How to believe in rebirth

General forum on the teachings of all schools of Mahayana and Vajrayana Buddhism. Topics specific to one school are best posted in the appropriate sub-forum.
Post Reply
User avatar
Boomerang
Posts: 530
Joined: Tue Dec 16, 2014 5:34 am

How to believe in rebirth

Post by Boomerang » Wed Jun 22, 2016 10:47 pm

If somebody wants to believe in rebirth but has trouble getting to that point, what should they do? What should they read?
"All the suffering of the lower realms, whatever difficulty and unhappiness we may experience as human beings, as well as every other possible suffering of the three realms of existence, have their origin in cherishing ourselves more than others."

User avatar
Malcolm
Posts: 25497
Joined: Thu Nov 11, 2010 2:19 am

Re: How to believe in rebirth

Post by Malcolm » Wed Jun 22, 2016 10:50 pm

Boomerang wrote:If somebody wants to believe in rebirth but has trouble getting to that point, what should they do? What should they read?
One will not come to a firm conviction in rebirth through arguments. But if they analyze their mind, and investigate its origin, they will not be able to reject rebirth. Experiential approaches are better than logic.
Atikosha
Tibetan Medicine Blog
Sudarsana Mandala, Tibetan Medicine and Herbs
Buddhahood in This Life
འ༔ ཨ༔ ཧ༔ ཤ༔ ས༔ མ༔


The knowledge imparted through the guru’s instructions that formerly was unknown (avidyā) is vidyā.


—Treasury of the Supreme Vehicle, Longchenpa.

User avatar
Boomerang
Posts: 530
Joined: Tue Dec 16, 2014 5:34 am

Re: How to believe in rebirth

Post by Boomerang » Wed Jun 22, 2016 10:53 pm

Malcolm wrote:
Boomerang wrote:If somebody wants to believe in rebirth but has trouble getting to that point, what should they do? What should they read?
One will not come to a firm conviction in rebirth through arguments. But if they analyze their mind, and investigate its origin, they will not be able to reject rebirth. Experiential approaches are better than logic.
How do you do that?
"All the suffering of the lower realms, whatever difficulty and unhappiness we may experience as human beings, as well as every other possible suffering of the three realms of existence, have their origin in cherishing ourselves more than others."

User avatar
Malcolm
Posts: 25497
Joined: Thu Nov 11, 2010 2:19 am

Re: How to believe in rebirth

Post by Malcolm » Wed Jun 22, 2016 10:56 pm

Boomerang wrote:
Malcolm wrote:
Boomerang wrote:If somebody wants to believe in rebirth but has trouble getting to that point, what should they do? What should they read?
One will not come to a firm conviction in rebirth through arguments. But if they analyze their mind, and investigate its origin, they will not be able to reject rebirth. Experiential approaches are better than logic.
How do you do that?

You have to ask yourself where your mind comes from. If you think it is a product of the brain, well, there is no way to really convince someone that this is not true. But if they practice meditation, they will eventually loosen their grip on such ideas.
Atikosha
Tibetan Medicine Blog
Sudarsana Mandala, Tibetan Medicine and Herbs
Buddhahood in This Life
འ༔ ཨ༔ ཧ༔ ཤ༔ ས༔ མ༔


The knowledge imparted through the guru’s instructions that formerly was unknown (avidyā) is vidyā.


—Treasury of the Supreme Vehicle, Longchenpa.

User avatar
smcj
Posts: 5480
Joined: Wed May 29, 2013 6:13 am

Re: How to believe in rebirth

Post by smcj » Wed Jun 22, 2016 11:02 pm

I advocate simply having enough of an open mind to say to oneself "well, maybe..." Then take it as a hypothetical and look at it intellectually to see if there are internal inconsistencies. Then, without having dismissed it and with an open mind, do your sadhana. One of the signs of progress in sadhana practice is a better understanding and more confidence of karma and rebirth.

