How to believe in rebirth

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Astus
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Re: How to believe in rebirth

Post by Astus » Mon Jul 04, 2016 12:31 pm

davidbrainerd wrote:Its not as simple as that. There are clearly two minds. In Pali you have nama and citta and it seems to me nama is physical and citta is non-physical. Bodhidharma says (Red Pine's translation, page 21) "But this mind is subtle and hard to see. It's not the same as the sensual mind."

If there is a material/sensual mind and an immaterial/subtle mind, which of the two is reborn? Its obvious. And which is part of the aggregates? The other one. So one mind is not part of the agggregates of which it is said "these are non-self."
There are the aggregates with grasping - that is the sensual mind. And there are the aggregates without grasping - that is the subtle mind. It's not about two minds existing at the same time, it'd be neither sensible nor practical to posit a second head. Rather, one has to see the nature of this present mind, and recognise that it is originally pure.
1 Myriad dharmas are only mind.
Mind is unobtainable.
What is there to seek?

2 If the Buddha-Nature is seen,
there will be no seeing of a nature in any thing.

3 Neither cultivation nor seated meditation —
this is the pure Chan of Tathagata.

4 With sudden enlightenment to Tathagata Chan,
the six paramitas and myriad means
are complete within that essence.


1 Huangbo, T2012Ap381c1 2 Nirvana Sutra, T374p521b3; tr. Yamamoto 3 Mazu, X1321p3b23; tr. J. Jia 4 Yongjia, T2014p395c14; tr. from "The Sword of Wisdom"

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Malcolm
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Re: How to believe in rebirth

Post by Malcolm » Mon Jul 04, 2016 1:49 pm

davidbrainerd wrote:
Malcolm wrote:
davidbrainerd wrote:the immaterial mind (which you could just as well call 'soul') is the self.
The mind is one of the aggregates. So when you say "the aggregates are not the self," you are directly contradicting yourself.

Its not as simple as that. There are clearly two minds. In Pali you have nama and citta
Nama, citta, vijñāna and manas are all synonyms for the same thing, one's mind.
Buddhahood in This Life
འ༔ ཨ༔ ཧ༔ ཤ༔ ས༔ མ༔


[A]nything at all that is well spoken is the word of the Buddha.

-- Ārya-adhyāśaya-sañcodana-nāma-mahāyāna-sūtra

The different sūtras in accord with the emptiness
taught by the Sugata are definitive in meaning;
One can understand that all of those Dharmas in
which a sentient being, individual, or person are taught are provisional in meaning.

-- Samadhirāja Sūtra

undefineable
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Re: How to believe in rebirth

Post by undefineable » Mon Jul 04, 2016 6:09 pm

Wayfarer wrote:queue Sāti, the Fisherman's Son:
This sutta concerns a monk — Sāti, the Fisherman's Son — who refuses to heed the Buddha's care in treating all the elements of the process of wandering on from birth to birth as processes. Sāti states that, in his understanding of the Buddha's teachings, consciousness is the "what" that does the wandering on. His fellow monks and then the Buddha treat him and his erroneous view in a way that parallels the way they treat Ariṭṭha Formerly-of-the-Vulture-Killers in MN 22. First the narrator notes that the view is not merely wrong, but actually evil and pernicious: To adopt it would be to place an obstacle in one's path. The monks try, unsuccessfully, to dissuade Sāti from his view, after which they report the case to the Buddha. The Buddha calls Sāti into his presence, and after ascertaining that Sāti will not abandon his view even when reprimanded by the Buddha himself, he abandons Sāti as too recalcitrant to teach, and turns to cross-question the monks as to the relevant right view of how consciousness functions in the process leading to repeated birth.
Having read the link in full, the question becomes: 'In what way to believe in rebirth?'

Since there's a very strong implication (in the sutra excerpt) that believing in the rebirth of conscious awareness amounts to a direct cause for rebirth in hell (or at least in the lower realms), and given that many western "Buddhists" (including myself) find it hard to understand what the Buddha meant when he asserted rebirth but denied even the rebirth of consciousness ('soft re-incarnation' if you like), it seems it would be helpful to offer some pointers, even if it's just 'start again from scratch with a teacher' (or just 'forget everything Buddhism-related and leave it alone for the rest of your days in order to avoid the fifth Ānantarika-karma and avoid lengthening/deepening-to-avici-level your stay in hell!!" for those who can't do that).

Is it enough to acknowledge that one's understanding will always be wanting? If so, is it severe negative karma to discuss the impressions of the world that one's limited impressions (potentially incompatible with dharma) of various teachings lead one to, even if one clarifies that those impressions are non-Buddhist?

