Soul fragmentation and defragmentation as Buddism teaching?

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.
tingdzin
Posts: 1055
Joined: Fri Feb 15, 2013 7:19 am

Re: Soul fragmentation and defragmentation as Buddism teaching?

Post by tingdzin » Wed Oct 11, 2017 7:18 am

To 48 vows:

Sorry for my tardy reply; I'm only occasionally online.

#2 (of your questions in reply to my post)
"Soul" is bad word to use on an English-language Buddhist site because: a) It is ridiculously inexact, and has very different meanings for different people. To a lot of English (and other European language) speakers, it means some kind of non-material spiritual identity which mirrors a human personality. This is of course completely non-Buddhistic. Others think a "soul" is by definition not something transient -- this is also un-Buddhistic. b) A lot of (native) English-speaking Buddhists also object to it because it's too redolent of Christianity.

I guess if a Chinese Buddhist master wants to use hun and po in a Dharma talk, there are circumstances in which it might not be too much out of order, but he should not use "soul" as a translation; this is just confusing and IMO intellectually sloppy.

I agree with your suggestion that alternate translations for hun and po ought to be proposed, defended, and taken up or rejected.

The presence of these two words in a Chinese sutra is probably evidence of Chinese provenance. I know of no words in Indic or Central Asian languages that could have served as the root for such translations.

#3) Tibetan bla is a word which has also been translated as "soul" because of intellectual laziness. Really it is more like a certain vital capacity that enables humans to function as humans, and it has no independent sentient existence, like the English-language "soul" does.

ydnan321
Posts: 30
Joined: Tue Feb 09, 2016 7:14 am

Re: Soul fragmentation and defragmentation as Buddism teaching?

Post by ydnan321 » Thu Oct 12, 2017 4:24 am

Also, regarding comments that human could reincarnate at plants, didn't the Abhidharma state that plants are insentient beings? [urlhttps://books.google.com/books?id=i1ffdTIbNJkC&pg=PA69&lpg=PA69&dq=abhidharma+plants+sentient&source=bl&ots=E_Rpp-r6ZE&sig=4eHEASp670_3rhn37WHeiJLMDao&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwj86pG8j-rWAhXLrlQKHZ9-AaAQ6AEIQjAF#v=onepage&q&f=true][/url]
Also, the Buddha only classified 6 paths of rebirth: heaven, asura, human, animal, hungry ghost, and hell.

ydnan321
Posts: 30
Joined: Tue Feb 09, 2016 7:14 am

Re: Soul fragmentation and defragmentation as Buddism teaching?

Post by ydnan321 » Thu Oct 12, 2017 11:29 pm

Interestingly, when teaching the Shurangama Sutra, Master Hsuan Hua's seemed to agree that plants are insentient? And that people cannot be born as plants?

http://www.chinabuddhismencyclopedia.co ... :_Volume_8
Sutra:

Based on his idea that there is universal awareness, he formulates a theory that all the plants in the ten directions are sentient, not different from human beings. He claims that plants can become people, and that when people die they again become plants in the ten directions. If he considers this idea of unrestricted, universal awareness to be supreme, he will fall into the error of maintaining that what is not aware has awareness. Vasishtha and Sainika, who maintained the idea of comprehensive awareness, will become his companions. Confused about the Bodhi of the Buddhas, he will lose his knowledge and understanding.

Commentary:

Based on his idea that there is universal awareness, he formulates a theory. He deduces, from what he knows, that there is a universal awareness, and then formulates a view about it. What is his view? You'd never guess, and neither would I. He says that all the plants in the ten directions are sentient. In China, there is a saying,

"People are not plants; who can be without emotion?"

That statement implies that plants are insentient. But here the cultivator has decided that all plants are sentient not different from human beings. They are the same as people in that they also have life. He claims that plants can become people, and that when people die they again become plants in the ten directions. After death, humans turn back into plants.


If he considers this idea of unrestricted, universal awareness to be supreme. He doesn't have the wisdom to selectively apply this theory of universal awareness. He tries to be special and mistakenly thinks his idea is a supreme one. He will fall into the error of maintaining that what is not aware has awareness. He claims to understand this principle, but actually he is ignorant. He does not understand, but insists that he does.