Insisting on coming to a firm conclusion about it before you start means you never start imo.
I support Mingyur R and HHDL in their positions against Lama abuse.
*****
Once in a while you can get shown the light
In the strangest of places if you look at it right.
Robert Hunter

User avatar
Malcolm
Posts: 25497
Joined: Thu Nov 11, 2010 2:19 am

Re: How to believe in rebirth

Post by Malcolm » Wed Jun 22, 2016 11:13 pm

smcj wrote:I advocate simply having enough of an open mind to say to oneself "well, maybe..." Then take it as a hypothetical and look at it intellectually to see if there are internal inconsistencies. Then, without having dismissed it and with an open mind, do your sadhana. One of the signs of progress in sadhana practice is a better understanding and more confidence of karma and rebirth.

Insisting on coming to a firm conclusion about it before you start means you never start imo.
Personally, I found that having doubt about rebirth was interfering with my practice, so I just accepted it, and I still do.
Atikosha
Tibetan Medicine Blog
Sudarsana Mandala, Tibetan Medicine and Herbs
Buddhahood in This Life
འ༔ ཨ༔ ཧ༔ ཤ༔ ས༔ མ༔


The knowledge imparted through the guru’s instructions that formerly was unknown (avidyā) is vidyā.


—Treasury of the Supreme Vehicle, Longchenpa.

User avatar
Monlam Tharchin
Posts: 1539
Joined: Thu Feb 09, 2012 7:11 am
Location: Oregon

Re: How to believe in rebirth

Post by Monlam Tharchin » Wed Jun 22, 2016 11:22 pm

For me, the book "Return to Life" by Jim Tucker helped me entertain the possibility. I personally have not yet attained the wisdom or practice capacity to follow the suggestions above.

I also practice Pure Land and have had experiences which resemble descriptions of Amitabha and things recorded by other Pure Land practitioners, so by extension the possibility of a pure land and therefore rebirth is bolstered for me that way.

But I don't yet personally feel rebirth is as clear as seeing a light or feeling the floor under my feet.
It however has proven more useful as a working hypothesis than as a tough nut to crack or a thing to mull over and proliferate worry.
How you respond practically to your faith or doubt either way is important.
One day at a time :shrug:

User avatar
Redfaery
Posts: 531
Joined: Tue Sep 30, 2014 1:14 pm
Location: Smalltown USA

Re: How to believe in rebirth

Post by Redfaery » Wed Jun 22, 2016 11:38 pm

Boomerang wrote:If somebody wants to believe in rebirth but has trouble getting to that point, what should they do? What should they read?
For me it wasn't too much of a leap at all. I was raised in a *heavily* spiritual household, and taught about heaven and hell extensively, yet I could never accept the idea. I just....couldn't get my brain around it. The idea of rebirth/reincarnation instead of an eternal heaven/hell "clicked" for me in a way that was not entirely the product of rational thought.

Honestly, if someone is having issues with the idea of rebirth, I'd tell them to keep up their practice, because they may just find their doubts softening.
NAMO SARASWATI DEVI
Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever. - GANDHI
I am a delicate feminine flower!!!!

User avatar
Boomerang
Posts: 530
Joined: Tue Dec 16, 2014 5:34 am

Re: How to believe in rebirth

Post by Boomerang » Wed Jun 22, 2016 11:40 pm

I've believed in rebirth longer than I've believed in Buddhism. Still, I feel that I could believe in rebirth more. Then I would have more samvega and bodhicitta.
"All the suffering of the lower realms, whatever difficulty and unhappiness we may experience as human beings, as well as every other possible suffering of the three realms of existence, have their origin in cherishing ourselves more than others."

User avatar
Kaccāni
Posts: 1083
Joined: Tue Mar 25, 2014 1:03 pm
Location: Germany
Contact:

Re: How to believe in rebirth

Post by Kaccāni » Thu Jun 23, 2016 12:02 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?
Nothing. They're free. Why seduce them into the soul thang, when they don't know the problem at all?

Best wishes
Kc
Shush! I'm doing nose-picking practice!

