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FBM
31 Oct 11, 01:27
The Milinda Panha Sutta was probably written around the turn of the first century B.C. It depicts a conversation between a monk, Nagasena (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nāgasena), and an Indo-Greek king named Menander (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Menander_I) (which becomes Milinda in Pali), who wanted to learn about Buddhism.

The Milinda Panha is quite long and goes into great detail on a wide range of issues about what the Buddha taught. However, Nagasena's teachings about rebirth are particularly interesting to me. He gives similes about how rebirth can happen without transmigration (reincarnation).

http://www.sacred-texts.com/bud/milinda.htm

I'll post the part that I found most interesting, and I hope others will offer their kind insights and responses to it:


5. The king said: 'Where there is no transmigration, Nâgasena, can there be
rebirth?'

'Yes, there can.'

'But how can that be? Give me an illustration.'

'Suppose a man, O king, were to light a lamp from another lamp, can it be
said that the one transmigrates from, or to, the other?'

'Certainly not.'

'Just so, great king, is rebirth without transmigration.'

'Give me a further illustration.'

'Do you recollect, great king, having learnt, when you were a boy, some verse
or other from your teacher?'

'Yes, I recollect that.'

'Well then, did that verse transmigrate from your teacher?'

'Certainly not.'

'Just so, great king, is rebirth without transmigration.'

'Very good, Nâgasena!'
____________________
6. The king said: 'Is there such a thing, Nâgasena, as the soul 1 (http://www.buddhismwithoutboundaries.com/#fn_260)?'

'In the highest sense, O king, there is no such thing 2 (http://www.buddhismwithoutboundaries.com/#fn_261).'
p. 112
'Very good, Nâgasena!'
___________________
7. [72] The king said: 'Is there any being, Nâgasena, who
transmigrates from this body to another?'

'No, there is not.'

'But if so, would it not get free from its evil deeds.'

'Yes, if it were not reborn; but if it were, no 1 (http://www.buddhismwithoutboundaries.com/#fn_262).'

'Give me an illustration.'

'Suppose, O king, a man were to steal another man's mangoes, would the thief
deserve punishment?'

'Yes.'

'But he would not have stolen the mangoes the other set in the ground. Why
would he deserve punishment?'

'Because those he stole were the result of those that were planted.'

'Just so, great king, this name-and-form commits deeds, either pure or
impure, and by that Karma another name-and-form. is reborn. And therefore is it
not set free from its evil deeds?'

'Very good, Nâgasena!'
____________________
8. The king said: 'When deeds are committed, Nâgasena, by one name-and-form,
what becomes of those deeds?'

'The deeds would follow it, O king, like a shadow that never leaves it 2 (http://www.buddhismwithoutboundaries.com/#fn_263).'

'Can any one point out those deeds, saying: "Here are those deeds, or
there"?'

'No.'
p. 113
'Give me an illustration.'

'Now what do you think, O king? Can any one point out the fruits which a tree
has not yet produced, saying: "Here they are, or there"?'

'Certainly not, Sir.'

'Just so, great king, so long as the continuity of life is not cut off, it is
impossible to point out the deeds that are done.'

'Very good, Nâgasena!'
____________________
9. [73] The king said: 'Does he, Nâgasena, who is about to be reborn
know that he will be born?'

'Yes, he knows it, O king.'

'Give me an illustration.'

'Suppose a farmer, O king, a householder, were to put seed in the ground, and
it were to rain well, would he know that a crop would be produced.'

'Yes, he would know that.'

'Just so, great king, does he who is about to be reborn know 1 (http://www.buddhismwithoutboundaries.com/#fn_264) that he will be
born.'

'Very good, Nâgasena 2 (http://www.buddhismwithoutboundaries.com/#fn_265)!'
____________________
10. The king said: 'Is there such a person as the Buddha, Nâgasena?'

'Yes.'

'Can he then, Nâgasena, be pointed out as being here or there?'

'The Blessed One, O king, has passed away by that kind of passing away in
which nothing remains which could tend to the formation of another
p. 114
individual 1 (http://www.buddhismwithoutboundaries.com/#fn_266). It
is not possible to point out the Blessed One as being here or there.'

'Give me an illustration.'

'Now what do you think, O king? When there is a great body of fire blazing,
is it possible to point out any one flame that has gone out, that it is here or
there?'

'No, Sir. That flame has ceased, it has vanished.'

'Just so, great king, has the Blessed One passed away by that kind of passing
away in which no root remains for the formation of another individual. The
Blessed One has come to an end, and it cannot be pointed out of him, that he is
here or there. But in the body of his doctrine he can, O king, be pointed out.
For the doctrine 2 (http://www.buddhismwithoutboundaries.com/#fn_267)
was preached by the Blessed One?'

'Very good, Nâgasena!'

Esho
31 Oct 11, 03:22
For the opening of the dialogue:

Most of the illustrations, at least now, are quite beyond my understanding because the level of abstraction. The easiest one is the case of the poem.

Why does it do not transmigrate?

How can be understood that a poem given by a teacher or a written teaching that is understood and realized by the student of such Dhamma is a case of rebirth?

In this conext, I ignore the difference of transmigration and rebirth. Where does the poem rebirth?

Now, the very last example, that of the passing away of the Blessed One, is clear that even when the Buddha has died as all nama-rupa goes under disruption of khandas, has left a teaching that can transform a human into an enlightened being.

Is that a rebirth? If so, why?

:confused:

FBM
31 Oct 11, 03:33
Reincarnation/transmigration requires some sort of substance that continues from one dead/dying being into a new body. This has never been demonstrated, only alleged and believed on faith. The Buddha apparently looked inside himself for something that could transmigrate and found nothing.

And yet, this life is not impotent. What we do here has countless effects into the future, so we need to behave ethically if peace is to be achieved. What then, carries on if it's not one's consciousness or spirit?

Something passes from the poem teacher to the student. It's just sound waves, but they're in a very particular pattern, so they have certain effects on the listener. The listener experiences those effects and passes them on to others by recreating the sound patterns. That's rebirth without transmigration, as I understand it so far.

What else is there to a human being except the input from the 5 physical senses and one's mental consciousness? All of these things depend upon the body for existence, and when the body breaks down, those things dissipate, too. Nevertheless, it is important what one says and does, because the effects are potentially endless.

Esho
31 Oct 11, 03:49
The Buddha apparently looked inside himself for something that could transmigrate and found nothing.

This is a fact that I consider as such. Also, if the Buddha didn't found nothing, it has to be considered to be relevant for the rebirth ideas.


And yet, this life is not impotent. What we do here has countless effects into the future, so we need to behave ethically if peace is to be achieved.

No need to bring this, necessarily, into the after death realm. It can be framed in a single life time. The theory [as a body of proved facts] of Complex Systems can give light into this fact.


What then, carries on if it's not one's consciousness or spirit?

Yes. But this spirit is "transcribed" into actions and behaviors that influence social order and has an impact in behaviour and social construction of behavior patterns.


Something passes from the poem teacher to the student. It's just sound waves, but they're in a very particular pattern, so they have certain effects on the listener. The listener experiences those effects and passes them on to others by recreating the sound patterns. That's rebirth without transmigration, as I understand it so far.

What else is there to a human being except the input from the 5 physical senses and one's mental consciousness? All of these things depend upon the body for existence, and when the body breaks down, those things dissipate, too.

Time needed to digest this concepts...


Nevertheless, it is important what one says and does, because the effects are potentially endless.

True but with certain caution. Effects are not so stable or completely under accurate prediction. Like Milinda case number 8, as far as I understand it.

FBM
31 Oct 11, 04:10
This is a fact that I consider as such. Also, if the Buddha didn't found nothing, it has to be considered to be relevant for the rebirth ideas.

Ah. I should have been more careful with my wording. Not "found nothing", but found nothing except the body, the various sensations and what we make of them, and the ongoing stream of consciousness. No spirit, soul, homunculus or anything that can zip out of the body at death and enter another body.


No need to bring this, necessarily, into the after death realm. It can be framed in a single life time. The theory [as a body of proved facts] of Complex Systems can give light into this fact.

True. There is nothing that remains constant or unchanged throughout a single lifetime, and the effects of one's actions can be experienced before this consciousness dissipates. There's no telling how many times rebirth occurs in this lifetime. But the effects do continue after the breakup of this body. We are all subject to the actions of people we've never met nor even knew existed.



Yes. But this spirit is "transcribed" into actions and behaviors that influence social order and has an impact in behaviour and social construction of behavior patterns.

Maybe. In what sense are you using the word 'spirit'? As an animating force or ghost that resides in the body? Metaphorically? Something else?


Time needed to digest this concepts...

Years, for me. ;)



True but with certain caution. Effects are not so stable or completely under accurate prediction. Like Milinda case number 8, as far as I understand it.

True again. It's not a form of determinism. It's conditioned co-arising. Things "tend to" arise under certain prevailing conditions, rather than the deterministic "do arise".

I'm really enjoying this conversation, Kaarine! :peace:

stuka
31 Oct 11, 14:05
5. The king said: 'Where there is no transmigration, Nâgasena, can there be
rebirth?'

'Yes, there can.'

'But how can that be? Give me an illustration.'

'Suppose a man, O king, were to light a lamp from another lamp, can it be
said that the one transmigrates from, or to, the other?'

'Certainly not.'

'Just so, great king, is rebirth without transmigration.'



This passage is has become a standard citation for folks who claim a "reincarnation-that-is-not-reincarnation". How do you address that?

FBM
31 Oct 11, 14:49
This passage is has become a standard citation for folks who claim a "reincarnation-that-is-not-reincarnation". How do you address that?

Honestly, I just don't see how anybody can get anything like transmigration from that. I read it and come to the opposite conclusion, especially when taken in context (which many fail to do) with the rest of the relevant passages, including the one about the teacher teaching a poem to a student. Dunno. I guess people see what they want to see, interpret what they want to interpret. It's no skin off my teeth what other people think, really.

Esho
01 Nov 11, 01:07
Ah. I should have been more careful with my wording. Not "found nothing", but found nothing except the body, the various sensations and what we make of them, and the ongoing stream of consciousness. No spirit, soul, homunculus or anything that can zip out of the body at death and enter another body.

Maybe this is the main aspect to be considered. As far as I have understood, what we are is a compound of the five khandas which in the unaware mind takes them as a self as it happens with the six senses where the unaware mind thinks, for example, that the eye is myself. Same happens with the mind, mind contact and mind consciousness taken as self.

I think that the idea of stream of consciousness has never been taught in the [main?] Nikayas. What I see are moments not a flow. Very tiny moments of consciousness, its object and its sense organ: An idea-the mind-contact=consciousness. Right View or Samadhitti is developed to contemplate that moments. An idea arise and fade with no trace in our mind until we grasp, crave and cling. IMO, there is no such thing as a stream.