Fortyeightvows
Posts: 1968
Joined: Mon Oct 06, 2014 2:37 am

Re: Soul fragmentation and defragmentation as Buddism teaching?

Post by Fortyeightvows » Fri Oct 13, 2017 1:33 am

I've never heard of a person being reborn as a plant , have you?

ydnan321
Posts: 30
Joined: Tue Feb 09, 2016 7:14 am

Re: Soul fragmentation and defragmentation as Buddism teaching?

Post by ydnan321 » Tue Oct 17, 2017 1:09 am

Well, if you look at the OP, looks like the Master did say that, though when teaching the Shurangama Sutra, he refuted such belief. Not sure when the commentary to the Shurangama Sutra was done, but the Root Farm's one was in 1975. Did he change his mind?

[/quote]
Fortyeightvows wrote:
Fri Oct 13, 2017 1:33 am
I've never heard of a person being reborn as a plant , have you?
The Venerable Master Hsuan-Hua comments:
Question: "When you eat one bowl of rice, you take the life of all the grains of rice, whereas eating meat you take only one animal's life.
The Master: On the body of one single animal are a hundred thousand, in fact, sever million little organisms. These organisms are fragments of what was once an animal. The soul of a human being at death may split up to become many animals. One person can become about ten animals. That's why animals are so stupid. The soul of an animal can split up and become, in its smallest division, an organism or plant. The feelings which plants have, then, are what separated from the animals's soul when it split up at death. Although the life force of a large number of plants may appear sizeable, it is not as great as that of a single animal or a single mouthful of meat. Take, for example, rice: tens of billions of grains of rice do not contain as much life force as a single piece of meat. If you open your Five Eyes you can know this at a glance. If you haven't opened your eyes, no matter how one tries to explain it to you, you won't understand. No matter how it's explained, you won't believe it, because you haven't been a plant!
"Another example is the mosquitoes. The millions of mosquitoes on this mountain may be simply the soul of one person who has been transformed into all those bugs. It is not the case that a single human soul turns into a single mosquito. One person can turn into countless numbers of mosquitos.

"At death the nature changes, the soul scatters, and its smallest fragments become plants. Thus, there is a difference between eating plants and eating animals. What is more, plants have very short lifespans. The grass, for example, is born in the spring and dies within months. Animals live a long time. If you don't kill them, they will live for many years. Rice, regardless of conditions, will only live a short time. And so, if you really look into it, there are many factors to consider, and even science hasn't got it all straight." (Buddha Root Farm, 64)


In his sutra teaching though, he mentioned:
http://www.cttbusa.org/shurangama8/shurangama8_24.asp
Thus he is sowing the seeds of a distorted view of awareness, an upside-down understanding. Take plants, nobody would regard them as sentient beings, yet he does just that. He says that people are just plants, and that plants can also become people. Someone suggests, "But there are trees endowed with souls. Doesn't that mean they have awareness?"

No. In such cases, there is a spirit inhabiting the tree. It's not that the tree itself has awareness and is a sentient being.[/
quote]

ydnan321
Posts: 30
Joined: Tue Feb 09, 2016 7:14 am

Re: Soul fragmentation and defragmentation as Buddism teaching?

Post by ydnan321 » Mon Nov 06, 2017 7:04 pm

I still have doubt in my mind regarding Hsuan Hua’s remarks regarding multiplicity of animal’s rebirth. Though I do not believe such statements, they still linger and bother me. Seems like his impact is strong. I would need some sort of credible source to firm up my belief. Therefore, I am looking for sutra references to disregard such claim. Anyone knows of any sutras or authentic masters’ writings mentioning rebirth accounts specifying that one human is reborn as one animal, or vice versa? Or if there are reliable treatises that explain of such rebirth law/physics, specifically denying such multiplicity claim.

Thanks,

YN

User avatar
Malcolm
Posts: 27994
Joined: Thu Nov 11, 2010 2:19 am

Re: Soul fragmentation and defragmentation as Buddism teaching?

