Rebirth and karma

General discussion, particularly exploring the Dharma in the modern world.
[N.B. This is the forum that was called ‘Exploring Buddhism’. The new name simply describes it better.]
User avatar
rachmiel
Posts: 1228
Joined: Wed Jan 16, 2013 1:05 am

Re: Rebirth and karma

Postby rachmiel » Fri Dec 23, 2016 10:47 pm

Hey it all reduces to ________________ in'nt?
“Here is the world. Beautiful and terrible things will happen. Don’t be afraid.” Frederick Buechner

User avatar
rachmiel
Posts: 1228
Joined: Wed Jan 16, 2013 1:05 am

Re: Rebirth and karma

Postby rachmiel » Fri Dec 23, 2016 11:22 pm

Johnny Dangerous wrote:Building your own raft is a little questionable, particularly if you accept that enlightened folks (the Buddha) already taught valid ones.

I feel like I'm collaborating with many different teachers and traditions, like we're building a raft together. :cheers:
“Here is the world. Beautiful and terrible things will happen. Don’t be afraid.” Frederick Buechner

User avatar
Johnny Dangerous
Global Moderator
Posts: 6634
Joined: Fri Nov 02, 2012 10:58 pm
Location: Olympia WA
Contact:

Re: Rebirth and karma

Postby Johnny Dangerous » Fri Dec 23, 2016 11:32 pm

rachmiel wrote:
Johnny Dangerous wrote:Building your own raft is a little questionable, particularly if you accept that enlightened folks (the Buddha) already taught valid ones.

I feel like I'm collaborating with many different teachers and traditions, like we're building a raft together. :cheers:


You're trying to collaborate with someone like The Buddha, as if he is just a peer? That'd be like me trying to "collaborate" in the kitchen with a five star chef, not possible.

rachmiel wrote:Hey it all reduces to ________________ in'nt?

Cool looking platitude, but it is that.
May the eyes of living beings be gladdened by skies made splendid by clouds
that lightnings garland, while on earth below, the peacocks dance with joy as
showers of rain, falling gently, approach.

-The Door Of Happiness

User avatar
rachmiel
Posts: 1228
Joined: Wed Jan 16, 2013 1:05 am

Re: Rebirth and karma

Postby rachmiel » Fri Dec 23, 2016 11:51 pm

I once had a therapist who, after coupla years of intense work, said I cured her of thinking she could ever "cure" anyone.
“Here is the world. Beautiful and terrible things will happen. Don’t be afraid.” Frederick Buechner

User avatar
Johnny Dangerous
Global Moderator
Posts: 6634
Joined: Fri Nov 02, 2012 10:58 pm
Location: Olympia WA
Contact:

Re: Rebirth and karma

Postby Johnny Dangerous » Fri Dec 23, 2016 11:52 pm

rachmiel wrote:I once had a therapist who, after coupla years of intense work, said I cured her of thinking she could ever "cure" anyone.



:twothumbsup:
May the eyes of living beings be gladdened by skies made splendid by clouds
that lightnings garland, while on earth below, the peacocks dance with joy as
showers of rain, falling gently, approach.

-The Door Of Happiness

User avatar
dzogchungpa
Posts: 4725
Joined: Sat May 28, 2011 10:50 pm

Re: Rebirth and karma

Postby dzogchungpa » Sat Dec 24, 2016 12:29 am

rachmiel wrote:I once had a therapist who, after coupla years of intense work, said I cured her of thinking she could ever "cure" anyone.

You must have been her therapist in a past life. Karma is funny like that. :smile:
The whole purpose of Buddhism is to have fun, isn't it? - Dzongsar Jamyang Khyentse Rinpoche

The secret of having fun is nongrasping. - Anam Thubten

User avatar
Mkoll
Posts: 1041
Joined: Mon May 26, 2014 5:53 am
Location: California

Re: Rebirth and karma

Postby Mkoll » Sat Dec 24, 2016 6:46 am

Johnny Dangerous wrote:Building your own raft is a little questionable, particularly if you accept that enlightened folks (the Buddha) already taught valid ones. Unless you think you are enlightened yourself enough to form a new yana, I don't see how that's a very good idea.

If you acknowledge that you are not, it seems like the best is to actually pick a mode of practice that works, throw yourself into it, study as best you can, stop dwelling on your skepticism, and assume that the teachings you are following are actually worth listening to.