After the disruption of the body, where there is no more contact of the sense organ with its object, consciousness ceases. Or, where does such a stream goes?

The case of the poem... The poem is an idea, be it written or be it spoken, that makes contact with the sense organ called mind where this contact is the birthplace of mind consciousness of the poem which can be taken as mine or my self which can lead to the idea of a flow.



[...]the effects of one's actions can be experienced before this consciousness dissipates.

What is felt by others are the consequences of actions but once a person has gone there is no way that the death person can still act over others. Or am I wrong?

A person has hurt you in the past. The person harm your feelings and you have cling into such feeling tightly. The person is gone to another country or has died. That person can not harm you any more. Where the harm is, is in the mind that has cling tightly to the feeling of having being harmed.




There's no telling how many times rebirth occurs in this lifetime.

Until now, this is the farthest I can go.


But the effects do continue after the breakup of this body.

Consequences of past actions that will be experienced by others. Yes.


We are all subject to the actions of people we've never met nor even knew existed.

I think we are subject to consequences of past actions. Isn't this slightly different: actions from consequences?

Once the person that loved me has gone there is no more love from that loved person. Just the feeling of having being loved and, IMO, the clinging to this feeling can lead to the ideas of "streams of consciousness" and other speculative issues.


Maybe. In what sense are you using the word 'spirit'? As an animating force or ghost that resides in the body? Metaphorically? Something else?

Completely metaphorically. I use the word 'spirit' because you used it too: ;D



And yet, this life is not impotent. What we do here has countless effects into the future, so we need to behave ethically if peace is to be achieved. What then, carries on if it's not one's consciousness or spirit?



I'm really enjoying this conversation, Kaarine! :peace:

That is great, I am enjoying it too!

:flower:

retrofuturist
01 Nov 11, 04:14
Greetings,

Source; http://nanavira.xtreemhost.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=44&Itemid=72


Na ca so na ca añño, 'Neither he nor another'. This often-quoted dictum occurs in the Milindapañha somewhere, as the answer to the question 'When a man dies, who is reborn—he or another?'. This question is quite illegitimate, and any attempt to answer it cannot be less so. The question, in asking who is reborn, falls into sakkāyaditthi. It takes for granted the validity of the person as 'self'; for it is only about 'self' that this question—'Eternal (so) or perishable (añño)?'—can be asked. The answer also takes this 'self' for granted, since it allows that the question can be asked. It merely denies that this 'self' (which must be either eternal or perishable) is either eternal or perishable, thus making confusion worse confounded. The proper way is to reject the question in the first place. Compare Anguttara VI,ix,10 <A.iii,440>, where it is said that the ditthisampanna not only can not hold that the author of pleasure and pain was somebody (either himself or another) but also can not hold that the author was not somebody (neither himself nor another). The ditthisampanna sees the present person (sakkāya) as arisen dependent upon present conditions and as ceasing with the cessation of these present conditions. And, seeing this, he does not regard the present person as present 'self'. Consequently, he does not ask the question Who? about the present. By inference—
atītānāgate nayam netvā having induced the principle to past and future
(cf. Gāmini Samy. 11 <S.iv,328>)[a]—he does not regard the past or future person as past or future 'self', and does not ask the question Who? about the past or the future. (Cf. Māra's question in line 2 of PARAMATTHA SACCA §1.)

(The Milindapañha is a particularly misleading book.)
Metta,
Retro. ;D

FBM
01 Nov 11, 11:22
Maybe this is the main aspect to be considered. As far as I have understood, what we are is a compound of the five khandas which in the unaware mind takes them as a self as it happens with the six senses where the unaware mind thinks, for example, that the eye is myself. Same happens with the mind, mind contact and mind consciousness taken as self.

Sounds like a good way to phrase it to me.


I think that the idea of stream of consciousness has never been taught in the [main?] Nikayas. What I see are moments not a flow. Very tiny moments of consciousness, its object and its sense organ: An idea-the mind-contact=consciousness. Right View or Samadhitti is developed to contemplate that moments. An idea arise and fade with no trace in our mind until we grasp, crave and cling. IMO, there is no such thing as a stream.

I agree. It's a metaphor. Streams aren't genuine entities any more than people.


After the disruption of the body, where there is no more contact of the sense organ with its object, consciousness ceases. Or, where does such a stream goes?

Where does a song go when it ends? ;) Again, it's just a metaphor. Not to be taken literally.


The case of the poem... The poem is an idea, be it written or be it spoken, that makes contact with the sense organ called mind where this contact is the birthplace of mind consciousness of the poem which can be taken as mine or my self which can lead to the idea of a flow.

What is felt by others are the consequences of actions but once a person has gone there is no way that the death person can still act over others. Or am I wrong?

A person has hurt you in the past. The person harm your feelings and you have cling into such feeling tightly. The person is gone to another country or has died. That person can not harm you any more. Where the harm is, is in the mind that has cling tightly to the feeling of having being harmed.[/quote]

No, a dead person is no longer capable of creating new phenomena that could affect anything, as far as I know. Like you said, we harm ourselves by clinging to past experience and recreating the harm in our minds.


Consequences of past actions that will be experienced by others. Yes.

I think we are subject to consequences of past actions. Isn't this slightly different: actions from consequences?

I think that's what the sutta is calling rebirth instead of transmigration. The actions of the teacher who taught the poem having consequences on the student, who subsequently tells the poem to others, etc, etc.


Once the person that loved me has gone there is no more love from that loved person. Just the feeling of having being loved and, IMO, the clinging to this feeling can lead to the ideas of "streams of consciousness" and other speculative issues.

I think "stream of consciousness" describes something a little different. Keep in mind that it is a metaphor, not intended to claim that there is actually a "stream" that really exists somewhere. Present conditions are brought about by past conditions, and future conditions arise from the present ones. There is a quasi-causal continuum of phenomena, but phenomena are not entities. The mind evolved to be what is is because it helped our ancestors survive. The mind is less concerned with truth than survival. A useful fiction will survive as long as it aids survival and reproductive competitiveness. Nevertheless, there is the possibility of understanding what the mind is doing and seeing the fiction for what it is, I think. And I think that's what the Buddha was trying to teach us how to do.

:peace:

FBM
01 Nov 11, 11:35
Greetings,

Source; http://nanavira.xtreemhost.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=44&Itemid=72


Metta,
Retro. ;D

Hmm. I deeply respect what Nanavira Thera wrote, but I'm not sure where he's coming from in this respect.


Na ca so na ca añño, 'Neither he nor another'. This often-quoted dictum occurs in the Milindapañha somewhere, as the answer to the question 'When a man dies, who is reborn—he or another?'. This question is quite illegitimate, and any attempt to answer it cannot be less so. The question, in asking who is reborn, falls into sakkāyaditthi. It takes for granted the validity of the person as 'self'; for it is only about 'self' that this question—'Eternal (so) or perishable (añño)?'—can be asked. The answer also takes this 'self' for granted, since it allows that the question can be asked.


6. The king said: 'Is there such a thing, Nâgasena, as the soul 1?'

'In the highest sense, O king, there is no such thing 2.'



p. 112

'Very good, Nâgasena!'

____________________

7. [72] The king said: 'Is there any being, Nâgasena, who transmigrates from this body to another?'

'No, there is not.'

srivijaya
01 Nov 11, 12:08
He gives similes about how rebirth can happen without transmigration
Hi FBM,
It makes perfect sense to me. I would say that what we are discussing forms the basis for Buddha's direct insight into anatta. Where is the atta or self within the 12 links? nowhere to be found. Buddha must have seen this when recalling past abidings. The process unfolds of itself without the necessity of a 'being' to jump from life to life.

As to the process itself I have encountered two different takes; the first that it is a kind of linear event with craving, ignorance etc. at its root. The second that it is simultaneously and dualistically dependent-arisen. The two do not contradict each other in my opinion, yet I tend to incline to the latter as it more completely resolves the issue for me.

Namaste
Kris

FBM
01 Nov 11, 12:20
Hi FBM,
It makes perfect sense to me. I would say that what we are discussing forms the basis for Buddha's direct insight into anatta. Where is the atta or self within the 12 links? nowhere to be found. Buddha must have seen this when recalling past abidings. The process unfolds of itself without the necessity of a 'being' to jump from life to life.

As to the process itself I have encountered two different takes; the first that it is a kind of linear event with craving, ignorance etc. at its root. The second that it is simultaneously and dualistically dependent-arisen. The two do not contradict each other in my opinion, yet I tend to incline to the latter as it more completely resolves the issue for me.

Namaste
Kris

Thanks for that, Kris. I have to admit that I don't have enough background on those two different takes to understand what processes you're getting at. If you have the time, would you mind filling in more of the details?

Deshy
01 Nov 11, 13:17
It makes perfect sense to me.

Why not explain to the forum then, without using similes, how it all happens. This is a good place to start:
"A being has died... "

I don't understand this whole thing as clearly as you do just by reading a simile of lighting a candle using another candle or teacher-student knowledge migration. They are vague and unclear examples - beating around the bush without directly explaining how Mr.A dies and (his citta? nama/rupa? consciousness? kamma?) reappears or continues to any form of existence.

daverupa
01 Nov 11, 14:45
"Of course you are befuddled, Vaccha. Of course you are uncertain. When there is a reason for befuddlement in you, uncertainty arises. I designate the rebirth of one who has sustenance, Vaccha, and not of one without sustenance. Just as a fire burns with sustenance and not without sustenance, even so I designate the rebirth of one who has sustenance and not of one without sustenance."

SN 44.9 (http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/sn/sn44/sn44.009.than.html)


"But, Master Gotama, at the moment a flame is being swept on by the wind and goes a far distance, what do you designate as its sustenance then?"

"Vaccha, when a flame is being swept on by the wind and goes a far distance, I designate it as wind-sustained, for the wind is its sustenance at that time."

"And at the moment when a being sets this body aside and is not yet reborn in another body, what do you designate as its sustenance then?"

"Vaccha, when a being sets this body aside and is not yet reborn in another body, I designate it as craving-sustained, for craving is its sustenance at that time."

Discuss.

Esho
01 Nov 11, 14:46
I think "stream of consciousness" describes something a little different. Keep in mind that it is a metaphor, not intended to claim that there is actually a "stream" that really exists somewhere. Present conditions are brought about by past conditions, and future conditions arise from the present ones. There is a quasi-causal continuum of phenomena, but phenomena are not entities. The mind evolved to be what is is because it helped our ancestors survive. The mind is less concerned with truth than survival. A useful fiction will survive as long as it aids survival and reproductive competitiveness. Nevertheless, there is the possibility of understanding what the mind is doing and seeing the fiction for what it is, I think. And I think that's what the Buddha was trying to teach us how to do.

It is still difficult to point to a stream of consciousness any time that consciousness is a point discrete moment which arise in contact with its object. Eye-consciousness is a discrete moment as mind-consciousness is. Once the object is absent and contact fades, consciousness ceases. It can't continue in a way of a stream.