It seems that Buddhist teachers deny something over and above the rebirth of an 'underlying entity' called consciousness (and defined as the mental impression of an external or internal object in relation to a subject), yet stop short of denying rebirth altogether. In this case, given that there are supposedly about 300 million Buddhists in the world, what does one call the ~299 million Buddhists who don't follow a teacher in person, whether they're western 'eternalists'/"nihilists/Batchelorites" (besides western self-described Buddhists of any other stripe) or just 'Folk Buddhists' who presumeably believe in reincarnation but more in the professionals (i.e. monks) to whom they leave the subtle stuff (a bit like medieval catholics)?? Given the sensitivity of the topic, I would welcome PMs

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Malcolm
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Re: How to believe in rebirth

Post by Malcolm » Mon Jul 04, 2016 6:48 pm

undefineable wrote: Having read the link in full, the question becomes: 'In what way to believe in rebirth?'
Quite simply, nothing substantial, no entity of any sort, will pass from this world to the next; and nevertheless, there is a connection between this world and the next, like the impression of a seal in clay, and so on.
Buddhahood in This Life
འ༔ ཨ༔ ཧ༔ ཤ༔ ས༔ མ༔


[A]nything at all that is well spoken is the word of the Buddha.

-- Ārya-adhyāśaya-sañcodana-nāma-mahāyāna-sūtra

The different sūtras in accord with the emptiness
taught by the Sugata are definitive in meaning;
One can understand that all of those Dharmas in
which a sentient being, individual, or person are taught are provisional in meaning.

-- Samadhirāja Sūtra

davidbrainerd
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Re: How to believe in rebirth

Post by davidbrainerd » Mon Jul 04, 2016 7:07 pm

Malcolm wrote:
davidbrainerd wrote:
Malcolm wrote:
The mind is one of the aggregates. So when you say "the aggregates are not the self," you are directly contradicting yourself.

Its not as simple as that. There are clearly two minds. In Pali you have nama and citta
Nama, citta, vijñāna and manas are all synonyms for the same thing, one's mind.
I remeber reading in some sutta that when citta combines with nama then vijñāna arises, but I don't remember where. But if vijñāna arises from citta and nama mixing then it shows they are not just synonyms.

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Re: How to believe in rebirth

Post by undefineable » Mon Jul 04, 2016 7:23 pm

The difficulty of course is how the word of choice, 'entity' in this case', is defined - in a narrow sense or in the broadest possible. Less unpromisingly perhaps, the excerpt directly raises the question of how consciousness succeeds contact and sensation rather than preceding them - dependant on the definition of 'consciousness' being used. It seems understandable for some of those drawn to the mahayana to 'skip over' these difficult but (presumably) basic teachings; maybe a minimal experience of meditation hints that they only make full sense with further such experience _

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Malcolm
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Re: How to believe in rebirth

Post by Malcolm » Mon Jul 04, 2016 7:35 pm

undefineable wrote:The difficulty of course is how the word of choice, 'entity' in this case', is defined - in a narrow sense or in the broadest possible. Less unpromisingly perhaps, the excerpt directly raises the question of how consciousness succeeds contact and sensation rather than preceding them - dependant on the definition of 'consciousness' being used. It seems understandable for some of those drawn to the mahayana to 'skip over' these difficult but (presumably) basic teachings; maybe a minimal experience of meditation hints that they only make full sense with further such experience _
A mind is an entity. No entity of mind of passes from this life to the next, yet the mindstream courses from this world to the next. It is not really that hard a concept to grok if one has internalized the principles of dependent origination and essencelessness.
Buddhahood in This Life
འ༔ ཨ༔ ཧ༔ ཤ༔ ས༔ མ༔


[A]nything at all that is well spoken is the word of the Buddha.

-- Ārya-adhyāśaya-sañcodana-nāma-mahāyāna-sūtra

The different sūtras in accord with the emptiness
taught by the Sugata are definitive in meaning;
One can understand that all of those Dharmas in
which a sentient being, individual, or person are taught are provisional in meaning.

-- Samadhirāja Sūtra

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Astus
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Re: How to believe in rebirth

Post by Astus » Mon Jul 04, 2016 9:06 pm

undefineable wrote:It seems that Buddhist teachers deny something over and above the rebirth of an 'underlying entity' called consciousness (and defined as the mental impression of an external or internal object in relation to a subject), yet stop short of denying rebirth altogether.
Beings have both bodies and minds. With rebirth the mind takes a new body. It is this simple. When the body and the mind are analysed, one can find that there is nothing substantial anywhere, and when that is realised, there is no more identification, then there is no more rebirth. But as long as there is identification, there is rebirth, and there is a mind to attain a body again and again.
1 Myriad dharmas are only mind.
Mind is unobtainable.
What is there to seek?