Post by Malcolm » Mon Nov 06, 2017 7:57 pm

ydnan321 wrote:
Mon Nov 06, 2017 7:04 pm
I still have doubt in my mind regarding Hsuan Hua’s remarks regarding multiplicity of animal’s rebirth. Though I do not believe such statements, they still linger and bother me. Seems like his impact is strong. I would need some sort of credible source to firm up my belief. Therefore, I am looking for sutra references to disregard such claim. Anyone knows of any sutras or authentic masters’ writings mentioning rebirth accounts specifying that one human is reborn as one animal, or vice versa? Or if there are reliable treatises that explain of such rebirth law/physics, specifically denying such multiplicity claim.

Thanks,

YN
Dharmakiriti makes strong arguments defending the idea that mind streams are separate and unique.
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

User avatar
Coëmgenu
Posts: 1587
Joined: Thu Jun 02, 2016 11:35 pm
Location: Whitby, Ontario

Re: Soul fragmentation and defragmentation as Buddism teaching?

Post by Coëmgenu » Mon Nov 06, 2017 9:46 pm

Maybe we shouldn't be taking these various 'soul aggregates' or whatever they are, of possibly apocryphal Chinese origin, but not necessarily a wrong concept in-and-of-themselves, as mindstreams then.

We know that after death, our bodies' nutrients are ultimately recycled, the components breaking down, and 'becoming' other things. It strikes me as potentially reasonable that something similar could be being alluded to here, without necessarily meaning that mindstreams can split and re-assemble. But perhaps I am being too naively generous.
世尊在靈山會上拈華示眾眾皆默然唯迦葉破顏微笑世尊云
The Lord dwelt at the Vulture Peak with the assembly and plucked a flower as a teaching. The myriad totality were silent, save for Kāśyapa, whose face cracked in a faint smile. The Lord spoke.
吾有正法眼藏涅槃妙心實相無相微妙法門不立文字教外別傳付囑摩訶迦葉。
I have the treasure of the true dharma eye, I have nirvāṇa as wondrous citta, I know signless dharmatā, the subtle dharma-gate, which is not standing on written word, which is external to scriptures, which is a special dispensation, which is entrusted to Mahākāśyapa.

नस्वातोनापिपरतोनद्वाभ्यांनाप्यहेतुतः
उत्पन्नाजातुविद्यन्तेभावाःक्वचनकेचन

Seeker12
Posts: 118
Joined: Mon May 08, 2017 5:54 pm

Re: Soul fragmentation and defragmentation as Buddism teaching?

Post by Seeker12 » Mon Nov 06, 2017 11:09 pm

Malcolm wrote:
Mon Nov 06, 2017 7:57 pm
Dharmakiriti makes strong arguments defending the idea that mind streams are separate and unique.
Any specific sources? Or more broadly, any recommendations regarding Dharmakirti at all?

I haven't gotten around to looking into Dharmakirti really yet but it's on my to-do list, at some point. That list is somewhat long though.

Thanks
Better than if there were thousands of meaningless words is
one meaningful word that on hearing brings peace. Dhp

Fortyeightvows
Posts: 1968
Joined: Mon Oct 06, 2014 2:37 am

Re: Soul fragmentation and defragmentation as Buddism teaching?

Post by Fortyeightvows » Mon Nov 06, 2017 11:38 pm

Coëmgenu wrote:
Mon Nov 06, 2017 9:46 pm
We
know that after death, our bodies' nutrients are ultimately recycled, the components breaking down, and 'becoming' other things. It strikes me as potentially reasonable that something similar could be being alluded to here, without necessarily meaning that mindstreams can split and re-assemble.
For example, master chin kung comares it to how the eight consciousneses leave the body at death.


User avatar
Coëmgenu
Posts: 1587
Joined: Thu Jun 02, 2016 11:35 pm
Location: Whitby, Ontario

Re: Soul fragmentation and defragmentation as Buddism teaching?