Mindfulness, meditation discovers that discrete and point aspect of a moment of consciousness with out leaving an stream. IMO, clinging and craving leads to the idea of a stream that sound like something everlasting, when it is not.

;D

Esho
01 Nov 11, 14:46
Why not explain to the forum then, without using similes, how it all happens. This is a good place to start:
"A being has died... "

It is a good idea.

FBM
01 Nov 11, 14:50
It is still difficult to point to a stream of consciousness any time that consciousness is a point discrete moment which arise in contact with its object. Eye-consciousness is a discrete moment as mind-consciousness is. Once the object is absent and contact fades, consciousness ceases. It can't continue in a way of a stream.

Mindfulness, meditation discovers that discrete and point aspect of a moment of consciousness with out leaving an stream. IMO, clinging and craving leads to the idea of a stream that sound like something everlasting, when it is not.

;D

I did mention that it's just a metaphor, didn't I? ;) And that a stream is no more an entity than a person?

Esho
01 Nov 11, 14:54
I did mention that it's just a metaphor, didn't I? ;)

Sure.


And that a stream is no more an entity than a person?

What I found difficult why the idea of a stream when, as far as my understanding goes, I haven't noticed it suggested in the Nikayas.

FBM
01 Nov 11, 14:57
"Of course you are befuddled, Vaccha. Of course you are uncertain. When there is a reason for befuddlement in you, uncertainty arises. I designate the rebirth of one who has sustenance, Vaccha, and not of one without sustenance. Just as a fire burns with sustenance and not without sustenance, even so I designate the rebirth of one who has sustenance and not of one without sustenance."

SN 44.9 (http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/sn/sn44/sn44.009.than.html)



Discuss.

The sustenance is the illusion born of ignorance, as is the "being":

"And at the moment when a being sets this body aside and is not yet reborn in another body, what do you designate as its sustenance then?"

"Vaccha, when a being sets this body aside and is not yet reborn in another body, I designate it as craving-sustained, for craving is its sustenance at that time."

Craving leads to the illusion of being a discrete, enduring entity. Craving is not a substance, but a behavior. As long as one craves future existences, one is caught up in the illusion of transmigration and cannot/will not understand that rebirth is not reincarnation. Once one is rid of attachment to being and becoming, one stops craving for future being and can see rebirth for what it is. It is not the continuation of the self, for there was never a self to begin with, only arising and ceasing phenomena.

Deshy
01 Nov 11, 15:30
"And at the moment when a being sets this body aside and is not yet reborn in another body, what do you designate as its sustenance then?"

"Vaccha, when a being sets this body aside and is not yet reborn in another body, I designate it as craving-sustained, for craving is its sustenance at that time."



Can you please point me to where you got this translation from?

stuka
01 Nov 11, 15:33
...Nagasena's teachings about rebirth are particularly interesting to me. He gives similes about how rebirth can happen without transmigration (reincarnation).

What exactly is your understanding of this "rebirth"?

Deshy
01 Nov 11, 16:32
"And at the moment when a being sets this body aside and is not yet reborn in another body, what do you designate as its sustenance then?"

"Vaccha, when a being sets this body aside and is not yet reborn in another body, I designate it as craving-sustained, for craving is its sustenance at that time."



What could be a better translation of the same sutta you are referring to is here:


Vaccha, at the time this body is laid down and the being is not born in another body, I say the supportive condition is craving.

http://www.metta.lk/tipitaka/2Sutta-Pitaka/3Samyutta-Nikaya/Samyutta4/43-Avyakata-Samyutta/01-Abyakatavaggo-e.html


Notice that it does not say "rebirth" but merely "birth". From my understanding, what the Buddha says here is that "craving" is the supportive condition for "birth" and this "birth" is the mental birth of the ego-self (a body). As long as there is craving, ego-self appears again and again. It makes perfect sense.

You seem to be interpreting the sutta as, when a being dies (leaves this "physical body") and is someone who has not eliminated defilement altogether, then taking his mental craving as a supportive condition, the being is reborn in another body?? Am I right? No matter how much you try to interpret this with similes or examples, it still sounds at lease remotely resembling to "reincarnation." If not please explain the process directly without being so vague about it.

Esho
01 Nov 11, 17:46
As long as there is craving, ego-self appears again and again.

Could be that there is where the illusion of a stream apears to our mind.

FBM
01 Nov 11, 23:39
What could be a better translation of the same sutta you are referring to is here:



Notice that it does not say "rebirth" but merely "birth". From my understanding, what the Buddha says here is that "craving" is the supportive condition for "birth" and this "birth" is the mental birth of the ego-self (a body). As long as there is craving, ego-self appears again and again. It makes perfect sense.

You seem to be interpreting the sutta as, when a being dies (leaves this "physical body") and is someone who has not eliminated defilement altogether, then taking his mental craving as a supportive condition, the being is reborn in another body?? Am I right? No matter how much you try to interpret this with similes or examples, it still sounds at lease remotely resembling to "reincarnation." If not please explain the process directly without being so vague about it.

Please read #15 on the previous page, by daverupa. That's the source of the excerpt you're mistaking as my position. My statements were made against that view, not for it. If you read my response to his post, it should be clearer.

FBM
01 Nov 11, 23:51
What exactly is your understanding of this "rebirth"?

Perfectly mundane and perfectly in line with the current principles of physics. That there's no 'thing' to be reborn in the first place. No new 'thing' comes into being in childbirth and no 'thing' is lost when the body systems decouple. The conservation laws of physics aren't violated. Matter and energy combine temporarily, then keep going their merry ways. It's OK to describe people and minds as emergent properties, because emergent properties aren't fundamental entities; they're dependent upon matter and energy for their quasi-existence.

Rebirth is a hi-jacking of the pre-existing concept of reincarnation, just as the Buddha hi-jacked the term 'kamma' and made it mean something quite opposed to the original. Reincarnation pre-supposes entities and essences that might transmigrate; rebirth doesn't. The simile of the poetry teacher is the clearest example to me. Phenomena replicate, not people, because there are no people (selves) in the first place. That replication of phenomena is rebirth, as far as I can tell at the moment. Of course, my understanding will change over time.

Deshy
02 Nov 11, 02:27
Reincarnation pre-supposes entities and essences that might transmigrate; rebirth doesn't.
Understood


Phenomena replicate, not people, because there are no people (selves) in the first place. That replication of phenomena is rebirth

Say a person lives a good life in society. Even after his death, the things he did or said would remain and evolve in society. If you build a house, many generations will live in it. If you write a book, many generations will read it. If you teach your kids, they will become parents and tech their own kids. It goes on... Is this what you mean by replication of phenomena?

FBM
02 Nov 11, 02:34
Yes, that and more. Other abstract things, emergent phenomena, are included. For example, you beat your kid and make her into a distrustful, angry person, which affects her relationships for the rest of her life, potentially, which affect innumerable people in a potentially infinate number of ways. Patterns of behavior tend to replicate. Not in a strict deterministic way, but tendencies.

To the best of my understanding, even what we commonly consider to be solid objects are only representationally real, not things-in-themselves. Even our corporeality is a mental construct. Useful, even necessary, but it creates an illusion of certainty and continuously existant entities. I've found this to be a position consistent with ordinary observation as well meditative absorption experiences.

Esho
02 Nov 11, 03:15
For example, you beat your kid and make her into a distrustful, angry person, which affects her relationships for the rest of her life, potentially, which affect innumerable people in a potentially infinite number of ways. Patterns of behavior tend to replicate. Not in a strict deterministic way, but tendencies.

We were talking about this as a stream of consciousness. Like the case of the poem. The poem is not consciousness nor a stream. It is a mind object.

The harm that the kid feels is not because a stream of consciousness ; it is a feeling because she/he remembers a past event, as an image of being hurt. An image that is an object of mind-consciousness. I don't think that those are streams but objects of mind/eye/... consciousness.

:confused:

FBM
02 Nov 11, 04:04
We were talking about this as a stream of consciousness. Like the case of the poem. The poem is not consciousness nor a stream. It is a mind object.

The harm that the kid feels is not because a stream of consciousness ; it is a feeling because she/he remembers a past event, as an image of being hurt. An image that is an object of mind-consciousness. I don't think that those are streams but objects of mind/eye/... consciousness.

:confused:

I'm also confused by the difficulty. Maybe the word "metaphor" means something different to you than it means to me? I'm not saying that consciousness is really a stream, nor is a poem. It appears to be streaming because the infinitesmally small thought-moments are sequenced by the mind into an ongoing, coherent event. That's necessary for organisms to behave coherently with the environment in order to survive.

Also, if you reify even thought objects into entities that persist through time, you're making the same mistake as reifying a person out of experience. Every memory is a new event, not the same event repeating itself. Yet its pattern is the result of an experience, so it's not completely random, either.

When you hear a poem and then recite the poem, it's not really the same poem. It's a completely new event, patterened after and dependent upon the hearing of the poem the first time. Poems aren't entities any more than people, and the repetition of patterns experienced as people is the rebirth of the person.

As far as I can tell. ;)

Esho
02 Nov 11, 04:05
The Cha Chaka Sutta (M148) tells us:

"Dependent on mind and mind objects [could be the "poem case" as mind object], mind-consciousness arises. When the three meet, there is contact. Dependent on contact, there is feeling, dependent on feeling there is craving.

[...]

If one were to say, craving is self, this is not fitting. For the arising and passing away of craving is seen [discerned].

Where is re-birth from this "passing away" if it has passed away?

:confused:

Esho
02 Nov 11, 04:18
Poems aren't entities any more than people, and the repetition of patterns experienced as people is the rebirth of the person.

Here is where I get stuck, FBM. Maybe is just about semantics. The teachings of Buddha are very accurate about rebirth. What I experience when reading a poem is just an image, as a mind object... not a rebirth of any person, even if the poem is recited by someone... what really happens are mind objects seducing mind as a sense organ. In the unaware mind it can be the case of the birth of self... why re-birht?

:confused:

FBM
02 Nov 11, 07:53
The Cha Chaka Sutta (M148) tells us:

"Dependent on mind and mind objects [could be the "poem case" as mind object], mind-consciousness arises. When the three meet, there is contact. Dependent on contact, there is feeling, dependent on feeling there is craving.

[...]

If one were to say, craving is self, this is not fitting. For the arising and passing away of craving is seen [discerned].

Where is re-birth from this "passing away" if it has passed away?

:confused:

I'm not sure I understand you. I'm not saying craving or anything else is self, and I'm not saying self is reborn. I don't see a self to be reborn. I don't think people are reborn because I don't think that people are selves or entities at all. There is the arising and cessation of phenomena, but phenomena aren't, by definition, entities. Phenomena can be reborn when they are picked up on and repeated, or even just aspects of them. Maybe that's the source of our confusion?

In other words, to say that there is rebirth is not equal to saying that there are people or selves that are reborn.