2 If the Buddha-Nature is seen,
there will be no seeing of a nature in any thing.

3 Neither cultivation nor seated meditation —
this is the pure Chan of Tathagata.

4 With sudden enlightenment to Tathagata Chan,
the six paramitas and myriad means
are complete within that essence.


1 Huangbo, T2012Ap381c1 2 Nirvana Sutra, T374p521b3; tr. Yamamoto 3 Mazu, X1321p3b23; tr. J. Jia 4 Yongjia, T2014p395c14; tr. from "The Sword of Wisdom"

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Re: How to believe in rebirth

Post by smcj » Mon Jul 04, 2016 10:42 pm

There can be continuity without consistency. The previous Kalu R put it this way; suppose a mouse reincarnated as an elephant and then the time after that as an eagle. Which "identity" is the true identity? Can you say the elephant is really the mouse? Or that the eagle is really the elephant? (End Kalu example.)

(Start my bs.) If the consciousness had a "soul" it would not change between incarnations. But since the continuity has complete freedom to express itself however it's karma dictates, it can be said to not have anything immutable about it.

I personally conclude that "no-self"=fundamental freedom (to be expressed as anything whatsoever.)
I support Mingyur R and HHDL in their positions against Lama abuse.

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Re: How to believe in rebirth

Post by undefineable » Mon Jul 04, 2016 10:44 pm

The picture I get is that mind, as a particular kind of continually-unfolding phenomenon, 'crystallises' into a pattern (into a brain in one sense) that limits its infinite potential to a more manageable range of responses. This pattern is also whittled away, the balance tipping (with age) towards decay; death then 'melts' the habitual pattern, which then gravitates (under the sway of ignorance??) towards rebirth and a reprise of the cycle. I'm not sure how/why/in what sense the realisation of essencelessness/insubstantiality 'persuades' mind to free itself _ _

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Re: How to believe in rebirth

Post by undefineable » Mon Jul 04, 2016 10:53 pm

smcj wrote:There can be continuity without consistency. The previous Kalu R put it this way; suppose a mouse reincarnated as an elephant and then the time after that as an eagle. Which "identity" is the true identity? Can you say the elephant is really the mouse? Or that the eagle is really the elephant? (End Kalu example.)

(Start my bs.) If the consciousness had a "soul" it would not change between incarnations. But since the continuity has complete freedom to express itself however it's karma dictates, it can be said to not have anything immutable about it.

I personally conclude that "no-self"=fundamental freedom (to be expressed as anything whatsoever.)
You seem to be saying much the same as me, but it all sounds a bit dangerous in that you could end up with a big head thinking you're anything and everything, which doesn't sound very Buddhist _

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Re: How to believe in rebirth

Post by smcj » Mon Jul 04, 2016 11:06 pm

You seem to be saying much the same as me, but it all sounds a bit dangerous in that you could end up with a big head thinking you're anything and everything, which doesn't sound very Buddhist _
Saying that you can reincarnate as anything and anywhere in samsara doesn't sound buddhist to you?
:shrug:
I support Mingyur R and HHDL in their positions against Lama abuse.

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Re: How to believe in rebirth

Post by smcj » Mon Jul 04, 2016 11:16 pm

(Still can't edit.)

Oh you must mean the part about the freedom to spontaneously express Buddha qualities and activity. That's from the last chapter of the Uttaratantra.
I support Mingyur R and HHDL in their positions against Lama abuse.

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Re: How to believe in rebirth

Post by Wayfarer » Mon Jul 04, 2016 11:46 pm

davidbrainerd wrote:I remember reading in some sutta that when citta combines with nama then vijñāna arises, but I don't remember where. But if vijñāna arises from citta and nama mixing then it shows they are not just synonyms.
I think I understand your difficulty. Later Buddhist teachers do sometimes talk in terms of a 'true self' and 'original mind' and so on, but the meaning is, strictly speaking, allegorical; it's not as if there really is a 'true self', but there is an aspect of wisdom which realises emptiness, that can be allegorically spoken of as a 'true self'. But such terminology is strictly speaking not native to the Buddhist lexicon so has to be interpreted carefully.

The problem lies in 're-ifying'. To re-ify is to 'make a thing or an object'. If you view mind or self as object, it's a reification. It's very easy to do, because the nature of dualistic thinking is such that it always assumes an object, a 'that', something which bears properties or predicates. So when you say, 'there is "real mind"', as distinct from the sensory intelligence' that is reification or objectifying.
Venerable Sariputta wrote:"The statement, 'With the remainderless stopping & fading of the six contact-media is it the case that there is anything else?' objectifies non-objectification. The statement, '... is it the case that there is not anything else ... is it the case that there both is & is not anything else ... is it the case that there neither is nor is not anything else?' objectifies non-objectification. However far the six contact-media go, that is how far objectification goes. However far objectification goes, that is how far the six contact media go. With the remainderless fading & stopping of the six contact-media, there comes to be the stopping, the allaying of objectification.
Kotthita Sutta

The 'allaying of objectification' is jhana/dhyana.