:good:

Before finding a Buddhist tradition and sticking with it, spiritual search and practice often felt like fumbling in the dark, with no real sense of what I was doing or where I was heading. Picking and choosing what I liked from Eastern spiritual traditions, mystical writers, and the like never really ended. I would pick up new things and forget old things according to what I found the most epiphanic at the time. It was a relief to finally settle down.
Namo tassa bhagavato arahato samma sambuddhassa
Namo tassa bhagavato arahato samma sambuddhassa
Namo tassa bhagavato arahato samma sambuddhassa

User avatar
rachmiel
Posts: 1228
Joined: Wed Jan 16, 2013 1:05 am

Re: Rebirth and karma

Postby rachmiel » Mon Dec 26, 2016 4:39 pm

Mkoll wrote:
rachmiel wrote:Yes, I think that it (dependent arising) continues (after death).

But you have trouble with rebirth? Why? How else could the process of dependent arising continue?

Took me a while, had to think a bunch about this ... and did some reading, though not too much (because I don't like to condition my mind with "authoritative" texts, I'd rather it stay naïve and open). Here goes!

My trouble with the Buddhist take on rebirth (as far as I understand it) boils down to my seeing-feeling that a particular mental energy -- a person's consciousness, awareness, mindstream, etc. -- is dependent on a particular physical host = that person's body-brain, and when that host dies, the mental energy dies along with it. So the notion of a mindstream surviving host death and linking up with a new sperm/egg at conception ... doesn't resonate with me. (I am not claiming to KNOW.)

As I see it: When the Mkoll body-brain dies, the Mkoll consciousness does also. Which is not to say that the mentation that has gone on in the Mkoll organism over its lifetime doesn't affect the world beyond Mkoll's death. It does! Since effects give way to causes to effects in an endless chain (dependent arising), Mkoll's mentation can be framed as "surviving" death. But the process by which this (soft) survival occurs is exceedingly complex and subtle ... an infinite labyrinthine web of inter-causality over a lifetime. (Indra's net!) To reduce this complexity to a simple "Mkoll's mindstream, at death, sits around for a period of time and is then transferred to a new host" just doesn't feel right to me. (Again: my feeling, not assertion.)
“Here is the world. Beautiful and terrible things will happen. Don’t be afraid.” Frederick Buechner

User avatar
Johnny Dangerous
Global Moderator
Posts: 6634
Joined: Fri Nov 02, 2012 10:58 pm
Location: Olympia WA
Contact:

Re: Rebirth and karma

Postby Johnny Dangerous » Mon Dec 26, 2016 5:34 pm

rachmiel wrote:My trouble with the Buddhist take on rebirth (as far as I understand it) boils down to my seeing-feeling that a particular mental energy -- a person's consciousness, awareness, mindstream, etc. -- is dependent on a particular physical host = that person's body-brain, and when that host dies, the mental energy dies along with it. So the notion of a mindstream surviving host death and linking up with a new sperm/egg at conception ... doesn't resonate with me. (I am not claiming to KNOW.)


You are lacking the basic understanding of the mechanism of Buddhist rebirth, and (like I said), you also seem to think that a mindstream is static, and attached to a particular name or body. Additionally, your assumption is that physicality creates consciousness.
May the eyes of living beings be gladdened by skies made splendid by clouds
that lightnings garland, while on earth below, the peacocks dance with joy as
showers of rain, falling gently, approach.

-The Door Of Happiness

User avatar
rachmiel
Posts: 1228
Joined: Wed Jan 16, 2013 1:05 am

Re: Rebirth and karma

Postby rachmiel » Mon Dec 26, 2016 5:44 pm

Johnny Dangerous wrote:you also seem to think that a mindstream is static, and attached to a particular name or body.

Static, no, hence "stream." Dependent on a particular body-brain, yes.
Additionally, your assumption is that physicality creates consciousness.

More like physicality enables a particular consciousness. And physical death disables this particular consciousness.
“Here is the world. Beautiful and terrible things will happen. Don’t be afraid.” Frederick Buechner

User avatar
Johnny Dangerous
Global Moderator
Posts: 6634
Joined: Fri Nov 02, 2012 10:58 pm
Location: Olympia WA
Contact:

Re: Rebirth and karma

Postby Johnny Dangerous » Mon Dec 26, 2016 5:48 pm

rachmiel wrote:
Johnny Dangerous wrote:you also seem to think that a mindstream is static, and attached to a particular name or body.

Static, no, hence "stream." Dependent on a particular body-brain, yes.
Additionally, your assumption is that physicality creates consciousness.

