Atman, Rebirth, and Buddha's Whereabouts

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.]
Post Reply
Posts: 5
Joined: Sun Oct 30, 2011 7:14 am

Atman, Rebirth, and Buddha's Whereabouts

Post by Multiplicity » Sun Oct 30, 2011 7:25 am


1) I have seen posts on this forum stating the Lord Buddha taught there was no atman, no permanent self or soul in man beyond all phenomena (time and space).

Will anyone on this forum be able to provide scriptural support for this?

2) Then I have seen that, since there is no permanent self incarnating, rather a rebirth of a field of consciousness (so to speak).

Now, what separates the field of consciousness that gave arise to me and to someone else? Surely the field of consciousness that led to them must have took separate paths than the path taken to come to me. Is there not individuation here?

Surely there must be something, some entity, individual, that is the subject of these rebirths. Otherwise, what is the point of deliverance or enlightenment? How can Liberation exist when there is not one to be Liberated?

3) Last, where is the Buddha's field of consciousness at this moment? Did it cease to be at the time of his death (seeing as how he was Fully Realized) or is his awareness defused into Infinity (Verily, Brahman). In that, he knows of me typing this right now.

And a few bonus questions,

4) Where are past life memories recorded? I have remembered glimpses of past lives so this phenomenon is proven to me, but if there's no atman or permanent self, where is this data being recorded? To me it seems like there must be a permanent soul which is recording these experiences from one birth to another.

5) I understand Buddha pointed out what was impermanent, but what is permanent, if anything, save the cycle of rebirth?

Thank you.

Posts: 5
Joined: Sun Oct 30, 2011 7:14 am

Re: Atman, Rebirth, and Buddha's Whereabouts

Post by Multiplicity » Tue Nov 01, 2011 5:56 am

I understand. Forming metaphysical conceptions is a barrier to awakening.

User avatar
Posts: 454
Joined: Tue Aug 16, 2011 11:40 pm

Re: Atman, Rebirth, and Buddha's Whereabouts

Post by Thug4lyfe » Tue Nov 01, 2011 6:04 am

Read this homes, alot of people is going to give you their personal opinion on the matter, here are the opinions of an Awakened master." onclick=";return false;

User avatar
Posts: 4959
Joined: Mon Jun 14, 2010 11:49 pm
Location: Bay Area, CA, USA

Re: Atman, Rebirth, and Buddha's Whereabouts

Post by conebeckham » Tue Nov 01, 2011 6:34 pm

That link points to "malicious sources," per my Anti-Virus scanning at work.....just FYI.

"Absolute Truth is not an object of analytical discourse or great discriminating wisdom,
It is realized through the blessing grace of the Guru and fortunate Karmic potential.
Like this, mistaken ideas of discriminating wisdom are clarified."
- (Kyabje Bokar Rinpoche, from his summary of "The Ocean of Definitive Meaning")

User avatar
Posts: 1601
Joined: Fri Dec 25, 2009 10:17 pm

Re: Atman, Rebirth, and Buddha's Whereabouts

Post by ronnewmexico » Tue Nov 01, 2011 11:10 pm

Yes personal opinion certainly...if you had wanted a professsional opinion I would suppose you would not be posting this here... :smile: quite obviously.

My personal opinion, and varying forms of buddhism may differ on finer points of these things.....

Yes there is sutta and sutra that speak specifically against the notion of a soul, and may be found such things to be said
by many professionals in the field. YOu want them, you will find them...soul in buddhism is a starting point.
Soul as commonly generally defined which is a permenant unchanging thing . Some american authors like Robert Thurman redefine the notion of soul to their own perameters without unchanging aspect so it fits within buddhist notions.
You want to state buddhism states a theist soul.....good luck with that the is not strange nor novel and has been discounted by those with much energy to do the research a thousand and one times on buddhist forums.