Underneath reification is 'concern for the self'. The origin of wrong views of the self is always self-concern, 'what will become of me, what will I be?' The various forms of eternalism posit a self that will continue to be, and so are generated by the desire for continued existence. The various forms of nihilism are the desire not to be, so as to evade the consequences of actions. But they're all based on concern for self - which is at the root of the problem in the first place!

:namaste:
Only practice with no gaining idea ~ Suzuki Roshi

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Re: How to believe in rebirth

Post by undefineable » Tue Jul 05, 2016 12:51 am

smcj wrote:Saying that you can reincarnate as anything and anywhere in samsara doesn't sound buddhist to you?
:shrug:
Well it could lead to apparent linguistic absurdities which are unlikely to be familiar to [m]any Buddhists, such as "if I had the personality and life-experience of person x then I would act like person x" :shrug: :thinking:

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Re: How to believe in rebirth

Post by undefineable » Tue Jul 05, 2016 12:53 am

smcj wrote:(Still can't edit.)

Oh you must mean the part about the freedom to spontaneously express Buddha qualities and activity. That's from the last chapter of the Uttaratantra.
I beg your pardon _ :rolleye:

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Re: How to believe in rebirth

Post by smcj » Tue Jul 05, 2016 1:04 am

undefineable wrote:
smcj wrote:Saying that you can reincarnate as anything and anywhere in samsara doesn't sound buddhist to you?
:shrug:
Well it could lead to apparent linguistic absurdities which are unlikely to be familiar to [m]any Buddhists, such as "if I had the personality and life-experience of person x then I would act like person x" :shrug: :thinking:
No, your life experiences, dramas, etc. you leave behind. Your actions bear fruit and become new life experiences.

Habits, however, can carry over as they are facets of karma. You can be a "karma carrier, for good, for ill, and for combinations of both. That's most of us.

So people can be born with evil inclinations, etc.
I support Mingyur R and HHDL in their positions against Lama abuse.

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Re: How to believe in rebirth

Post by davidbrainerd » Tue Jul 05, 2016 9:03 pm

Wayfarer wrote:The problem lies in 're-ifying'. To re-ify is to 'make a thing or an object'. If you view mind or self as object, it's a reification. It's very easy to do, because the nature of dualistic thinking is such that it always assumes an object, a 'that', something which bears properties or predicates. So when you say, 'there is "real mind"', as distinct from the sensory intelligence' that is reification or objectifying.

I think reification could just as well be viewed the other way. I.e. to view something immaterial as physicsl is making it a 'thing'. Or in other words to say that the real mind is the physical mind is the reification.

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Re: How to believe in rebirth

Post by tomschwarz » Fri Jul 08, 2016 10:39 am

hello dear friends,

what if a foundational truth of reincarnation was simply what you see in the world of organic biology? ATP to ADP to heat to life? Sexual and asexual reproduction, decay, birth? Isn't that the basis or context of reincarnation?

Then the world of the mind/mind stream/karma/ground luminosity, etc... are simply more and more subtle and (hopefully) less conflicted and ultimately less conscious þeality of the same continuum with organic biology?
i dedicate this post to your happiness, the causes of your happiness, the absence of your suffering the causes of the absence of your suffering that we may not have too much attachment nor aversion. SAMAYAMANUPALAYA

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Re: How to believe in rebirth

Post by davidbrainerd » Fri Jul 08, 2016 8:08 pm

tomschwarz wrote:hello dear friends,

what if a foundational truth of reincarnation was simply what you see in the world of organic biology? ATP to ADP to heat to life? Sexual and asexual reproduction, decay, birth? Isn't that the basis or context of reincarnation?

Then the world of the mind/mind stream/karma/ground luminosity, etc... are simply more and more subtle and (hopefully) less conflicted and ultimately less conscious þeality of the same continuum with organic biology?
The problem with all these modern attempts at explaining reincarnation/rebirth away as just the continuance of your atoms is that nirvana is removed from the system. Now you have to say nirvana is merely a frame of mind, and ceases with the mat mind when death occurs. Wheras Buddha is clear that after death one goes to the deathless supreme security of nirvana. Personally I don' t see a problem with people making up their own materialistic versions of rebirth so long as they're 100% crystal clear that this is NOT what Buddha taught. I get tired of people trying to turn Buddha into Richard Dawkins.

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