How to believe in rebirth

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mindyourmind
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Re: How to believe in rebirth

Post by mindyourmind » Tue Nov 01, 2016 4:23 pm

Why are we focusing only on person to person rebirth? Accept the traditional person-to-cockroach-to-tiger explanation and population growth becomes irrelevant.
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Zhen Li
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Re: How to believe in rebirth

Post by Zhen Li » Wed Nov 02, 2016 8:39 pm

There's an uncountable number of world systems and beings in different realms. The growth of humans on this planet is really completely inconsequential and puny if you think from the bigger picture. In fact, there's absolutely no reason to suppose that since humans on our planet are increasing, that more beings are being reborn as humans. For all we know, on average in the trichiliocosms, humans are decreasing and more beings are going to the hells and suffering.

This is really not an issue at all, it's just basic Buddhist cosmology.

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Re: How to believe in rebirth

Post by Wayfarer » Thu Nov 03, 2016 12:03 am

Maybe it's 'basic Buddhist cosmology', but from time to time, I remember that when I first got interested in Buddhism, it was because it was an 'experiential path' - learn by doing, 'inviting you to come and see'.

There is no way for me to know whether there are uncountable other world-systems and realms. Might be, might not be. Don't know. I'm open to it, I don't rule it out, but at this point in time, I'm not prepared to simply believe it because that is what Buddhists are supposed to believe.
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Re: How to believe in rebirth

Post by Lukeinaz » Thu Nov 03, 2016 1:13 am

Wayfarer wrote:Maybe it's 'basic Buddhist cosmology', but from time to time, I remember that when I first got interested in Buddhism, it was because it was an 'experiential path' - learn by doing, 'inviting you to come and see'.

There is no way for me to know whether there are uncountable other world-systems and realms. Might be, might not be. Don't know. I'm open to it, I don't rule it out, but at this point in time, I'm not prepared to simply believe it because that is what Buddhists are supposed to believe.
If you answer "might not" you have absolutely no idea of the sheer vastness of our known universe. It would be utter ignorance to discount other world systems.
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Re: How to believe in rebirth

Post by Wayfarer » Thu Nov 03, 2016 2:04 am

Actually, science does have a pretty good idea of the scope of the vast universe. I have no reason to believe that ancient Indian cultures were able to arrive at an informed judgement about such matters, except for by way of intuition.

Take the case of Ian Stevenson - he has produced a great deal of evidence of children who recall their previous lives. I notice that over on the Secular Buddhism website, there are long essays devoted to de-bunking Stevenson's research - that, I regard as close-mindedness.

But who can provide evidence of the existence of other realms and other life-bearing planets? I am open to any evidence, but what evidence is there?
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Re: How to believe in rebirth

Post by MiphamFan » Thu Nov 03, 2016 2:41 am

It's experiential because if you meditate you can also realise yogic abilities and see other realms.

Until then, in Buddhist epistemology, it is perfectly valid to take the Buddha's word as authoritative.

Anyway absence of evidence is not evidence of absence. Just from the size of universe alone I find it improbable that earth is the only place in the universe with life.

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Re: How to believe in rebirth

Post by Crazywisdom » Thu Nov 03, 2016 3:19 am

Boomerang wrote:If somebody wants to believe in rebirth but has trouble getting to that point, what should they do? What should they read?
You don't have to believe in anything but Buddha said believing that this life is the last is the wrong view
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Re: How to believe in rebirth

Post by Ambrosius80 » Fri Jan 27, 2017 6:27 pm

Wayfarer wrote:Actually, science does have a pretty good idea of the scope of the vast universe. I have no reason to believe that ancient Indian cultures were able to arrive at an informed judgement about such matters, except for by way of intuition.