User avatar
Malcolm
Posts: 25497
Joined: Thu Nov 11, 2010 2:19 am

Re: How to believe in rebirth

Post by Malcolm » Thu Jun 23, 2016 12:17 am

Kaccāni wrote:
Boomerang wrote:If somebody wants to believe in rebirth but has trouble getting to that point, what should they do? What should they read?
Nothing. They're free. Why seduce them into the soul thang, when they don't know the problem at all?

Best wishes
Kc

Rebirth is not a soul thing. [Cue: great rebirth thread]
Atikosha
Tibetan Medicine Blog
Sudarsana Mandala, Tibetan Medicine and Herbs
Buddhahood in This Life
འ༔ ཨ༔ ཧ༔ ཤ༔ ས༔ མ༔


The knowledge imparted through the guru’s instructions that formerly was unknown (avidyā) is vidyā.


—Treasury of the Supreme Vehicle, Longchenpa.

User avatar
Kaccāni
Posts: 1083
Joined: Tue Mar 25, 2014 1:03 pm
Location: Germany
Contact:

Re: How to believe in rebirth

Post by Kaccāni » Thu Jun 23, 2016 1:15 am

Malcolm wrote: Rebirth is not a soul thing. [Cue: great rebirth thread]
That makes the second problem to explain, then, we weren't there yet.
Shush! I'm doing nose-picking practice!

User avatar
gad rgyangs
Posts: 1141
Joined: Sat Nov 05, 2011 4:53 pm

Re: How to believe in rebirth

Post by gad rgyangs » Thu Jun 23, 2016 2:51 am

a day is like a miniature life. you are born when you wake up, and die when you go to sleep. there is no way to prove that you were't created out of nothing with a set of memories this morning, and there is no guarantee that you will wake up again after you fall asleep tonight. still, its much simpler to take the situation at face value: you really did have a series of days (lives) before this one, and you will wake up to a new day (life) tomorrow. So in this way nature may be giving us an analogy suggestive of rebirth, without being conclusive proof.

it is supposed to be possible to maintain consciousness upon falling asleep, in Buddhism the practices to develop this are called dream yoga. Analogously, it should be possible to maintain continuity of consciousness upon dying, and for that there is Shitro and other practices. so again there is an analogy between the small and large scale cycle.

if you can stay conscious during sleep then this leads to lucid dreaming which allows you to have more influence over the dream experience. presumably, being conscious while in the bardo between lives would allow for a similar experience there.

so while none of this is proof of rebirth it is certainly suggestive that something like that may happen cyclically in analogy to our daily cycle. As above, so below.
Thoroughly tame your own mind.
This is (possibly) the teaching of Buddha.

"I must finally conclude that this proposition, I am, I exist, is necessarily true whenever it is put forward by me or conceived in my mind."
- Descartes, 2nd Meditation 25

User avatar
Malcolm
Posts: 25497
Joined: Thu Nov 11, 2010 2:19 am

Re: How to believe in rebirth

Post by Malcolm » Thu Jun 23, 2016 1:21 pm

Kaccāni wrote:
Malcolm wrote: Rebirth is not a soul thing. [Cue: great rebirth thread]
That makes the second problem to explain, then, we weren't there yet.
Those who are truly interested in Buddhadharma will make some effort to reconcile themselves to Buddha's teaching of rebirth.
Atikosha
Tibetan Medicine Blog
Sudarsana Mandala, Tibetan Medicine and Herbs
Buddhahood in This Life
འ༔ ཨ༔ ཧ༔ ཤ༔ ས༔ མ༔


The knowledge imparted through the guru’s instructions that formerly was unknown (avidyā) is vidyā.


—Treasury of the Supreme Vehicle, Longchenpa.

Jeff H
Posts: 651
Joined: Mon Sep 01, 2014 8:56 pm
Location: Vermont, USA

Re: How to believe in rebirth

Post by Jeff H » Thu Jun 23, 2016 1:55 pm

If a person finds belief in rebirth difficult to accept, they should ask themselves what they do believe happens when they die. Whatever they come up with is just as unprovable as rebirth. So they should ask themselves why they believe it. No doubt it was explicitly taught to them or they acquired it interpretively through personal observation. Like that they could try to get inside their own belief and explore its origin.

