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Element
26 Apr 12, 20:47
dear Theravada forum and Dhamma friends

i read some views about "rare human incarnation", which, to me, despite the claims, seemed to contradict what Buddha taught

Buddha taught, as follows:


The Blessed One, picking up a little bit of dust with the tip of his fingernail, said to the monks: "What do you think, monks? Which is greater: the little bit of dust I have picked up with the tip of my fingernail, or the great earth?"

The great earth is far greater, lord. The little bit of dust the Blessed One has picked up with the tip of his fingernail is next to nothing. It doesn't even count. It's no comparison. It's not even a fraction, this little bit of dust the Blessed One has picked up with the tip of his fingernail, when compared with the great earth.

In the same way, monks, few are the beings who, on passing away from the human realm, are reborn among human beings. Far more are the beings who, on passing away from the human realm, are reborn in hell.

Therefore your duty is the contemplation: 'This is stress... This is the origination of stress... This is the cessation of stress...This is the path of practice leading to the cessation of stress.'

Pansu Suttas: Dust (http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/sn/sn56/sn56.102-113.than.html)

others believe as follows:


Q: If it's so rare and precious to be born a human being, how does the vastly increasing human population on the planet explain this?

A: The result of meritorious kamma. Seven billion is still a very small number if you consider all of the animals and insects living on this planet at any given time (not to mention the rest of the universe).

A: There's no contradiction with what the Buddha said if we put our view of human race in a cosmic perspective: we're certainly not the only "humans" in this vast universe and there's nothing that stops humans from other "earths" from taking rebirth on "our" earth. So it's quite possible that a catastrophic event happens to some planet earth out there in a different solar system or a different galaxy, that wipes out the population there. Since they still have kamma, they'll find ways to "re-distribute" themselves onto our earths or any other earths with compatible kammic conditions.

but Buddha taught as follows:


Monks, suppose that this great earth were totally covered with water and a man were to toss a yoke with a single hole there. A wind from the east would push it west, a wind from the west would push it east. A wind from the north would push it south, a wind from the south would push it north. And suppose a blind sea-turtle were there. It would come to the surface once every one hundred years. Now what do you think: would that blind sea-turtle, coming to the surface once every one hundred years, stick his neck into the yoke with a single hole?

It would be a sheer coincidence, lord, that the blind sea-turtle, coming to the surface once every one hundred years, would stick his neck into the yoke with a single hole.

It is likewise a sheer coincidence that one obtains the human state. It is likewise a sheer coincidence that a Tathagata, worthy & rightly self-awakened, arises in the world. It's likewise a sheer coincidence that a doctrine & discipline expounded by a Tathagata appears in the world. Now, this human state has been obtained. A Tathagata, worthy & rightly self-awakened, has arisen in the world. A doctrine & discipline expounded by a Tathagata appears in the world.

Therefore your duty is the contemplation, 'This is stress... This is the origination of stress... This is the cessation of stress....This is the path of practice leading to the cessation of stress.'

Chiggala Sutta: The Hole (http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/sn/sn56/sn56.048.than.html)

:dontknow:

Aloka
26 Apr 12, 22:01
Q: If it's so rare and precious to be born a human being, how does the vastly increasing human population on the planet explain this


When I was a Tibetan Buddhist practitioner I remember someone asking a lama this same question - and his reply was almost identical to the answers in the above quote. He mentioned animals and beings from other planets.

The part about other planets wasn't a surprise to me , because I did feel I was a bit of an alien :mrgreen:

.

Element
26 Apr 12, 23:38
When I was a Tibetan Buddhist practitioner I remember someone asking a lama this same question - and his reply was almost identical to the answers in the above quote. He mentioned animals and beings from other planets.
yes, a very imaginative reply, by the lama. it seems clear by the sutta what is rare is the arising of Buddhas and taking a sincere interest in realising the special teaching of the Buddhas, namely, the Four Noble Truths. but discursively imagining this teaching to be about literal rebirth seems not to take a rare & sincere interest in realising the Four Noble Truths, i.e., extinguishing craving

if the question is asked: "Is realising the Four Noble Truths rare?", the obvious affirmative answer to this question makes complete sense

it appears literal rebirth is not present in that Sutta. it appears literal 'rebirth' is being inferred, as explained in AN 2.23 (http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/an/an02/an02.023.than.html) & AN 2.25 (http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/an/an02/an02.025.than.html)


;D

andyrobyn
26 Apr 12, 23:56
Hi Element,

My understanding, which obviously has been influenced by instruction from teachers within the Tibetan tradition, is that at the basis of it what is described as " the rare human birth " does not contradict with what " the Buddha taught" ( as in the Suttas you quote in post #1) in the most important aspects.

It is not for us to know anyone elses path or how if another is a, or is to become, a Buddha. Our attention needs to be on our development and beginning where we are now.

andyrobyn
27 Apr 12, 00:01
When I was a Tibetan Buddhist practitioner I remember someone asking a lama this same question - and his reply was almost identical to the answers in the above quote. He mentioned animals and beings from other planets.

The part about other planets wasn't a surprise to me , because I did feel I was a bit of an alien :mrgreen:

.

I can relate to that feeling, Aloka-D :saucer: :green: :saucer:

srivijaya
27 Apr 12, 08:56
It seems as if Buddha's main purpose is to point out to his disciples that they have a rare opportunity to practice and that they should get on with it;D