As is commonly known, suttas can seem to contradict each other here and there because the Buddha adapted his words to the audience. If the suttas where the Buddha talks about rebirth of persons, then maybe his immediate audience was incapable of understanding a more advanced teaching. Anatta and rebirth are not contradictory, because phenomena are reborn, not selves.

Sorry if I'm not explaining my ideas clearly enough! :peace:

FBM
02 Nov 11, 08:00
Here is where I get stuck, FBM. Maybe is just about semantics. The teachings of Buddha are very accurate about rebirth. What I experience when reading a poem is just an image, as a mind object... not a rebirth of any person, even if the poem is recited by someone... what really happens are mind objects seducing mind as a sense organ. In the unaware mind it can be the case of the birth of self... why re-birht?

:confused:

It seems to me that you're reifying "poem", "image" and "mind object" as if they were fixed entities. Instead, they are fleeting, transient phenomena. I don't have a problem with saying that they're reborn when they are picked up and reproduced. Nor do I have a problem with the common expressing "giving birth to an idea." It's just a way of using language as a tool to point to an idea. The word isn't the idea, just a pointer.

Deshy
02 Nov 11, 10:03
Yes, that and more. Other abstract things, emergent phenomena, are included. For example, you beat your kid and make her into a distrustful, angry person, which affects her relationships for the rest of her life, potentially, which affect innumerable people in a potentially infinate number of ways. Patterns of behavior tend to replicate. Not in a strict deterministic way, but tendencies.

Ok so you beat your kid who, let's say, turns out to be an angry, bitter person who beats his own kids who in tern become bitter, spiteful people. How does this explain rebirth?

Deshy
02 Nov 11, 10:10
To the best of my understanding, even what we commonly consider to be solid objects are only representationally real, not things-in-themselves. Even our corporeality is a mental construct.

I disagree. It makes no sense to think that the world does not exist outside of our sensory sphere imo. You leave home to work. The house is no longer within the scope of your sensory experiences. Does that mean the house cease to exist? :confused:

stuka
02 Nov 11, 12:52
Perfectly mundane and perfectly in line with the current principles of physics. That there's no 'thing' to be reborn in the first place. No new 'thing' comes into being in childbirth and no 'thing' is lost when the body systems decouple. The conservation laws of physics aren't violated. Matter and energy combine temporarily, then keep going their merry ways. It's OK to describe people and minds as emergent properties, because emergent properties aren't fundamental entities; they're dependent upon matter and energy for their quasi-existence.

Rebirth is a hi-jacking of the pre-existing concept of reincarnation, just as the Buddha hi-jacked the term 'kamma' and made it mean something quite opposed to the original. Reincarnation pre-supposes entities and essences that might transmigrate; rebirth doesn't. The simile of the poetry teacher is the clearest example to me. Phenomena replicate, not people, because there are no people (selves) in the first place. That replication of phenomena is rebirth, as far as I can tell at the moment. Of course, my understanding will change over time.

I see, but then why call it :"re-birth", which has become synonymous with the abhimahavajrya "reincarnation-by-another=name"?


The ambiguity of using the term is no small source of confusion in discussion of the Dhamma.

stuka
02 Nov 11, 12:55
To the best of my understanding, even what we commonly consider to be solid objects are only representationally real, not things-in-themselves.


That is Vedantism. It can be disproved by simply walking out in front of a city bus.

Esho
02 Nov 11, 13:29
If the suttas where the Buddha talks about rebirth of persons, then maybe his immediate audience was incapable of understanding a more advanced teaching. Anatta and rebirth are not contradictory, because phenomena are reborn, not selves.

FBM, can you quote those suttas about more advanced teachings where Buddha exposes that Anatta and rebirth are not contradictory? Maybe this can give some light into the discussion.

;D

Esho
02 Nov 11, 13:38
I don't have a problem with saying that they're reborn when they are picked up and reproduced.

So, if I photocopy a text or an entire book... is the idea "reborn"? Isn't the idea is just there as an sense object of mind?

:confused:

FBM
02 Nov 11, 14:56
Ok so you beat your kid who, let's say, turns out to be an angry, bitter person who beats his own kids who in tern become bitter, spiteful people. How does this explain rebirth?

It wouldn't explain the rebirth of a person, an entity, but I don't see how one could reconcile the belief in selves and entities that could be reborn with the concept of anatta . It would explain the rebirth of selfless phenomena, though.

FBM
02 Nov 11, 15:38
I disagree. It makes no sense to think that the world does not exist outside of our sensory sphere imo. You leave home to work. The house is no longer within the scope of your sensory experiences. Does that mean the house cease to exist? :confused:

I didn't mean to say that the world outside our sensory sphere doesn't exist, did I. If I did, it was my mistake. That would be the extreme of nihilism. But neither do I feel comfortable with the extreme of eternalism, as it overreaches and claims to know what it doesn't really know. What I was trying to distinguish was direct realism, also called naive realism, from representational realism, but I wasn't taking sides.

Subjectively, there seems to be the observed and the observer, with the observer directly apprehending the object observed. This is direct realism. The world of subjects and objects.

Then there's the objection that the senses mediate perception. Whatever stimuli the senses encounter are translated into a representation of the external object to become a mental object, and the mind can only be aware of this translation, the mental object, and not the thing-in-itself that we assume stimulated the sensory organ(s). Thus, to say that objects exist beyond this representation is taking an epistemological leap that can never be verified, because we can never penetrate the epistemological veil in order to directly apprehend something on the "other side" of our sensory representation.

So, does the house exist when we're not perceiving it? To answer either yes or no would be to take an extreme view; one annihilationist and the other eternalist. The intellectually honest answer would be to admit that, strictly speaking, we don't actually know anything about anything except our perceptions, and perhaps can never know. Inference can only lead to probabilistic knowledge, not certain truth.

But people don't like to say they don't know, so they usually take one side or the other.

The formulation that I'm trying to explain is somewhere in the middle. There is something, but it's not what our commonsense understanding of it is, except of course, if you're "enlightened". Rebirth does happen from one perspective, doesn't from another perspective, both does and doesn't from yet another, and neither does nor doesn't from another.

FBM
02 Nov 11, 15:41
That is Vedantism. It can be disproved by simply walking out in front of a city bus.

Samuel Johnson: "I refute it thus." But he didn't refute anything with that statement. He only exposed the fact that he didn't understand what Berkely was saying in the first place. The experience of getting hit by a bus is a mental experience, mediated by the senses (however briefly), just like kicking a rock.

FBM
02 Nov 11, 15:44
I see, but then why call it :"re-birth", which has become synonymous with the abhimahavajrya "reincarnation-by-another=name"?


The ambiguity of using the term is no small source of confusion in discussion of the Dhamma.

I mentioned earlier how the Buddha intentionally hijacked concepts from Hinduism as a pointed reaction to and contradiction of their beliefs. The Buddha wasn't speaking to us 2,500 years later discussing the dhamma. He was speaking to his contemporaries, who would have understood the pun, the allusion, the connotation. Makes perfect sense to me.

stuka
02 Nov 11, 15:50
I didn't mean to say that the world outside our sensory sphere doesn't exist, did I. If I did, it was my mistake. That would be the extreme of nihilism. But neither do I feel comfortable with the extreme of eternalism, as it overreaches and claims to know what it doesn't really know. What I was trying to distinguish was direct realism, also called naive realism, from representational realism, but I wasn't taking sides.

The Buddha refused to enter that arena for that reason. You seem to be falling into Black/White, either/or thinking. The Buddha stepped out of that box entirely.



Subjectively, there seems to be the observed and the observer, with the observer directly apprehending the object observed. This is direct realism. The world of subjects and objects.


But there is nonetheless something here.



Then there's the objection that the senses mediate perception. Whatever stimuli the senses encounter are translated into a representation of the external object to become a mental object, and the mind can only be aware of this translation, the mental object, and not the thing-in-itself that we assume stimulated the sensory organ(s). Thus, to say that objects exist beyond this representation is taking an epistemological leap that can never be verified, because we can never penetrate the epistemological veil in order to directly apprehend something on the "other side" of our sensory representation.

Either one is an extreme. Both are confined in the same box that the Buddha stepped out of with his own teachings.



So, does the house exist when we're not perceiving it? To answer either yes or no would be to take an extreme view; one annihilationist and the other eternalist. The intellectually honest answer would be to admit that, strictly speaking, we don't actually know anything about anything except our perceptions, and perhaps can never know. Inference can only lead to probabilistic knowledge, not certain truth.


The answer, with respect to the Dhamma, is "Doesn't apply'.



But people don't like to say they don't know, so they usually take one side or the other.

The formulation that I'm trying to explain is somewhere in the middle. There is something, but it's not what our commonsense understanding of it is, except of course, if you're "enlightened". Rebirth does happen from one perspective, doesn't from another perspective, both does and doesn't from yet another, and neither does nor doesn't from another.

The Buddha didn't claim to answer from the middle of any and every given set of extremes. He taught his own Middle Way.

stuka
02 Nov 11, 15:53
I mentioned earlier how the Buddha intentionally hijacked concepts from Hinduism as a pointed reaction to and contradiction of their beliefs. The Buddha wasn't speaking to us 2,500 years later discussing the dhamma. He was speaking to his contemporaries, who would have understood the pun, the allusion, the connotation. Makes perfect sense to me.

What the Buddha hijacked from his comtemporaries 2500 years ago was reincarnation, not the later "re-birth", which was contrived entirely as a workaround to get past the Buddhas objections to reincarnation.

FBM
02 Nov 11, 15:54
FBM, can you quote those suttas about more advanced teachings where Buddha exposes that Anatta and rebirth are not contradictory? Maybe this can give some light into the discussion.

;D

Do you think rebirth and anatta are contradictory? It's nearly 2 a.m. here, so I can't do the research right at the moment, but I will, if you like. In the meantime, consider that the Buddha taught both. If there was anything like a self involved in rebirth, it would be a contradiction. The rebirth of phenomena doesn't require or involve selves/beings/spirits/entities, and does explain how present conditions have consequences on future conditions. Phenomena are not selves, but neither are they nothing. They are fleeting, transient, but not non-existent.

Wish I could do more, but I do have to work tomorrow... :peace:

Esho
02 Nov 11, 16:34
Do you think rebirth and anatta are contradictory?

The experience I have with the teachings of Buddha is really recent, not only in the length of its study, but in understanding, realizing and practice.

Maybe I am confused. I see some contradiction in the realization of anatta as a frame to believe in rebirth.

I still think that rebirth was something not taught by Buddha;

that what was taught is the birth of conceit, of self-hood, of me and I and mine which is different from the idea of rebirth seen when a poem is read or heard. I do not see where a rebirth is there?

I never have experienced the rebirth of Mozart in his Horn Concertos. It is told a guy called Mozart wrote them.

But what I experience is the object of ear and mind consciousness, which can lead to clinging and craving to feelings and ideas around.