Post by Coëmgenu » Tue Nov 07, 2017 2:05 pm

Does the Śūraṅgamasūtra reference specifically 三魂七魄 or only 魂魄?
世尊在靈山會上拈華示眾眾皆默然唯迦葉破顏微笑世尊云
The Lord dwelt at the Vulture Peak with the assembly and plucked a flower as a teaching. The myriad totality were silent, save for Kāśyapa, whose face cracked in a faint smile. The Lord spoke.
吾有正法眼藏涅槃妙心實相無相微妙法門不立文字教外別傳付囑摩訶迦葉。
I have the treasure of the true dharma eye, I have nirvāṇa as wondrous citta, I know signless dharmatā, the subtle dharma-gate, which is not standing on written word, which is external to scriptures, which is a special dispensation, which is entrusted to Mahākāśyapa.

नस्वातोनापिपरतोनद्वाभ्यांनाप्यहेतुतः
उत्पन्नाजातुविद्यन्तेभावाःक्वचनकेचन

User avatar
Coëmgenu
Posts: 1587
Joined: Thu Jun 02, 2016 11:35 pm
Location: Whitby, Ontario

Re: Soul fragmentation and defragmentation as Buddism teaching?

Post by Coëmgenu » Tue Nov 07, 2017 6:53 pm

Coëmgenu wrote:
Tue Nov 07, 2017 2:05 pm
Does the Śūraṅgamasūtra reference specifically 三魂七魄 or only 魂魄?
三魂七魄 is unambiguously Daoism. It "can" work with Buddhism, IMO, as it has for many hundred years. But it is going to need some adaption. Just like 大乘起信論 ("Mahāyāna Waking of Śraddhā Śāstra") had to be adapted to fit into Tiāntāi.

魂魄, though, from scroll 9, may well simply be a colloquialism.
世尊在靈山會上拈華示眾眾皆默然唯迦葉破顏微笑世尊云
The Lord dwelt at the Vulture Peak with the assembly and plucked a flower as a teaching. The myriad totality were silent, save for Kāśyapa, whose face cracked in a faint smile. The Lord spoke.
吾有正法眼藏涅槃妙心實相無相微妙法門不立文字教外別傳付囑摩訶迦葉。
I have the treasure of the true dharma eye, I have nirvāṇa as wondrous citta, I know signless dharmatā, the subtle dharma-gate, which is not standing on written word, which is external to scriptures, which is a special dispensation, which is entrusted to Mahākāśyapa.

नस्वातोनापिपरतोनद्वाभ्यांनाप्यहेतुतः
उत्पन्नाजातुविद्यन्तेभावाःक्वचनकेचन

ydnan321
Posts: 30
Joined: Tue Feb 09, 2016 7:14 am

Re: Soul fragmentation and defragmentation as Buddism teaching?

Post by ydnan321 » Tue Nov 28, 2017 12:05 am

Sorry, I’m still stuck on this, would be grateful if anyone could provide explanation stating why multiplicity of animal rebirths is not possible using scripture or well-known master’s accounts/references? Links would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks,

YN

User avatar
Malcolm
Posts: 27994
Joined: Thu Nov 11, 2010 2:19 am

Re: Soul fragmentation and defragmentation as Buddism teaching?

Post by Malcolm » Tue Nov 28, 2017 12:07 am

ydnan321 wrote:
Tue Nov 28, 2017 12:05 am
Sorry, I’m still stuck on this, would be grateful if anyone could provide explanation stating why multiplicity of animal rebirths is not possible using scripture or well-known master’s accounts/references? Links would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks,

YN
It is not possible. If you would do your own research, you will come to this conclusion and will have no further doubt about.
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

Fortyeightvows
Posts: 1968
Joined: Mon Oct 06, 2014 2:37 am

Re: Soul fragmentation and defragmentation as Buddism teaching?

Post by Fortyeightvows » Tue Nov 28, 2017 1:33 am

Malcolm wrote:
Tue Nov 28, 2017 12:07 am
It is not possible. If you would do your own research, you will come to this conclusion and will have no further doubt about.
so what happens with earthworms? or twins?

Simon E.
Posts: 5545
Joined: Tue May 15, 2012 11:09 am

Re: Soul fragmentation and defragmentation as Buddism teaching?

