not an infinite series.

Here, diagrammatically, is represented one infinite series:

. . . _____________________________________________________________________________ . . .

and here is another one

. . . _____________________________________________________________________________ . . .


In the case of each series, there is neither a beginning nor an end. And yet one series is not the other one. Something separates them.

Let's say that the first one is consciousness and the second one is some other infinite series. It doesn't matter, for our purposes, what the cause of the second one is (for example, whether it is caused by consciousness). The question is, what is the cause of the first one? That is, what is the cause of the particular infinite series that you call "consciousness".

You appear to be upholding the views of the "Mind only" school, which have been refuted.

In Vajrayāna there begins to be a movement which recognizes that matter is in fact intelligent, rather than something inert opposed to consciousness.


Ok, I believe you are speaking something that makes more sense to me now. It's good that we can agree on something.

Rather than saying there is "mind only" you are suggesting that mind is an aspect of something we might call "matter".

This is far more in alignment with my own view.

But I don't believe that Sutrayana is as mistaken as you seem to suggest. I think it has merely been misinterpreted. People have grasped at the surface details and mistaken the pointing finger for the moon. Unfortunately I cannot prove this last remark, since I am unable to read the minds of the writers of scriptures with absolute certainty.
Last edited by KevinSolway on Tue Nov 08, 2011 4:10 am, edited 3 times in total.
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Re: are karma and rebirth for real?

Postby deepbluehum » Tue Nov 08, 2011 3:08 am

The cause is avidya.
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Re: are karma and rebirth for real?

Postby deepbluehum » Tue Nov 08, 2011 3:10 am

You can't say there is matter or mind if the principal is illusion.
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Re: are karma and rebirth for real?

Postby Malcolm » Tue Nov 08, 2011 3:17 am

KevinSolway wrote:

In the case of each series, there is neither a beginning nor an end. And yet one series is not the other one. Something separates them.

Let's say that the first one is consciousness and the second one is some other infinite series. It doesn't matter, for our purposes, what the cause of the second one is (for example, whether it is caused by consciousness). The question is, what is the cause of the first one? That is, what is the cause of the particular infinite series that we call "consciousness".



There cannot be an absolute cause of a beginningless series. A given series however is unique because its causes are unique to it.



You appear to be upholding the views of the "Mind only" school, which have been refuted.


No, I am not a cittamatrin.



Ok, I believe you are speaking something that makes more sense to me now. It's good that we can agree on something.

Rather than saying there is "mind only" you are suggesting that mind is an aspect of something we might call "matter".


What I am suggesting is that mind and matter are a non-dual field -- rather than one being an epiphenomena of the other. They are in fact equally products of delusion in one sense. In another, they are merely expressions of intelligent light.





But I don't believe that Sutrayana is as mistaken as you seem to suggest.


Sutrayāna upholds substance dualism, conventionally speaking. Vajrayāna, and in particular, Dzogchen, do not.
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Re: are karma and rebirth for real?

Postby KevinSolway » Tue Nov 08, 2011 4:16 am

Namdrol wrote:There cannot be an absolute cause of a beginningless series.


There can't be a serial beginning to a beginningless series, but there can certainly be a cause to the entire series.

What is it that separates one beginningless series from another one? That would be the cause of a particular beginningless series.
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Re: are karma and rebirth for real?

Postby deepbluehum » Tue Nov 08, 2011 4:53 am

Namdrol wrote:Sutrayāna upholds substance dualism


I haven't found it in the Pali Canon.
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