Do we loose our identity when we die?

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tomschwarz
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Do we loose our identity when we die?

Post by tomschwarz » Sat Apr 28, 2018 10:40 pm

Hello friends,

As I understand it from Buddhism, there are (among other ways of looking at it) two things that can happen after we die: 1) become reborn in one of the realms of suffering, or 2) not be reborn and be(come) an enlightened being. so, in both cases, do we loose our identity?

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Physical_ ... the_Buddha
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KathyLauren
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Re: Do we loose our identity when we die?

Post by KathyLauren » Sun Apr 29, 2018 12:52 am

Define "identity". What part of you is your identity?

The Buddha expressly denied the existence of a self. You can't lose your self/identity because you never had one in the first place.

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Ogyen
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Re: Do we loose our identity when we die?

Post by Ogyen » Sun Apr 29, 2018 5:08 am

tomschwarz wrote:
Sat Apr 28, 2018 10:40 pm
so, in both cases, do we loose our identity?
Yes. Identity is a construct that arises out of the aggregates and the conditioning in the experience of living life that any individual has. Many parts of it change within the course of a lifetime, others remain more fixed (like the hardwiring of the physical brain)... When you die, everything that composed conventional identity falls apart.
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Kunga Lhadzom
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Re: Do we loose our identity when we die?

Post by Kunga Lhadzom » Sun Apr 29, 2018 5:35 am

How about DNA...if we don't really exist...why is it when we die & come back... we have proof of all our ancestry for thousands of years or more through DNA ?
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Vasana
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Re: Do we loose our identity when we die?

Post by Vasana » Sun Apr 29, 2018 8:07 am

As others have said, first you need to point to and define an enduring identity.

When you turned 10 years old, did you loose the identity you had when you were 9 years old?

“Just as it is known
That an image of one's face is seen
Depending on a mirror
But does not really exist as a face,
So the conception of "I" exists
Dependent on mind and body [the aggregates],
But like the image of a face
The "I" does not at all exist as its own reality.”
Nagarjuna

Or are you referring perhaps to things like personality traits, qualities, mannerisms etc? These are also impermanent and dependently arisen, like reflections appearing in a mirror. They are nothing in and of themselves but appear like a mirror's reflection due to the non-deficiency of causes of conditions.

Because we are so accustomed to grasping at an identity based on the aggreagtes, the process at death is said to be similar -so we don't exit the cocoon of our believed identity right away.

It may be useful to read up on Bardo teachings. There are also sutras dealing with the death and dying process and the alaya consciousness.
'When alone, watch your mind. When with others, watch your speech'- Old Kadampa saying.

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Vasana
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Re: Do we loose our identity when we die?

Post by Vasana » Sun Apr 29, 2018 8:16 am

Kunga Lhadzom wrote:
Sun Apr 29, 2018 5:35 am
How about DNA...if we don't really exist...why is it when we die & come back... we have proof of all our ancestry for thousands of years or more through DNA ?
Having ancestors doesn't mean you are the rebirth of your ancestors, except maybe metaphorically. If you don't have the same fingerprints upon rebirth why would you have the same DNA?

Bodies are karmic fruits ripening. In reality it's the Alaya conciousness that appropriates form due to Karma and not that your current form or conciousness continues in an immutable and unchanging way.
'When alone, watch your mind. When with others, watch your speech'- Old Kadampa saying.

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kalden yungdrung
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Re: Do we loose our identity when we die?

Post by kalden yungdrung » Sun Apr 29, 2018 8:31 am

tomschwarz wrote:
Sat Apr 28, 2018 10:40 pm
Hello friends,

As I understand it from Buddhism, there are (among other ways of looking at it) two things that can happen after we die: 1) become reborn in one of the realms of suffering, or 2) not be reborn and be(come) an enlightened being. so, in both cases, do we loose our identity?

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Physical_ ... the_Buddha
The Mind will be disconnected from the body,
The karma mind will stay and as such for some time (3days) and one can making use then of the mind of karma regarding and is able to wander over the world, listening etc.
Then unconsciousness will happen and one loses the karma self identity.
Then one will be reborn with a new identity based on the past karma imprints.

That is in the most cases happening, exceptions are there for qualified Dharma practitioners.
The best meditation is no meditation

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Re: Do we loose our identity when we die?

Post by Ayu » Sun Apr 29, 2018 7:39 pm

kalden yungdrung wrote:
Sun Apr 29, 2018 8:31 am
...
The Mind will be disconnected from the body,
...
No, I was taught: the mind ceases short time after the body died. There is no mind surviving. Nor any identity. :smile:
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Vasana
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Re: Do we loose our identity when we die?