More like physicality enables a particular consciousness. And physical death disables this particular consciousness.


Again, do some reading.

So a physical body produces something (a mindstream/mental continuum) out of nothing? Then when the body dies this thing goes "poof"
Came from nowhere, goes nowhere? How does that work?

You say "enables", but enables implies that a continuum was already dormant and simply needed the right conditions to continue in a new form, which actually IS part of the Buddhist concept of rebirth, which you will know once you do some cursory reading.
May the eyes of living beings be gladdened by skies made splendid by clouds
that lightnings garland, while on earth below, the peacocks dance with joy as
showers of rain, falling gently, approach.

-The Door Of Happiness

User avatar
Queequeg
Global Moderator
Posts: 2976
Joined: Tue Jul 03, 2012 3:24 pm

Re: Rebirth and karma

Postby Queequeg » Mon Dec 26, 2016 6:13 pm

:zzz: wake me when the guy finally follows the directions and gets off this corner.
“Once you have given up the ghost, everything follows with dead certainty, even in the midst of chaos.”
-Henry Miller

amanitamusc
Posts: 492
Joined: Mon Nov 08, 2010 3:32 am

Re: Rebirth and karma

Postby amanitamusc » Mon Dec 26, 2016 6:37 pm

Additionally, your assumption is that physicality creates consciousness.

More like physicality enables a particular consciousness. And physical death disables this particular consciousness.[/quote]

That would be nihilism.One of the extremes.

User avatar
rachmiel
Posts: 1228
Joined: Wed Jan 16, 2013 1:05 am

Re: Rebirth and karma

Postby rachmiel » Mon Dec 26, 2016 9:57 pm

Johnny Dangerous wrote:So a physical body produces something (a mindstream/mental continuum) out of nothing? Then when the body dies this thing goes "poof" Came from nowhere, goes nowhere? How does that work?

Yes, imo mentation is an artifact of body-brain activity. No activity, no mentation ... perhaps it's like a dust devil, even when the wind stops, the devil keeps spinning for a short while on its own momentum before ultimately petering out.
You say "enables", but enables implies that a continuum was already dormant and simply needed the right conditions to continue in a new form, which actually IS part of the Buddhist concept of rebirth, which you will know once you do some cursory reading.

That's not quite what I meant by enable. More like a collaboration, a dance between a particular body-brain and ... something else, perhaps something like a universal consciousness thingie?

Two things:

1. My response above (that got this little flurry of activity going today) was specifically to a question Mkoll asked me a while back and I said I'd eventually respond to. My intention was to continue the conversation with Mkoll, not stir things back up here.

2. Perhaps this thread no longer belongs in Dharma in Everyday Life, but someplace more general and casual/conversational? If so, please move it to a better home.
“Here is the world. Beautiful and terrible things will happen. Don’t be afraid.” Frederick Buechner

Bakmoon
Posts: 700
Joined: Wed Sep 17, 2014 12:31 am

Re: Rebirth and karma

Postby Bakmoon » Mon Dec 26, 2016 11:00 pm

rachmiel wrote:
Johnny Dangerous wrote:So a physical body produces something (a mindstream/mental continuum) out of nothing? Then when the body dies this thing goes "poof" Came from nowhere, goes nowhere? How does that work?

Yes, imo mentation is an artifact of body-brain activity. No activity, no mentation ... perhaps it's like a dust devil, even when the wind stops, the devil keeps spinning for a short while on its own momentum before ultimately petering out.

How can something that is immaterial and without location arise from a cause that is entirely material in nature? They aren't just two different things, but two fundamentally different kinds of phenomena all together.

User avatar
Mkoll
Posts: 1041
Joined: Mon May 26, 2014 5:53 am
Location: California

Re: Rebirth and karma

Postby Mkoll » Mon Dec 26, 2016 11:33 pm

rachmiel wrote:
Mkoll wrote:
rachmiel wrote:Yes, I think that it (dependent arising) continues (after death).

But you have trouble with rebirth? Why? How else could the process of dependent arising continue?

Took me a while, had to think a bunch about this ... and did some reading, though not too much (because I don't like to condition my mind with "authoritative" texts, I'd rather it stay naïve and open). Here goes!

My trouble with the Buddhist take on rebirth (as far as I understand it) boils down to my seeing-feeling that a particular mental energy -- a person's consciousness, awareness, mindstream, etc. -- is dependent on a particular physical host = that person's body-brain, and when that host dies, the mental energy dies along with it. So the notion of a mindstream surviving host death and linking up with a new sperm/egg at conception ... doesn't resonate with me. (I am not claiming to KNOW.)