That is the far I can go.


In the meantime, consider that the Buddha taught both.

That is why is important to go through a sutta where this is clearly taught.


Phenomena are not selves, but neither are they nothing. They are fleeting, transient, but not non-existent.

Maybe here is where I get stuck. Why things and their happenings are come to be called "rebirth"?

Especially, when each phenomenon has its proper set of conceptual understanding...

A DNA replicates, do not rebirth. A crystal can propagate its geometry, but do not rebirth.

A cell goes through a mitotic process but I do not see re-births.

A tail of a lizard can grow again when it is released to cheat a cat and save its life but the tail do not rebirth.

A son or a daughter are not a rebirth of their parents... even when parents really love to think about that!

This seems a bit like the poems of Thich Nhat Hanh about the climatic regulation of rainfall and water cycle... isn't it?

I suggest to have a working definition of rebirth in the frame of the teachings of Buddha, or in the frame of a Pali functional definition so not to get entangled into vagueness of its definition, because seems that any phenomenon can be or make a case for rebirth and then it is not needed at all as a tangible object of understanding.


Wish I could do more, but I do have to work tomorrow... :peace:


It's nearly 2 a.m. here, so I can't do the research right at the moment, but I will, if you like.

I know that... no problem... do not rush yourself... go and rest and sleep... we have plenty of time for this.... thanks very much for taking your time FBM.

:hands:

FBM
03 Nov 11, 00:30
The Buddha refused to enter that arena for that reason. You seem to be falling into Black/White, either/or thinking. The Buddha stepped out of that box entirely.

Black-and-white thinking offers only 2 options. The tetralemma offers four:
1) yes
2) no
3) both (rejectioin of black-and-white false dilemma)
4) neither (does not apply)



But there is nonetheless something here.

We agree on that, at least.



Either one is an extreme. Both are confined in the same box that the Buddha stepped out of with his own teachings.

Yes. Option 3) above.



The answer, with respect to the Dhamma, is "Doesn't apply'.

Yes. Option 4) above.



The Buddha didn't claim to answer from the middle of any and every given set of extremes. He taught his own Middle Way.

Not sure how this applies to what I wrote, since I didn't claim that he did or that I was following his example by what I wrote. non sequitur

stuka
03 Nov 11, 00:34
Do you think rebirth and anatta are contradictory?

Yes.


It's nearly 2 a.m. here, so I can't do the research right at the moment, but I will, if you like.

Please do.



In the meantime, consider that the Buddha taught both.

Not really. He may have referenced people's beliefs in them in order to get his point across, and he certainly discusses these beliefs a great deal with people who believed in them, but that does not make them intrinsic to his own system.



If there was anything like a self involved in rebirth, it would be a contradiction.

This sounds very much like a retreat to vagueness. In order for there to be "re-birth", there has to be something to have been born once, die, and be born again.



The rebirth of phenomena doesn't require or involve selves/beings/spirits/entities, and does explain how present conditions have consequences on future conditions.

What do you mean by "phenomena"?

What you have been describing as a definition of your "rebirth" is really more along the lines of cause and effect, rather than some "re-birth".




Phenomena are not selves, but neither are they nothing. They are fleeting, transient, but not non-existent.

And this is really just an ontological declaration, stuck within an ontological box. Again, the Buddha stepped out of that box -- ontology is irrelevant to his Dhamma.

stuka
03 Nov 11, 00:43
Samuel Johnson: "I refute it thus." But he didn't refute anything with that statement.

Sure he did.



He only exposed the fact that he didn't understand what Berkely was saying in the first place.

He understood it perfectly well and refuted it by stepping out of the box of ontological sophistry. I would not have expected to get the Dead Parrot routine from you.


The experience of getting hit by a bus is a mental experience, mediated by the senses (however briefly), just like kicking a rock.

Mentation is involved, and that and our sensory system is how we experience that event. But the bus is real.

But the whole argument is still is irrelevant to the Buddha's Dhamma. A wilderness of views, etc.

stuka
03 Nov 11, 00:54
Black-and-white thinking offers only 2 options. The tetralemma offers four:
1) yes
2) no
3) both (rejectioin of black-and-white false dilemma)
4) neither (does not apply)

I was going to mention that as well. But again the Buddha did not step into that box. And your #3 is not a rejection of a false dilemma, it is just another of the four subjective-view options within the box. The Buddha refused to take ANY of these subjective-view positions.





We agree on that, at least.




Yes. Option 3) above.

Nope. The Buddha refused #3.



Yes. Option 4) above.


Option 4 is not "doesn't apply", either.



Not sure how this applies to what I wrote, since I didn't claim that he did or that I was following his example by what I wrote. non sequitur

You said:


But people don't like to say they don't know, so they usually take one side or the other.

The formulation that I'm trying to explain is somewhere in the middle.

--and that is what I am addressing there. On point.

Further, you claim:


Rebirth does happen from one perspective, doesn't from another perspective, both does and doesn't from yet another, and neither does nor doesn't from another.

But the Buddha refused to adopt ANY of the four positions when a tetralemma was posed. Any of the positions was still trapped in an irrelevant box.

FBM
03 Nov 11, 00:54
The experience I have with the teachings of Buddha is really recent, not only in the length of its study, but in understanding, realizing and practice.

Maybe I am confused. I see some contradiction in the realization of anatta as a frame to believe in rebirth.

I still think that rebirth was something not taught by Buddha;

The suttas portray him as talking about his own past lives, and the future lives of individuals based on their intentional deeds. On the other hand, anatta refutes reincarnation/transmigration of any sort of spirit, and the classification of the world of experience into the 5 khandas/skandas refutes the reincarnation/transmigration of consciousness or anything else. That's a logical problem, because the two seem contradictory.

Part of what I'm saying is that as long as one is hooked on the real existence of individuals and entities that endure through time as the same being, you run into this logical problem. I'm describing my way out of it by rejecting entities in favor of processes and phenomena. No being is being replicated or reborn, only patterns of behavior. Ultimately, I think, when we think we're interacting with another person, we're only interacting with patterns of behavior. Deeds with no doer, thoughts with no thinker, etc.


that what was taught is the birth of conceit, of self-hood, of me and I and mine which is different from the idea of rebirth seen when a poem is read or heard. I do not see where a rebirth is there?

If there is no thinker, who or what is being reborn when conceit, thoughts of self-hood, me, etc, arise?



I never have experienced the rebirth of Mozart in his Horn Concertos. It is told a guy called Mozart wrote them.

But what I experience is the object of ear and mind consciousness, which can lead to clinging and craving to feelings and ideas around.

That is the far I can go.

I know it's almost impossible to communicate without nouns and pronouns, but when you say "I" experience those consciousnesses, that's the reification of phenomena into an entity. It's quite an exercise in meditation to remove the self part of the equation, but it seems to be worthwhile, healthy practice that can lead to insight.



That is why is important to go through a sutta where this is clearly taught.

Maybe I'll have some time this afternoon. I heard that there's a chance that my 1 p.m. class may be cancelled. ;)



Maybe here is where I get stuck. Why things and their happenings are come to be called "rebirth"?

Especially, when each phenomenon has its proper set of conceptual understanding...

A DNA replicates, do not rebirth. A crystal can propagate its geometry, but do not rebirth.

A cell goes through a mitotic process but I do not see re-births.

A tail of a lizard can grow again when it is released to cheat a cat and save its life but the tail do not rebirth.

A son or a daughter are not a rebirth of their parents... even when parents really love to think about that!

This seems a bit like the poems of Thich Nhat Hanh about the climatic regulation of rainfall and water cycle... isn't it?

I suggest to have a working definition of rebirth in the frame of the teachings of Buddha, or in the frame of a Pali functional definition so not to get entangled into vagueness of its definition, because seems that any phenomenon can be or make a case for rebirth and then it is not needed at all as a tangible object of understanding.





I know that... no problem... do not rush yourself... go and rest and sleep... we have plenty of time for this.... thanks very much for taking your time FBM.

:hands:

Honestly, I don't care if people call anything rebirth at all. If I can play off Shakespeare, "I come not to praise rebirth, but to bury it." ;)

A lot of people are attached to the idea of rebirth. I'm not. But if people are going to continue to use the term, which the inevitably will, then I want to be prepared with a schemata that keeps the word, but does not allow anything like the rebirth of a person, spirit, consciousness, etc etc. In other words, hijacking the hijacked term back.

In science-based terms, all I have done is take the concepts of the conservation of matter and energy and apply it to Buddhist philosophy. I don't see anything happening outside the scope of thermodynamics.

KevinSolway
03 Nov 11, 09:32
I've enjoyed reading this thread, and I consider this subject to be the very essence of Buddhism since it deals directly with the nature of the self, and of existence.

It is my view that "birth" in Buddhism has nothing whatsoever to do with physical birth, but that it refers to the birth of the false "I", which repeatedly occurs in non-Buddhas. Likewise "Ageing and death" refers to the natural ending of happiness that is associated with attachments. These things happen moment by moment.

I get the feeling that many on this forum will be sympathetic to this view.

I've made a video which outlines my disagreement with the popular view of rebirth, and I welcome responses from the people here. I do realize that not all Buddhists believe in the literal interpretation, and that many Buddhists have no opinion on the matter at all.

Nonsense in Buddhism II
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4jmx181ODtQ

Aloka
03 Nov 11, 09:49
Hello Kevin,

I'm wondering if responses to the video could be the subject of another thread ? Anyway, I'll leave that up to the moderators to decide/create.


with kind wishes,

Aloka ;D

Lazy Eye
03 Nov 11, 10:45
Hi FBM,

The Sampasadanya Sutta (http://www.buddhistlibraryonline.net/en/the-teachings/suttapitaka/dighanikaya/pathikavaggapali/28-dn28-sampasadaniya-sutta/62-Sampasadaniya.html) (DN 28) has an interesting passage:


Unsurpassable is the way in which the Exalted One teaches the Norm concerning decrees of discernment ;- that there are four such degrees, namely : Some recluse or brahmin by means of ardour, of effort, of application, of strenuous earnestness, of careful concentration, reaches up to such rapture of thought that with rapt mind he meditates introspectively on just this bodily organism from the sole of the foot to the crown of the head, as a hide-bound mass of manifold uncleanness, thus : — In this body are hairs, down, nails, teeth, skin, flesh, sinews, bone, marrow, kidney, heart, liver, membrane, spleen, lungs, bowels, mesentery, stomach, faeces, bile, phlegm, pus, blood, sweat, fat, tears, saliva, snot, synovial fluid, urine. This is the first degree of discernment. Again, lord, such a recluse or brahman, so rapt in thought, goes on to meditate after that on the human skeleton [as covered by] skin, flesh and blood. This is the second degree of discernment. Again, lord, he goes on after that to discern the unbroken flux of human consciousness established both in this world and in another world. This is the third degree of discernment. Again, lord, he goes on to discern the unbroken flux of human consciousness as not established either in this world or another world. This is the fourth degree of discernment. Unsurpassable is this, lord, concerning degrees of discernment.