Post by Simon E. » Tue Nov 28, 2017 3:29 pm

Twins ( and earthworms ) are entirely separate individuals. Even identical twins have major differences in temperament and sometimes in ability.
As to earthworms I wonder whether you are referring to the myth that if cut in half they grow a new half..?
If so it IS a myth. The back end always dies quickly because it has no mouthparts.
The front half sometimes survives for a while if the wound heals successfully..but usually also dies quickly.
If you use the word 'mind' without defining your terms I will ask you politely for a definition. :smile:
This is not to be awkward. But it's really not self-explanatory.

User avatar
dzogchungpa
Posts: 6333
Joined: Sat May 28, 2011 10:50 pm

Re: Soul fragmentation and defragmentation as Buddism teaching?

Post by dzogchungpa » Tue Nov 28, 2017 5:58 pm

Simon E. wrote:
Tue Nov 28, 2017 3:29 pm
As to earthworms I wonder whether you are referring to the myth that if cut in half they grow a new half..?
If so it IS a myth. The back end always dies quickly because it has no mouthparts.
The front half sometimes survives for a while if the wound heals successfully..but usually also dies quickly.

However it appears that planaria do indeed have this property.
There is not only nothingness because there is always, and always can manifest. - Thinley Norbu Rinpoche

User avatar
DNS
Site Admin
Posts: 3040
Joined: Sun Apr 05, 2009 4:23 pm
Location: Las Vegas, Nevada, Estados Unidos de América
Contact:

Re: Soul fragmentation and defragmentation as Buddism teaching?

Post by DNS » Tue Nov 28, 2017 6:07 pm

The idea of fragmented souls comes from Hinduism and I believe also Jainism; not sure about Taoism.
ydnan321 wrote:
Tue Oct 03, 2017 4:28 pm
In some other articles I read, he mentioned that these fragmented souls would need to join together again to take rebirth at a higher forms (e.g. multiple roosters' souls need to be integrated together to reborn as a horse, then multiple horse's souls then integrate to be a human.)
How would the mechanics of karma make that even work? The different animals that need to combine don't die at the same time. And then each animal accumulates his/her own karma and karmic results. The individual mind streams of Buddhism make more sense.

The Buddhist suttas/sutras always refer to individuals, with the Buddha mentioning things like: this monk went to this realm; this nun went to that realm; this butcher was reborn to this woeful existence, etc etc.

User avatar
DNS
Site Admin
Posts: 3040
Joined: Sun Apr 05, 2009 4:23 pm
Location: Las Vegas, Nevada, Estados Unidos de América
Contact:

Re: Soul fragmentation and defragmentation as Buddism teaching?

Post by DNS » Tue Nov 28, 2017 6:26 pm

dzogchungpa wrote:
Tue Nov 28, 2017 5:58 pm
However it appears that planaria do indeed have this property.
That is interesting. And then there is the case of a cloned animal. Since mammals have already been cloned, I'm fairly certain humans could be cloned too. My guess is that the split worms and cloned animals would "inherit" the karma of the donor. I don't believe that would be soul fragmentation, because each new sentient being would then proceed with his/her own karmic decisions and accumulation from that point.

Fortyeightvows
Posts: 1968
Joined: Mon Oct 06, 2014 2:37 am

Re: Soul fragmentation and defragmentation as Buddism teaching?

Post by Fortyeightvows » Tue Nov 28, 2017 8:34 pm

Simon E. wrote:
Tue Nov 28, 2017 3:29 pm
Twins ( and earthworms ) are entirely separate individuals. Even identical twins have major differences in temperament and sometimes in ability.
As to earthworms I wonder whether you are referring to the myth that if cut in half they grow a new half..?
If so it IS a myth. The back end always dies quickly because it has no mouthparts.
The front half sometimes survives for a while if the wound heals successfully..but usually also dies quickly.
I didn't know it was am myth, thanks.
But in the case of twins, they do split after conception, so....

Post Reply

Return to “Mahāyāna Buddhism”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: denise, Google [Bot], Lien Namba and 58 guests