Assumeing this then is a real viable question and not a attempt at pushing a view of this thing one way to explain the differences in peoples is with differing circumstances of production. Our awareness of of similiar composite but the presentation(as a individual self) differs as per circumstance.
So we are different.

Awarenesses, what we are, cognitive things, retain knowledge. In relation to a self.... we develope habit from retentive aspect. There are many aspects to what we essentially are... congnitive things. A composite of awareness which help us to understand....retention combined with self produce habitual inclination and tendency.
When presenting by circumstancial production, our awareness, our awareness being elicited by particular circumstance that matches what is produced(us) this cognitive thing),,,what then is produced, is produced in total, with habitual retention and tendency.
This is found in the self(past lives etc) as when produced this thing of cognition always presents with self concept and thusly has retention presenting in this fashion with retaining of a past. It is not that the thing now produced is the same as that which was before but retentive aspect is part of what is produced when a being is rebirthed.
It is not that the being is rebirthed literally but that the cognitive thing that is sentient being is produced and this comes with retentive aspect combined with self producing perception of past lives. Our habit or tendency produces future lives and also presents with view of past lives. It is a view however it is not that this present elicited consciousness is the same as what was present in those past lives...

this may be complex and hard to understand.

Circumstances being so incredibly varied complex and in number so that virtually every circumstantial production of a sentient being will exercise or become present at some point in time and space. It is the circumstance that produces the presentation. If no circumtance no being produced.
Like not being able to be aware of a orange that does not enter a room we can only become aware or a aware thing when circumstance elicits our response of awareness.

When produced always is perception of a continum. As in one thought always preceeding another. It is not that there is a continum of a literal fashion but that always when a being we will perceive a continum...hence past lives and all the rest. It is not that this is the same being but the method of production and the notion of a self incites retentions displayal in this fashion...
Not all buddhists nor schools of buddhism hold to this view however..... there is much muliplicity in opinion on this thing.
This one way explains how a soul does not exist.
Some forms of buddhism do really come very close to approximating theism berift with theist concepts.
Some do not...this displayed does not. The majority do not.
This contends there is no inherantly existant thing ever not even awareness itself.
But not all feel this way.
But also it is not personal some select subgroups of main tibetan schools hold this view.
Many hold to a actual continum of consciousness as in a consciousness that is present always on just waiting for a time to opinion varies......this one is a bit hard to understand.

There are technical terms others may recount to define where the buddha is.
My opinion is that the buddha presents individually as per individual circumstance of production.
However this production is always in the context of without a self.
So is that identical to the nature of reality what is really real.....yes absolutely.
Individual circumstances of presentation however may elicit a individual buddha with one aspect or another in predomination.
Not as we are as we depend upon self identification for our cognitive basis but on other basis reflecting how things are without mistaken notion of self.
But that common quality of reality is present does not infer each is exactly similiar.
The constituant parts may vary in degree and intensity so there is much variance and a individual identity of sorts remains but...this is not with the variance caused by the introduction of the false notion of self.

Their circumstances of production then are not as ours are but stable and reflective perhaps more than productive, in a sublime sense.
Essentially there world worlds, plane of existance,(if we could call it such), are real and not subject to our constraining factors such as birthing and dying.
All things of impermenance are reflective of a thing which may be created and produced in and of itself.
No such thing exists in the real as nothing has self inherant identity or existance so nothing may be produced and nothing may be not produced.
So all is eternal in aspect but with variance as described.
So all is the same and all is different.
Circumstances define the variance.

Someone invariably will show up and state...that is completely wrong........... this is how it is.
That speaks not to the issue but that there is variance of opinion on this thing in Buddhism
Generally not theist soul nor creator god we can make those statements in about all buddhism.
Other there exists variance of opinion.
"This order considers that progress can be achieved more rapidly during a single month of self-transformation through terrifying conditions in rough terrain and in "the abode of harmful forces" than through meditating for a period of three years in towns and monasteries"....Takpo Tashi Namgyal.

Post Reply

Return to “Dharma in Everyday Life”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Rick and 66 guests