As I see it: When the Mkoll body-brain dies, the Mkoll consciousness does also. Which is not to say that the mentation that has gone on in the Mkoll organism over its lifetime doesn't affect the world beyond Mkoll's death. It does! Since effects give way to causes to effects in an endless chain (dependent arising), Mkoll's mentation can be framed as "surviving" death. But the process by which this (soft) survival occurs is exceedingly complex and subtle ... an infinite labyrinthine web of inter-causality over a lifetime. (Indra's net!) To reduce this complexity to a simple "Mkoll's mindstream, at death, sits around for a period of time and is then transferred to a new host" just doesn't feel right to me. (Again: my feeling, not assertion.)

From your description, I can see why having that perspective of how rebirth works can lead to being skeptical about it. I can't think of a good counter-argument on those terms, though one point I will make is that dependent origination is a process applying to one's being, not the world at large. So I'll just quote a sutta that reflects my understanding and maybe you'll see why I'm not skeptical about it.

AN 3.76 wrote:Then Ven. Ananda went to the Blessed One and, on arrival, bowed down to him and sat to one side. As he was sitting there he said to the Blessed One, "Lord, this word, 'becoming, becoming' — to what extent is there becoming?"

"Ananda, if there were no kamma ripening in the sensuality-property, would sensuality-becoming be discerned?"

"No, lord."

"Thus kamma is the field, consciousness the seed, and craving the moisture. The consciousness of living beings hindered by ignorance & fettered by craving is established in/tuned to a lower property. Thus there is the production of renewed becoming in the future.

"If there were no kamma ripening in the form-property, would form-becoming be discerned?"

"No, lord."

"Thus kamma is the field, consciousness the seed, and craving the moisture. The consciousness of living beings hindered by ignorance & fettered by craving is established in/tuned to a middling property. Thus there is the production of renewed becoming in the future.

"If there were no kamma ripening in the formless-property, would formless-becoming be discerned?"

"No, lord."

"Thus kamma is the field, consciousness the seed, and craving the moisture. The consciousness of living beings hindered by ignorance & fettered by craving is established in/tuned to a refined property. Thus there is the production of renewed becoming in the future. This is how there is becoming.

You're skeptical about rebirth, but still seem open to the possibility. Moreover, you do not vehemently deny rebirth or claim the Buddha did not teach it, as other skeptics are wont to do. This is good. So I'd say just keep practicing and learning and maybe your views will change. Maybe they won't. Either way, I wish you well on the path.
Namo tassa bhagavato arahato samma sambuddhassa
Namo tassa bhagavato arahato samma sambuddhassa
Namo tassa bhagavato arahato samma sambuddhassa

User avatar
Johnny Dangerous
Global Moderator
Posts: 6634
Joined: Fri Nov 02, 2012 10:58 pm
Location: Olympia WA
Contact:

Re: Rebirth and karma

Postby Johnny Dangerous » Mon Dec 26, 2016 11:54 pm

rachmiel wrote:Yes, imo mentation is an artifact of body-brain activity. No activity, no mentation ... perhaps it's like a dust devil, even when the wind stops, the devil keeps spinning for a short while on its own momentum before ultimately petering out.


You are still saying that mindstreams are literally created from nothing, and return to nothing. There is nothing that acts that way even in the simplest modern understanding of physics, why would consciousness be different in that regard? "Dust devil" is a concept, while the concept might subjectively seem to cease, nothing is actually created or destroyed in the scenario your propose, other than a concept.
That's not quite what I meant by enable. More like a collaboration, a dance between a particular body-brain and ... something else, perhaps something like a universal consciousness thingie?


Unrelated to Buddhism..Again, please do some reading.


2. Perhaps this thread no longer belongs in Dharma in Everyday Life, but someplace more general and casual/conversational? If so, please move it to a better home.



Actually, I'm going to go ahead and close the thread as it's getting quite circular now, and these particular questions have been answered and played with on the forum countless times. In addition, some of your claims are addressed by reading up, maybe even with some of the sources given in the thread.

If someone has anything else to say, or thinks they have a pertinent point to make, feel free to PM me, but I feel the thread has now run it's course.
May the eyes of living beings be gladdened by skies made splendid by clouds
that lightnings garland, while on earth below, the peacocks dance with joy as
showers of rain, falling gently, approach.

-The Door Of Happiness


Return to “Dharma in Everyday Life”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 22 guests