The phrase "the unbroken flux of human consciousness" here could also be translated as "stream of consciousness". The original Pali term is viññāṇa-sota. So there appears to be some basis in the suttas for the concept of mindstream which turns up later in Abhidhamma and Mahayana.

As we can see, though, there is a sequence being mapped out here -- moving from discernment of the stream of consciousness as established in the world, to discerning it as not established. Similarly, on the night of the Buddha's awakening there was a progression of realizations, culminating in liberation, and there is also the distinction made elsewhere between right view with and without asavas (fermentations).

Maybe this adds a perspective we can use in understanding Nagasena's teaching to King Milinda, who was after all a worldling -- although a powerful one!

stuka
03 Nov 11, 12:15
Part of what I'm saying is that as long as one is hooked on the real existence of individuals and entities that endure through time as the same being, you run into this logical problem.

I am not convinced that it is a logical problem only if one is "hooked on the real existence of individuals and entities".




I'm describing my way out of it by rejecting entities in favor of processes and phenomena. ]

Rejecting people as entities is one thing, but rejecting a city bus as a real thing is quite another and an absurdity.



No being is being replicated or reborn, only patterns of behavior.



BINGO. So why call it this ambiguous and easily equivocated and obfuscated "re-birth" -- why not call it "replication of patterns of behavior", or "reactivation", or something that won't be so readily confused or misrepresented?


Ultimately, I think, when we think we're interacting with another person, we're only interacting with patterns of behavior. Deeds with no doer, thoughts with no thinker, etc.


Reverting to vedanta and ontological speculative view is unnecessary here.

stuka
03 Nov 11, 12:19
Hi FBM,

The phrase "the unbroken flux of human consciousness" here could also be translated as "stream of consciousness". The original Pali term is viññāṇa-sota. So there appears to be some basis in the suttas for the concept of mindstream which turns up later in Abhidhamma and Mahayana.


Lazy.. Don't believe everything you read at Drama Wheel.


"Sota" means "ear".

FBM
03 Nov 11, 12:21
I've enjoyed reading this thread, and...

Thank you, Kevin. I've only watched part 1 so far (will watch part 2 after posting this), and I think you've hit the nail (candle? ;)) on the head or closely enough thereabouts. It does seem relevant to this thread, and I hope it draws some thoughtful comments. :peace:

Edit: I just watched part 2. :up2:

stuka
03 Nov 11, 14:07
Honestly, I don't care if people call anything rebirth at all. If I can play off Shakespeare, "I come not to praise rebirth, but to bury it." ;)




By all means then bury it rather than equivocating the equivocation and adding to the confusion/obfuscation/misrepresentation. If everyone is using the same word and it means entirely different things for each of them based on entirely different paradigms, there is no communication. It's just a bunch of people talking past each other.

Lazy Eye
03 Nov 11, 14:07
Lazy.. Don't believe everything you read at Drama Wheel.


"Sota" means "ear".

Sota as in sotapanna, I believe. Means "stream".

DW was not my source for information about this sutta.

Deshy
03 Nov 11, 15:56
It wouldn't explain the rebirth of a person, an entity, but I don't see how one could reconcile the belief in selves and entities that could be reborn with the concept of anatta . It would explain the rebirth of selfless phenomena, though.

Ok, so this conversation has gone a long way but you still didn't explain what selfless phenomena continue/reborn after death. You keep talking about this so why not explain this process more thoroughly for us please. Let's start with how people generally believe in rebirth. Say for example, Mr. A remembers one of his past lives as Mr. B. So, clearly B was a man who lived and died. A is still living. How do you link A and B in terms of selfless phenomena?

stuka
03 Nov 11, 16:17
Sota as in sotapanna, I believe. Means "stream".


Sota as in sotavinnana, "ear-consciousness". Means "ear".

Deshy
03 Nov 11, 16:22
By the way, paraloka means other worlds not next world/life. "Other worlds" are not necessarily worlds experienced after death

Lazy Eye
03 Nov 11, 17:57
Sota as in sotavinnana, "ear-consciousness". Means "ear".

You appear to be mixing up two different terms. The phrase used in the sutta is viññāṇasota. The sutta passage would make little sense if it was referring to "ear consciousness".

The Pali text can be found here (http://dhammacitta.org/dcpedia/DN_28:_Sampasadaniya_Sutta/Pali).


Puna caparaṃ, bhante, idhekacco samaṇo vā brāhmaṇo vā ātappamanvāya…pe… tathārūpaṃ cetosamādhiṃ phusati, yathāsamāhite citte imameva kāyaṃ uddhaṃ pādatalā adho kesamatthakā tacapariyantaṃ pūraṃ nānappakārassa asucino paccavekkhati – ‘atthi imasmiṃ kāye kesā lomā…pe… lasikā mutta’nti. Atikkamma ca purisassa chavimaṃsalohitaṃ aṭṭhiṃ paccavekkhati. Purisassa ca viññāṇasotaṃ pajānāti, ubhayato abbocchinnaṃ idha loke patiṭṭhitañca paraloke patiṭṭhitañca. Ayaṃ tatiyā dassanasamāpatti.

‘‘Puna caparaṃ, bhante, idhekacco samaṇo vā brāhmaṇo vā ātappamanvāya…pe… tathārūpaṃ cetosamādhiṃ phusati, yathāsamāhite citte imameva kāyaṃ uddhaṃ pādatalā adho kesamatthakā tacapariyantaṃ pūraṃ nānappakārassa asucino paccavekkhati – ‘atthi imasmiṃ kāye kesā lomā…pe… lasikā mutta’nti. Atikkamma ca purisassa chavimaṃsalohitaṃ aṭṭhiṃ paccavekkhati. Purisassa ca viññāṇasotaṃ pajānāti, ubhayato abbocchinnaṃ idha loke appatiṭṭhitañca paraloke appatiṭṭhitañca. Ayaṃ catutthā dassanasamāpatti. Etadānuttariyaṃ, bhante, dassanasamāpattīsu.

stuka
03 Nov 11, 18:48
You appear to be mixing up two different terms. The phrase used in the sutta is viññāṇasota. The sutta passage would make little sense if it was referring to "ear consciousness".


And this is the only place in the Canon that this version of the word appears.

Of course it would make "little sense" for one who is looking at it from inside a reincarnation-belief box.




The Pali text can be found here (http://dhammacitta.org/dcpedia/DN_28:_Sampasadaniya_Sutta/Pali).


And you are going to translate for us?

stuka
03 Nov 11, 19:02
More info:


vinnàna-sota (in DN 28)

Post by ********** » Wed May 18, 2011 1:39 am

Greetings,

I have been advised that the term 'vinnàna-sota' is found in just one Pali discourse, being DN 28, where the Venerable Sariputta was praising the virtues of the Lord Buddha.

The term 'vinnàna-sota' is found in the Dassanasamāpattidesanā, apparently in reference to one of the Lord Buddha's supernormal psychic powers

the Pali is as follows:

Purisassa ca viññāṇasotaṃ pajānāti, ubhayato abbocchinnaṃ idha loke patiṭṭhitañca paraloke patiṭṭhitañca.

Purisassa ca viññāṇasotaṃ pajānāti, ubhayato abbocchinnaṃ idha loke appatiṭṭhitañca paraloke appatiṭṭhitañca.


Is it possible that the abbocchinnaṃ viññāṇasotaṃ (uninterupted stream of consciousness) refers to the Lord Buddha's consciousness (divine eye), or does the order of the Pali words elimate this possibility?

Metta,
Retro. :)



Re: vinnàna-sota (in DN 28)

Post by ^^^^^^^^^ » Wed May 18, 2011 4:45 am
Hmm, the standard vipassana "proxy" pajānāti is used to describe that "someone" is "seeing" viññāṇasotaṃ being established (patiṭṭhita) in this world or that world, rather than viññāṇasotaṃ being the agent (instead of the patient) of the pajānāti verb. At least that is how I read this.

Besides, I don't think that the pajānāti is necessarily being performed by the Buddha in this passage, since the head of that passage on the 4 dassanasamāpatti (attainment of vision) simply refers to -


Idha, bhante, ekacco samaṇo vā brāhmaṇo vā ātappamanvāya padhānamanvāya anuyogamanvāya appamādamanvāya sammāmanasikāramanvāya tathārūpaṃ cetosamādhiṃ phusati...

Here, some ascetic or brahmin, by means of ardour, endeavour, application, vigilance and due attention, reaches such a level of concentration that .... (followed by the 4 dassanasamāpatti )


Here is the passage in question, spoken by Sariputta as he waxes romantic about his admiration for the Buddha:


7. ‘Also unsurpassed is the Blessed Lord’s way of teaching Dhamma in regard to the attainment of vision in four ways. Here, some ascetic or Brahmin, by means of ardour, endeavour, application, vigilance and due attention, reaches such a level of concentration that he considers just this body — upwards from the soles of the feet and downwards from the crown of the head, enclosed by the skin and full of manifold impurities: “In this body there are head-hairs, body-hairs, nails, teeth, skin, flesh, sinews, bones, bone-marrow, kidneys, heart, liver, pleura, spleen, lungs, mesentery, bowels, stomach, excrement, bile, phlegm, pus, blood, sweat, fat, tears, tallow, saliva, snot, synovic fluid, urine.” (as Sutta 22, verse 5) That is the first attainment of vision. Again, having done this and gone further, he contemplates the bones covered with skin, flesh and blood. This is the second attainment. Again, having done this and gone further, he comes to know the unbroken stream of human consciousness as established both in this world and in the next. That is the third attainment. Again, having done this and gone still further, he comes to know the unbroken stream of human consciousness that is not established either in this world or in the next. That is the fourth attainment of vision. This is the unsurpassed teaching in regard to the attainments of vision...

Walshe, Maurice (2005-06-10). The Long Discourses of the Buddha: A Translation of the Digha Nikaya (Teachings of the Buddha) (Kindle Locations 6993-6997). Wisdom Publications. Kindle Edition.

The convolution of this as "stream of consciousness" doesn't make any sense in context with the rest of the passage.

Esho
03 Nov 11, 20:30
It is my view that "birth" in Buddhism has nothing whatsoever to do with physical birth, but that it refers to the birth of the false "I", which repeatedly occurs in non-Buddhas. Likewise "Ageing and death" refers to the natural ending of happiness that is associated with attachments. These things happen moment by moment.

I get the feeling that many on this forum will be sympathetic to this view.

Agree Kevin. Once we have verified through experience or having a glimpse of the nature of non self and that form this, what indeed is the birth of an I, a mine and a myself it is quite clear the nature of the natural truth that Buddha outlined. I am not just sympathetic to that view but confident through its verification of this truth. The realization of it goes through careful examination and its final corroboration comes with the practice of the meditative instructions in the Anapanasati and Satipatthana Suttas.