But who can provide evidence of the existence of other realms and other life-bearing planets? I am open to any evidence, but what evidence is there?
Science is practically just observing what we, as humans, are able to see or perceive otherwise. Of this, we create conclusions in our minds. "Science" is entirely dependent on the six senses we humans possess. All the evidence science can provide is no better or worse than what can be perceived by deep samadhi. Both forms of information are derived by a way of intuition through different sense media.
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Re: How to believe in rebirth

Post by Lucas Oliveira » Tue Nov 07, 2017 10:29 pm

Evidence of Reincarnation in Childhood by Dr. Jim Tucker (Full Presentation)

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Re: How to believe in rebirth

Post by nichiren-123 » Thu Nov 09, 2017 11:51 am

I understand rebirth using the metaphor of the ocean.
Each individual life is like a single wave and the universe is the ocean. You're born (a new wave created) you live (rise and fall) and eventually die (your 'wave' fades back into the ocean). But then in future new waves will arise. Each wave however is unique. There are none that ever have or ever will be the same. In the same way each life is unique and your next rebirth as a new 'wave' will be a different, unique person. The only link between different waves is a karmic link. As one wave inevitably provides the causes and effects for new, unique waves.
It's also important to realise that who you are is different from one moment to the next, so in a way you are being reborn moment after moment, just as a wave moves forward, the particles of the wave changes and the wave as a whole evolves so that it is different at each moment.

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Re: How to believe in rebirth

Post by pael » Thu Nov 09, 2017 12:05 pm

Try to discuss rebirth with someone who believe in it face to face. I don't have close people who believe in it.
One non-believer said he don't believe because he can't understand how he could become animal or what kind of experience it would be.
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Re: How to believe in rebirth

Post by Vasana » Thu Nov 09, 2017 1:50 pm

Wayfarer wrote:
Thu Nov 03, 2016 2:04 am
But who can provide evidence of the existence of other realms and other life-bearing planets? I am open to any evidence, but what evidence is there?
It's more probable that there is other sentient life out there than not.
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Re: How to believe in rebirth

Post by krodha » Thu Nov 09, 2017 2:34 pm

Wayfarer wrote:
Thu Nov 03, 2016 2:04 am
But who can provide evidence of the existence of other realms and other life-bearing planets? I am open to any evidence, but what evidence is there?
There are organisms that live in volcanic vents at the bottom of the ocean, that in and of itself demonstrates (i) that our notion of a proper "life bearing" climate is warped, and (ii) that the manifestation of life is so indiscriminately opportunistic that it will essentially appear everywhere and anywhere it can.

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Re: How to believe in rebirth

Post by Malcolm » Thu Nov 09, 2017 5:13 pm

Wayfarer wrote:
Thu Nov 03, 2016 2:04 am

But who can provide evidence of the existence of other realms and other life-bearing planets? I am open to any evidence, but what evidence is there?
Earth itself. If it can happen here, it can happen elsewhere. Simple probability. The universe is a pretty big place.
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Re: How to believe in rebirth

Post by Rick » Thu Nov 09, 2017 5:17 pm

As JD pointed out a while back in a thread on Rebirth and Karma ... the key snag in believing in (the possibility) of rebirth, actual not metaphorical, is the difficulty believing that consciousness can survive physical death. Without this continuation of some form of mental energy, rebirth would be impossible. Once you accept the possibility (or likelihood) that a sentient being’s consciousness can survive (in some form) beyond its death, rebirth seems a whole lot less unlikely ... in fact it seems quite rational.
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Re: How to believe in rebirth

Post by tiagolps » Thu Nov 09, 2017 5:43 pm

The problem is believing that somehow modern science disproves the continuity of the mindstream.

It doesn't. It's a logical fallacy.
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Re: How to believe in rebirth

Post by Wayfarer » Thu Nov 09, 2017 9:07 pm

Malcolm wrote:
Thu Nov 09, 2017 5:13 pm
Wayfarer wrote:
Thu Nov 03, 2016 2:04 am

But who can provide evidence of the existence of other realms and other life-bearing planets? I am open to any evidence, but what evidence is there?
Earth itself. If it can happen here, it can happen elsewhere. Simple probability. The universe is a pretty big place.
I agree, although it seems to be pretty hard to detect so far. But I have always rather like the theory of panspermia - that proto-life forms travel around the Universe on comets and 'seed' planets where the conditions are amenable to life. It was the subject of a book called The Intelligent Universe by Fred Hoyle and Chandra Wickramasinghe, published in the 1970's - Wickramasinghe, a Sri Lankan, is still active in the field.