Post by Vasana » Sun Apr 29, 2018 9:29 pm

Ayu wrote:
Sun Apr 29, 2018 7:39 pm
kalden yungdrung wrote:
Sun Apr 29, 2018 8:31 am
...
The Mind will be disconnected from the body,
...
No, I was taught: the mind ceases short time after the body died. There is no mind surviving. Nor any identity. :smile:
What about the alaya-vijnana? All schools of T.B accept that.
'When alone, watch your mind. When with others, watch your speech'- Old Kadampa saying.

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Ayu
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Re: Do we loose our identity when we die?

Post by Ayu » Sun Apr 29, 2018 10:39 pm

Vasana wrote:
Sun Apr 29, 2018 9:29 pm
Ayu wrote:
Sun Apr 29, 2018 7:39 pm
No, I was taught: the mind ceases short time after the body died. There is no mind surviving. Nor any identity. :smile:
What about the alaya-vijnana? All schools of T.B accept that.
Would you define alaya-vijnana as 'mind'?
I thought of mind as the place where thoughts and emotions happen and from where one says: "It's me."

Okay, as mentioned above in this thread, the users have not defined 'identity' yet either. I don't think, alaya-vijnana is an identity. It's just a karmic footprint.
I have decided to stick with love.
Hate is too great a burden to bear.
- Martin Luther King, Jr. -

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Re: Do we loose our identity when we die?

Post by Bristollad » Mon Apr 30, 2018 7:34 am

Vasana wrote:
Sun Apr 29, 2018 9:29 pm
What about the alaya-vijnana? All schools of T.B accept that.
No they don't.

"Even though not even an atom of establishment by way of its own character exists, agents and actions do exist and function as such. In dependence on this unique assertion of the Prasangikas, there are many uncommon tenets that are not found in the lower schools. The main ones, according to Lama Tsongkhapa, are:
1. Not asserting a mind-basis-of-all, which is a different entity from the six collections
2. Not asserting self-cognizers
3. Not asserting that the view of suchness is generated in the continuum of a defendant by an
autonomous syllogism
4. In asserting consciousnesses, it is also necessary to assert external objects
5. Hearer and solitary realizers have the realization of things as non-inherently existent
6. The conception of a self of phenomena is posited as an affliction
7. Disintegratedness is a functioning thing
8. For that reason, there is an uncommon way of positing the three times
The first three are points that are not asserted by the Prasangika Madhyamikas, and the last five are points that they do assert. Most of these points are discussed in this chapter."

from the FPMT Study Manual covering material from Chapter 6 of Tsongkhapa's Ilumination of the Thought commentary on Chandrakirti's Supplement to the Middle Way.

see also Hopkins' Meditation on Emptiness p387,
"In the Prasangika system, external objects, and not seeds, are what provide sense objects although the overlay of false appearance is produced from seeds. A mental consciousness, and not an afflicted mind, misconceives the nature of the person. A subtle mental consciousness, and not a mind-basis-of-all, abides throughtout the 'mindless' states. The mere-I, not a mind-basis-of-all, transmigrates. The six consciousnesses are temporary bases of seeds; the mere-I, not the mind-basis-of-all, is the constant basis of the seeds.

The basis in Buddha's own thought when he taught a mind-basis-of-all was emptiness, the basis of all phenomena which is to minded well (alayavijnana). Taking vijnana not as referring to the agent or action of knowing but as the object, the Prasangikas see the mind-basis-of-all as referring to the 'basis of all to known well or in detail', emptiness. Emptiness is the basis of all in that it makes possible all the various types of beings, nirvana, cyclic existence, and so forth."

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Vasana
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Re: Do we loose our identity when we die?

Post by Vasana » Mon Apr 30, 2018 9:11 am

Bristollad wrote:
Mon Apr 30, 2018 7:34 am
Vasana wrote:
Sun Apr 29, 2018 9:29 pm
What about the alaya-vijnana? All schools of T.B accept that.
No they don't.
[...]
A subtle mental consciousness, and not a mind-basis-of-all, abides throughtout the 'mindless' states. The mere-I, not a mind-basis-of-all, transmigrates. The six consciousnesses are temporary bases of seeds; the mere-I, not the mind-basis-of-all, is the constant basis of the seeds.
My mistake. I should have read Berzin's summary on this topic properly. It's an interesting position. I don't quite understand the Gelug nuance here. In either case, the Gelug position doesn't seem to be a cessation of mind all together or whatever you want to call it, like Ayu suggested.