I’m only aware of two alternatives: eternal soul and nothing. Like Redfaery, I had trouble with the eternal soul idea. For me it meant that each discrete soul had one lifetime in which it needed to get the message of salvation and embrace it for eternal bliss, or fail and reap eternal damnation. Personally I find the materialist argument more reasonable: that consciousness is a product of physical processes in the brain so that when you die all consciousness is obliterated.

But neither of those answers seem useful to me. And since it’s impossible to prove what happens after death, I was immediately encouraged when I learned about rebirth in the Buddhist sense. It explains everything I’ve experienced quite well and it gives direction to the actions of my present life. Years ago I used to read Carlos Castaneda’s Don Juan books. Don Juan spoke of “death as an advisor”. I found my death-advisor in Buddhism.
:woohoo:
We who are like children shrink from pain but love its causes. - Shantideva

User avatar
Malcolm
Posts: 25497
Joined: Thu Nov 11, 2010 2:19 am

Re: How to believe in rebirth

Post by Malcolm » Thu Jun 23, 2016 2:03 pm

Jeff H wrote:
I’m only aware of two alternatives: eternal soul and nothing.
The third alternative is dependent origination. This is the Buddha's alternative.
Atikosha
Tibetan Medicine Blog
Sudarsana Mandala, Tibetan Medicine and Herbs
Buddhahood in This Life
འ༔ ཨ༔ ཧ༔ ཤ༔ ས༔ མ༔


The knowledge imparted through the guru’s instructions that formerly was unknown (avidyā) is vidyā.


—Treasury of the Supreme Vehicle, Longchenpa.

Jeff H
Posts: 651
Joined: Mon Sep 01, 2014 8:56 pm
Location: Vermont, USA

Re: How to believe in rebirth

Post by Jeff H » Thu Jun 23, 2016 2:08 pm

Malcolm wrote:
Jeff H wrote:
I’m only aware of two alternatives: eternal soul and nothing.
The third alternative is dependent origination. This is the Buddha's alternative.
Yes. I meant alternatives to rebirth in the Buddhist sense -- so I'm only aware of three alternatives.
We who are like children shrink from pain but love its causes. - Shantideva

User avatar
Kaccāni
Posts: 1083
Joined: Tue Mar 25, 2014 1:03 pm
Location: Germany
Contact:

Re: How to believe in rebirth

Post by Kaccāni » Thu Jun 23, 2016 2:54 pm

Malcolm wrote:Those who are truly interested in Buddhadharma will make some effort to reconcile themselves to Buddha's teaching of rebirth.
And at least as much to transcend them.
Shush! I'm doing nose-picking practice!

User avatar
Malcolm
Posts: 25497
Joined: Thu Nov 11, 2010 2:19 am

Re: How to believe in rebirth

Post by Malcolm » Thu Jun 23, 2016 2:57 pm

Kaccāni wrote:
Malcolm wrote:Those who are truly interested in Buddhadharma will make some effort to reconcile themselves to Buddha's teaching of rebirth.
And at least as much to transcend them.
Let's not put the cart before the horse, shall we?
Atikosha
Tibetan Medicine Blog
Sudarsana Mandala, Tibetan Medicine and Herbs
Buddhahood in This Life
འ༔ ཨ༔ ཧ༔ ཤ༔ ས༔ མ༔


The knowledge imparted through the guru’s instructions that formerly was unknown (avidyā) is vidyā.


—Treasury of the Supreme Vehicle, Longchenpa.

User avatar
Kaccāni
Posts: 1083
Joined: Tue Mar 25, 2014 1:03 pm
Location: Germany
Contact:

Re: How to believe in rebirth

Post by Kaccāni » Thu Jun 23, 2016 3:15 pm

Malcolm wrote: Let's not put the cart before the horse, shall we?
Whether you want to ride the horse or sit in the cabin, your call :)
Shush! I'm doing nose-picking practice!

Post Reply

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 36 guests