I honestly have never understood what is rebirth. I'm sure that what Buddha taught was the arising (birth) and fading (death) of "conceit", "ownership" and "I making". but never the concept of "rebirth". I cant really understand that concept nowadays and I feel it is not needed to carve into such idea because there are other issues to explore in order to cease suffering.


I've made a video which outlines my disagreement with the popular view of rebirth, and I welcome responses from the people here. I do realize that not all Buddhists believe in the literal interpretation, and that many Buddhists have no opinion on the matter at all.

Nonsense in Buddhism II
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4jmx181ODtQ

Thanks Kevin, I will give it a look.

;D

Element
03 Nov 11, 20:42
I've made a video which outlines my disagreement with the popular view of rebirth, and I welcome responses from the people here. I do realize that not all Buddhists believe in the literal interpretation, and that many Buddhists have no opinion on the matter at all.

Nonsense in Buddhism II
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4jmx181ODtQ
hi Kevin

great to hear from you again

thanks for popping in and keeping us up-to-date with your activities

(and i watched your video when it was released. keep up the good work!)

with metta

element ;D

Esho
03 Nov 11, 22:01
If there is no thinker, who or what is being reborn when conceit, thoughts of self-hood, me, etc, arise?

Who or what...? the illusion of the khandas as a self.


I know it's almost impossible to communicate without nouns and pronouns, but when you say "I" experience those consciousnesses, that's the reification of phenomena into an entity. It's quite an exercise in meditation to remove the self part of the equation, but it seems to be worthwhile, healthy practice that can lead to insight.

Sorry if I communicate ideas using pronouns. The example given was because the case of the poem. Along the thread there is the idea of a stream of consciousness something that endures, as in the case of the Poem of the King Milinda where the poem is reborn as a stream of consiusness in the student. As a poem, a musical work is not a stream of consiusness nor anything is reborn in any place at any time. A music score is just a music score. It do not has any consciousness brought into any kind of stream. Consciousness arises and fades as a point discrete moment leaving no trace and fades once its object of consciousness fades or disappears.

Once the music of Mozart or the poem of Milinda King has come to an end while being recited or read, as an object of consciousness, that pointed discrete moment of consciousness fades too unless we cling, grasp and crave into such which leads to the entanglement of looking at that as a "stream of something". The need to see phenomena to endure endlessly leads us to this kind of delusions of mind: rebirths and streams.

Buddha did not teach rebirth. I still can't understand what is under the idea of re-birth. What Buddha taught is, because of ignorance, the birth of "I am", "is mine" and "my self".


A lot of people are attached to the idea of rebirth.

Rebirth? Has no sense. Is something I can't get in. I simply can't verify that. Much less the ideas around the stream of consciousness. If it were about reincarnation a stream of such consciousness, will fit correctly. Consciousness needs an object so it is "in-formed" by it. Consciousness and its stream will bring information. This makes sense for reincarnation believers as happens with some branches of Tibetan Culture.


But if people are going to continue to use the term, which the inevitably will, then I want to be prepared with a schemata that keeps the word, but does not allow anything like the rebirth of a person, spirit, consciousness, etc etc.

Good FBM. Anyway, there is no need to go with what people need to be attached... IMO, keeping with what the Buddha taught is what makes sense.

;D

Esho
03 Nov 11, 23:59
Nonsense in Buddhism II
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4jmx181ODtQ

Thanks Kevin. I have looked at the video. Great to meet you. What else can be said? I agree with what you have taught there.

;D

Esho
04 Nov 11, 04:17
Hi,

Finally a sutta where the Buddha seems to use to concept of rebirth. At least can be useful as a working concept in full accordance to his teaching; ceasing of suffering:


[At Saavatthii the Blessed One said:] "Monks, what a man wills, what he plans, what he dwells on forms the basis for the continuation of consciousness.[2] This basis being present, consciousness has a lodgment. Consciousness being lodged there and growing, rebirth of renewed existence takes place in the future, and from this renewed existence arise birth, decay-and-death, grief, lamentation, suffering, sorrow and despair. Such is the uprising of this entire mass of suffering.

"Even if a man does not will and plan, yet if he dwells on something this forms a basis for the continuation of consciousness:... rebirth... takes place...

"But if a man neither wills nor plans nor dwells on anything, no basis is formed for the continuation of consciousness. This basis being absent, consciousness has no lodgment. Consciousness not being lodged there and not growing, no rebirth of renewed existence takes place in the future, and so birth, decay-and-death, grief, lamentation, suffering, sorrow and despair are destroyed. Such is the cessation of this entire mass of suffering."

Cetanaa Sutta: "Volition" (http://http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/sn/sn12/sn12.038.wlsh.html#fn-1)



Seems that cling and crave -and crave as volition?- is the birthplace of the delusion of a "stream of consciousness" in this very life span.

:dontknow:

Comments?

FBM
04 Nov 11, 10:55
Kaarine, please forgive me if this seems rude, but I don't know what else to do at the moment with regards to your focused concern about the "stream of consciousness" metaphor...

metaphor


A metaphor, as defined in our glossary, is a figure of speech in which an implied comparison is made between two unlike things that actually have something important in common. The word metaphor itself is a metaphor, coming from a Greek word meaning to "transfer" or "carry across." Metaphors "carry" meaning from one word, image, or idea to another.

When Dr. Gregory House (in the TV series House, M.D.) says, "I'm a night owl, Wilson's an early bird. We're different species," he's speaking metaphorically. When Dr. Cuddy replies, "Then move him into his own cage," she's extending House's bird metaphor--which he caps off with the remark, "Who'll clean the droppings from mine?"

Calling a person a "night owl" or an "early bird" is an example of a common (or conventional) metaphor--one that most native speakers will readily understand. Let's look at some of the different ways a single conventional metaphor can be used.

Conventional Metaphors

Some metaphors are so common that we may not even notice that they are metaphors. Take the familiar metaphor of life as a journey, for example. We find it in advertising slogans:
•"Life is a journey, travel it well."
(United Airlines)


•"Life is a journey. Enjoy the Ride."
(Nissan)


•"Life is a journey. Enjoy the ride with a GM reward card."
(General Motors)


•"Life's a journey--travel light"
(Hugo Boss Perfume)
The same metaphor appears in the lyrics to the Aerosmith song "Amazing":
Life's a journey not a destination
And I just can't tell just what tomorrow brings.
(from the album A Little South Of Sanity)
And though worded differently, the journey metaphor appears again in the chorus to "He Ain't Heavy, He's My Brother," a pop song composed by Bobby Scott and Bob Russell:
It's a long, long road
From which there is no return.
While we're on the way to there
Why not share?
Poets also make use of the journey metaphor, as in this well-known work by Robert Frost, "The Road Not Taken":
Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth.

Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same.

And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I--
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.
And then there's Isaac Asimov's updated version of the metaphor: "Life is a journey, but don't worry, you'll find a parking spot at the end."

These varied examples all make use of the same basic journey metaphor, though in different ways. In More Than Cool Reason: A Field Guide to Poetic Metaphor (1989), George Lakoff and Mark Turner describe how accustomed we have become to this metaphor:

When we think of life as purposeful, we think of it as having destinations and paths toward those destinations, which makes life a journey. We can speak of children as "getting off to a good start" in life and of the aged as being "at the end of the trail." We describe people as "making their way in life." People worry about whether they "are getting anywhere" with their lives, and about "giving their lives some direction." People who "know where they're going in life" are generally admired. In discussing options, one may say "I don't know which path to take." When Robert Frost says, Two roads diverged in a wood, and I--
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference
("The Road Not Taken") we typically read him as discussing options for how to live life, and as claiming that he chose to do things differently than most other people do.

This reading comes from our implicit knowledge of the structure of the LIFE IS A JOURNEY metaphor. In other words, we think metaphorically--whether we're aware of it or not.

http://grammar.about.com/od/qaaboutrhetoric/f/faqmetaphor07.htm

Deshy
04 Nov 11, 15:50
Nonsense in Buddhism II
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4jmx181ODtQ

Just saw this. Nice video. Enjoyed watching you destroy the candle :P

Btw. from 3:56 - 4:28 I have seen this happened to a student in a meditation retreat. I think AB talks about this in his book as well. But strangely enough, he has given quite a different reason than the mind being separate to the body in the book. He has merely said that in deep absorption stages, the person abandons five sensory involvements and only experiences mind-consciousness. It's strange how his stance has changed over the years into something ridiculous.

Esho
04 Nov 11, 22:41
Kaarine, please forgive me if this seems rude,

I do not see it rude, why it could be? ;)


but I don't know what else to do at the moment with regards to your focused concern about the "stream of consciousness" metaphor...

My focus concern? No. It is just that the quoted sutta seem to be useful for the thread where the ideas of "stream of consciousness" and "rebirth" as a general feature of all phenomenon, IMO, are to vague. Contextualized in that way "streams of consciousness" and "rebirths" seems to me more like a kind of poetical allegory subject to speculation, than a fact.

The sutta at post # 72 sets the concepts into the teachings of Buddha making them intelligible, in the frame of the teachings of Buddha. That was all.

;D

retrofuturist
05 Nov 11, 02:24
Transcend asavas - pay no heed to such things.

Metta,
Retro. ;D

FBM
05 Nov 11, 03:15
I do not see it rude, why it could be? ;)



My focus concern? No. It is just that the quoted sutta seem to be useful for the thread where the ideas of "stream of consciousness" and "rebirth" as a general feature of all phenomenon, IMO, are to vague. Contextualized in that way "streams of consciousness" and "rebirths" seems to me more like a kind of poetical allegory subject to speculation, than a fact.

The sutta at post # 72 sets the concepts into the teachings of Buddha making them intelligible, in the frame of the teachings of Buddha. That was all.

;D

Glad that wasn't rude. :lol: I think part of our mutual misunderstanding is tied to vocabulary. I borrowed the term "stream of consciousness", as it's a well-known metaphor in several modern fields such as philosophy, literature and psychology.

It is something like a poetical allegory, in the same way that the Buddha described the dhamma as a raft used for crossing a river. If the metaphor, like the metaphorical raft, is useful, use it. If it's not, don't.

It's not claimed to be the truth itself, just a way of getting closer to the truth. I'm not sure why it would be subject to speculation, as it's not a truth-claim in the first place, but if it's not a useful metaphor for you, that doesn't mean that it's not helpful for anyone else. Maybe the Buddha's raft metaphor is more useful to some than others. That's kind of the way metaphors work. They have to match something in the listener's consciousness in order to have the intended suggestion, otherwise they're useless at best, and confusing at worst.