Image

Also - I would be interested to know what are the main sources of Mahayana cosmology - where the Buddha of the 'life-bearing orbs' is discussed. Is that something in the Sutras or is it part of the esoteric scriptures.
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Re: How to believe in rebirth

Post by PadmaVonSamba » Fri Nov 10, 2017 3:32 am

Rick wrote:
Thu Nov 09, 2017 5:17 pm
As JD pointed out a while back in a thread on Rebirth and Karma ... the key snag in believing in (the possibility) of rebirth, actual not metaphorical, is the difficulty believing that consciousness can survive physical death. Without this continuation of some form of mental energy, rebirth would be impossible. Once you accept the possibility (or likelihood) that a sentient being’s consciousness can survive (in some form) beyond its death, rebirth seems a whole lot less unlikely ... in fact it seems quite rational.
My understanding is that there is an entirely different way of looking at this,
that doesn't require what is essentially atma or a "self"
(which is what a continuation of consciousness such as this basically amounts to).
That's the whole premise, right? There is nothing that can be identified as a self.
I think it is in a commentary on the Heart Sutra that HH Dalai Lama makes the point that
precisely because there is no self, rebirth is possible.

One of the problems is that when we talk about rebirth, we are usually thinking about another being in the future
who compares somehow to the self we are in this life now. But that's a false premise right there.There's no self.

It is helpful to think of this appearance and experience of a self as a infinite collection of rapidly occurring events,
and they are constantly replicating, which gives the illusion of continuity,
in much the same way that a movie is a series of frames shown in such rapid succession, so as to create the illusion of motion.
Each moment of mind's arising is a nearly identical copy of the previous moment,
which is why you feel right now as though you are the same person you were 40 seconds ago.
There is no one "thing" that is "consciousness".
Thus, there is no one "thing" that somehow jumps from one body to another.

Have you ever seen clouds of migrating black birds? Its sort of like that.
Tens of Thousands of black birds swarm together, and
seeing them from a distance, they look like black blobs in the sky.
That's like the illusion of a solid self.
The blackbirds all land in a tree, then they all fly off, and eventually land in another tree.

The millions of components of mind experience the chemical interactions of the brain as events such as thoughts and emotions.
The brain itself has no awareness. "It"doesn't know it's a brain.
It doesn't think, "Here I am, this electric blob trapped inside this dark little calcium box, precariously perched on the neck of this sack of meat."
So, while at this time, mind arises with the activity of the brain,
to suggest that the brain, (water, fat, amino acids salt) creates mind is somewhat like suggesting that
a computer manufactures the user sitting in front of it,
although for advanced animals, the brain does provide the conditions for sensory awareness to happen.
intentional interaction with conditions in an external environment does not require any brain activity
hence, sperm swim to eggs.
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Re: How to believe in rebirth

Post by Rick » Fri Nov 10, 2017 4:49 am

PadmaVonSamba wrote:
Fri Nov 10, 2017 3:32 am
There is no one "thing" that is "consciousness".
Thus, there is no one "thing" that somehow jumps from one body to another.
I like the image of the flame being passed from candle to candle. There's continuity there, but it's a dynamic continuity because the flame is changing moment to moment.
Merrily, merrily, merrily, merrily ...

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Re: How to believe in rebirth

Post by Wayfarer » Fri Nov 10, 2017 8:10 am

But in practice, there’s a definite issue of agency and subject-hood. I mean, in the case of reincarnate lamas, an infant is shown the possessions they purportedly had in a previous life, as part of the means of ascertaining the genuineness of the re-birth. They will pick out those possessions from others like them. ‘That one was mine’. It seems very hard to square with ‘no self being reborn’.

I understand the metaphor of the ‘passing of the torch’ but there’s still a torch passed. The new birth is ‘neither the same nor different’ from the previous instance but even a stream of continuously perishing events, like a moving picture, forms a coherent whole - a movie, in fact. (I often reflect that life is like a movie, but with real blood. :smile: )

I am not trying to be contrarian but it seems to me there are some paradoxes here.
In the beginner's mind there are many possibilities; in the expert's mind there are few ~ Suzuki-roshi

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