The Mahāyāna Sūtra of Consciousness Revealed is worth a look here for the nature of the dying process and the ālaya.
Worthy Protector said to the Buddha, “World-Honored One, although sentient beings know that there is consciousness, it is like a jewel kept in a box, unrevealed and unknowable. World-Honored One, I do not know the form of this consciousness, nor the reason that it is called consciousness. When a person dies, his hands and feet may convulse, and the look of his eyes changes uncontrollably. As one’s faculties perish, the four domains—earth, water, fire, and wind—disperse. Where does one’s consciousness go after it has left the current body? What is its essence? What is its form? How does it assume the next body after leaving this body? After this body is abandoned, how does consciousness carry one’s faculties in order to accept the next requital, which can be a body of any kind? World-Honored One, how does a sentient being grow new faculties after the expiration of this body? Why does one accumulate meritorious karma in this life, only to receive its requital in the next life: The current body does meritorious karma, and the next body will eat [the karmic fruit]? How does one’s consciousness nourish one’s body and keep it alive? How do consciousness and faculties develop according to one’s body?”
The Buddha said, “Very good! Very good! Worthy Protector, these are good questions. Hearken! Hearken! Ponder this well. I will explain to you.”

...
http://www.sutrasmantras.info/sutra18.html
'When alone, watch your mind. When with others, watch your speech'- Old Kadampa saying.

Bristollad
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Re: Do we loose our identity when we die?

Post by Bristollad » Mon Apr 30, 2018 9:43 am

Vasana wrote:
Mon Apr 30, 2018 9:11 am
Bristollad wrote:
Mon Apr 30, 2018 7:34 am
Vasana wrote:
Sun Apr 29, 2018 9:29 pm
What about the alaya-vijnana? All schools of T.B accept that.
No they don't.
[...]
A subtle mental consciousness, and not a mind-basis-of-all, abides throughtout the 'mindless' states. The mere-I, not a mind-basis-of-all, transmigrates. The six consciousnesses are temporary bases of seeds; the mere-I, not the mind-basis-of-all, is the constant basis of the seeds.
My mistake. I should have read Berzin's summary on this topic properly. It's an interesting position. I don't quite understand the Gelug nuance here. In either case, the Gelug position doesn't seem to be a cessation of mind all together or whatever you want to call it, like Ayu suggested.

The Mahāyāna Sūtra of Consciousness Revealed is worth a look here for the nature of the dying process and the ālaya.
Worthy Protector said to the Buddha, “World-Honored One, although sentient beings know that there is consciousness, it is like a jewel kept in a box, unrevealed and unknowable. World-Honored One, I do not know the form of this consciousness, nor the reason that it is called consciousness. When a person dies, his hands and feet may convulse, and the look of his eyes changes uncontrollably. As one’s faculties perish, the four domains—earth, water, fire, and wind—disperse. Where does one’s consciousness go after it has left the current body? What is its essence? What is its form? How does it assume the next body after leaving this body? After this body is abandoned, how does consciousness carry one’s faculties in order to accept the next requital, which can be a body of any kind? World-Honored One, how does a sentient being grow new faculties after the expiration of this body? Why does one accumulate meritorious karma in this life, only to receive its requital in the next life: The current body does meritorious karma, and the next body will eat [the karmic fruit]? How does one’s consciousness nourish one’s body and keep it alive? How do consciousness and faculties develop according to one’s body?”
The Buddha said, “Very good! Very good! Worthy Protector, these are good questions. Hearken! Hearken! Ponder this well. I will explain to you.”

...
http://www.sutrasmantras.info/sutra18.html
In this teaching on the Heart Sutra, Khensur Jampa Tegchok Rinpoche explained:

"All Buddhist philosophical systems agree that it is the person who engages in action, creates karma and has to be reborn in cyclic existence experiencing the various results of their karma. However, they describe and classify that person differently.

The Consequence School assert that the "mere I" is the person that goes from life to life engaging in destructive and constructive actions, and experiencing suffering as a result. For them this "mere I" is the person and refers to the continuity of the aggregates, particularly the continuity of consciousness. Of the five aggregates, the fifth is the consciousness aggregate. "mere I" meaning the consciousness aggregate includes six consciousnesses, namely the eye, ear, nose tongue, body and mental consciousnesses. The "mere I" refers to the continuity of the sixth one, the mental consciousness.

The specific significance of "mere" in the expression "mere I" is that the "I" or the person does not exist from its own side. Therefore the "mere" negates the existence of the self-existence of the person. At the same time it indicates that the person who goes from life to life is a mere name, label, or imputation by conception."


see http://teachingsfromtibet.com/2017/05/23/the-mere-i/

In the Gelug presentation of the tenet systems, an 8 consciousness model is presented as interpretable teachings that are accepted as literal by just some Chittamatrins following Asanga and Vasubandhu, and that Nagarjuna, Chandrakirti, Shantideva et al. taught that there were only 6 consciousnesses. Just as when we are alive, while there isn't a mind that continues unchanging, there is a continuity of moments of consciousness with which we identify and reify as me, myself and I.

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