A bit more about the metaphor: Streams of water are not fixed entities, and the analogy is that neither is consciousness, nor sensation, physicality, candles nor people. New stuff is coming in and going out constantly. Nevertheless, we need to put a noun on it so we can talk about it, so we call it, in this case, "stream". A singular countable noun. When we do this, the mind is tricked into reifying the stream-as-a-process into a stream-as-an-entity. The same goes for pretty much every other noun or pronoun or object I can think of, including mind, self, other, candle, people, 'I', etc.

Also, I stated early on that I'm not claiming my current understanding of things to be the Absolute Truth. I said that I just wanted to explain my current understanding, and that it would most likely change over time. I'm not asking anyone to believe anything, or to follow what I say, or anything like that. I only started this thread for a place to exchange ideas, not to convince anyone of anything. It doesn't make any difference to me whether or not anyone else shares the perspective I'm describing; it would be rather surprising if they did, actually.

Finally, I'm not really interested in trying to retro-fit my worldview to try to match that of a 2,500-year-old culture in India. I find, for example, the division of the phenomenal being into 5 khandas to be instructive up to a point, but modern sciences and philosophy provide a much more complete view of being. If the Buddha really believed that he really saw his innumerable previous lives in the literal, conventional sense, then I would say that he was either deluded or lying or just saying what the audience would best understand. There is so much in his teachings that suggest that he wasn't deluded, so I tentatively take the position that he wasn't speaking literally, but metaphorically with pedogogical intent. Likewise when the Buddha seems to be speaking literally about good and bad future lives of people who have accumulated kamma in one way or another. If I take that literally, then I have to abandon anatta. However, I can experience anatta, but I can't experience future lives. Because of that, I do not take his words about future lives literally. I don't expect a future life in the literal sense, nor do I want one.

Edit: I tried to get some links to suttas, but something's wrong with either my computer or the local service provider or something. I'll post some excerpts and/or links as soon as I can. :peace:

FBM
05 Nov 11, 03:38
As I promised Kaarine yesterday:

In this formulation, if taken literally, something is reincarnated or reborn or something into future lives:

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/an/an02/an02.018.than.html


§4. As Ven. Ānanda was sitting there, the Blessed One said to him, "I say categorically, Ānanda, that bodily misconduct, verbal misconduct, & mental misconduct should not be done."

"Given that the Blessed One has declared, lord, that bodily misconduct, verbal misconduct, & mental misconduct should not be done, what drawbacks can one expect when doing what should not be done?"

"... One can fault oneself; observant people, on close examination, criticize one; one's bad reputation gets spread about; one dies confused; and — on the breakup of the body, after death — one reappears in the plane of deprivation, the bad destination, the lower realms, in hell...
"I say categorically, Ānanda, that good bodily conduct, good verbal conduct, & good mental conduct should be done."

"Given that the Blessed One has declared, lord, that good bodily conduct, good verbal conduct, & good mental conduct should be done, what rewards can one expect when doing what should be done?"

"... One doesn't fault oneself; observant people, on close examination, praise one; one's good reputation gets spread about; one dies unconfused; and — on the breakup of the body, after death — one reappears in the good destinations, in the heavenly world."

(emphasis added)

In this forumulation, if taken literally, there is nothing to be reincarnated or reborn:

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/sn/sn22/sn22.059.nymo.html


"Bhikkhus, form is not-self. Were form self, then this form would not lead to affliction, and one could have it of form: 'Let my form be thus, let my form be not thus.' And since form is not-self, so it leads to affliction, and none can have it of form: 'Let my form be thus, let my form be not thus.'

"Bhikkhus, feeling is not-self...

"Bhikkhus, perception is not-self...

"Bhikkhus, determinations are not-self...

"Bhikkhus, consciousness is not self. Were consciousness self, then this consciousness would not lead to affliction, and one could have it of consciousness: 'Let my consciousness be thus, let my consciousness be not thus.' And since consciousness is not-self, so it leads to affliction, and none can have it of consciousness: 'Let my consciousness be thus, let my consciousness be not thus.'

"Bhikkhus, how do you conceive it: is form permanent or impermanent?" — "Impermanent, venerable Sir." — "Now is what is impermanent painful or pleasant?" — "Painful, venerable Sir." — "Now is what is impermanent, what is painful since subject to change, fit to be regarded thus: 'This is mine, this is I, this is my self'"? — "No, venerable sir."

"Is feeling permanent or impermanent?...

"Is perception permanent or impermanent?...

"Are determinations permanent or impermanent?...

"Is consciousness permanent or impermanent?" — "Impermanent, venerable sir." — "Now is what is impermanent pleasant or painful?" — "Painful, venerable sir." — "Now is what is impermanent, what is painful since subject to change, fit to be regarded thus: 'This is mine, this is I, this is my self'"? — "No, venerable sir."

"So, bhikkhus any kind of form whatever, whether past, future or presently arisen, whether gross or subtle, whether in oneself or external, whether inferior or superior, whether far or near, must with right understanding how it is, be regarded thus: 'This is not mine, this is not I, this is not myself.'

"Any kind of feeling whatever...

"Any kind of perception whatever...

"Any kind of determination whatever...

"Any kind of consciousness whatever, whether past, future or presently arisen, whether gross or subtle, whether in oneself or external, whether inferior or superior, whether far or near must, with right understanding how it is, be regarded thus: 'This is not mine, this is not I, this is not my self.'

Taken at face value, they are contradictory. Yes, I know how the latter sutta ends, but we're not talking specifically about arahants. We're talking about the ordinary situation of ordinary humans. Are they reborn into future lives or not? How does one resolve such (apparent) contradictions? Keep in mind that in the former sutta, the Buddha was talking to none other than Ananda, not an uninstructed beginner.

Esho
06 Nov 11, 02:31
As I promised Kaarine yesterday:

In this formulation, if taken literally, something is reincarnated or reborn or something into future lives:

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/an/an02/an02.018.than.html
Hello FBM,

Sure, Ekamsena Sutta seems more about an idea of something that reincarnates. It also has some Christian flavour about heaven and hellish realms in accordance with good and bad conduct.

Then comes the Anatta-Lakkhana Sutta were it is read a thematic elaboration of Non-Self doctrine. The core doctrine that makes unique the early teachings of Buddhism and the teachings of Buddha.

I do not doubt that there are other suttas like the Ekamsena that can be grouped into the "Sila" aspect of the teachings of Buddha. I am not an expert in Pali but I was looking into Sammaditthi Sutta where death is defined:


The falling away, passing away, breaking up, disappearance, dying [maccu,marana], when ones time is up breaking up of the aggregates, discarding the body (uprooting of the life-faculty) in various beings, in various groups of beings, here and there -this, monks, is called death.

Sammaditthi Sutta, p. 165 (http://http://dharmafarer.org/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2009/12/11.14-Sammaditthi-S-m9-piya.pdf)



However, death, is named as marana where, in accordance to the Buddhist Dicctionary:


Strictly speaking, however, death is the continually repeated dissolution and vanishing of each momentary physical-mental combination, and thus it takes place every moment. About this momentaneity of existence, it is said in Vis.M. VIII:

"In the absolute sense, beings have only a very short moment to live, life lasting as long as a single moment of consciousness lasts. Just as a cart-wheel, whether rolling or whether at a standstill, at all times only rests on a single point of its periphery, even so the life of a living being lasts only for the duration of a single moment of consciousness. As soon as that moment ceases, the being also ceases. For it is said: 'The being of the past moment of consciousness has lived, but does not live now, nor will it live in future. The being of the future moment has not yet lived, nor does it live now, but it will live in the future. The being of the present moment has not lived, it does live just now, but it will not live in the future.' "

BUDDHIST DICTIONARY (http://http://www.buddhanet.net/budsas/ebud/bud-dict/dic3_m.htm)



and in accordance with Buddhadasa's essay of "Two Kinds of Language":


But in Dhamma language, the word "death" refer to the cessation of the idea mentioned just a moment ago, the idea of "I" or "me". The ceasing of this idea is what is meant by "death" in Dhamma language.

Two Kinds of Language" (http://http://www.buddhadasa.com/naturaltruth/twolanguage2.html)



From this there is the need to take with caution the Examsena Sutta if we accept that the hellish destinations are about mental states in this very present life. The break up of the body is a very tangible experience that can be observed when we are through a big rant or a fit of rage. Our body seems to have been broken completely, deadbeat.

I am not a Pali expert, so I hope that Element can come and give some light with the Pali translations and the Pali grammatical context because I have learnt that some of Thanissaro translations need some caution.

Seems there is a contradiction. I seems very contrastive but taken into such contextual Pali explorations, it looks like it is not so, but due my lack of experience in Pali interpretation, I can't have the last word :dontknow:


Taken at face value, they are contradictory. Yes, I know how the latter sutta ends, but we're not talking specifically about arahants. We're talking about the ordinary situation of ordinary humans. Are they reborn into future lives or not? How does one resolve such (apparent) contradictions? Keep in mind that in the former sutta, the Buddha was talking to none other than Ananda, not an uninstructed beginner.

Yes, the "Ananda factor" makes it more intriguing :confused:

;D

FBM
06 Nov 11, 04:10
Thanks for that, Kaarine. ;D I agree with all of that. My purpose for posting the "contradictory" suttas was to play Devil's advocate. The 'stream of consciousness' metaphor does not contradict momentariness. A stream-entity is only in existence for the infinitesimally small amount of time that it has that configuration, just like consciousness or "people". The stream as a real entity is an illusion, just as a being or self that endures through time is an illusion. This illusion feeds the widespread worldview that enables the speculation on future lives.

Yet, there are still all those suttas in which the Buddha talks about past and future lives in a way that seems very literal. If it was meant metaphorically, it is not evident in those suttas. I think the 'momentariness doctrine' originates in the Abhidhamma, not the Sutta Pitaka, but I'll have to check on that. :peace:

Esho
08 Nov 11, 00:51
Thanks for that, Kaarine. ;D I agree with all of that.

You are welcome FBM ;)


My purpose for posting the "contradictory" suttas was to play Devil's advocate.

Sometimes is a healthy exercise to be Devil's advocate.


The stream as a real entity is an illusion, just as a being or self that endures through time is an illusion. This illusion feeds the widespread worldview that enables the speculation on future lives.

That's it. We agree here FBM.


Yet, there are still all those suttas in which the Buddha talks about past and future lives in a way that seems very literal. If it was meant metaphorically, it is not evident in those suttas. I think the 'momentariness doctrine' originates in the Abhidhamma, not the Sutta Pitaka, but I'll have to check on that. :peace:

Here I have learnt to take with caution Thanissaro's translations. For example, yesterday I was through MN19. One from Thanissaro and other from "Mettanet Lanka" (http://metta.lk/) and the shift is considerable in its thematic approach. Thanissaro can leave us with some uncertainty or speculative aim toward "future literal lives" while Mettanet translations gives you a good taste of "here and now".

Knowing Pali seems to be important and while this happens, the reading of many different translations for a single sutta is highly recommendable while factual verification, about ceasing of Dukkha, is what really matters.

:peace: