View Full Version : Life after death/reincarnation/Dogen

15 May 12, 18:19
This is a 3 minute 55 sec video of Brad Warner "Life after death and reincarnation"

Comments relevant to what he's saying in the video are welcome.



16 May 12, 01:40
Yes, that is it ... or something like that !!!

I accepted, many years ago, that I can't know anything for certain about life after death and as long as I remember this different views and understandings are helpful at different times.

The ideas about reincarnation in Tibetan Buddhism are not the important aspects of practice, in my experience - they make for many debate topics online though :zzz: .

16 May 12, 08:50
The ideas about reincarnation in Tibetan Buddhism are not the important aspects of practice,in my experience

....and definately not mine because I haven't experienced any solid evidence of reincarnation for myself, other than the speculative comments or imaginings of others, like for example....

"We get on so well we must have known each other/been related in a past lifetime"

and :

"I think maybe I was in this country before in a past life and you people were in Tibet"


16 May 12, 10:41
'[Someone] asks, “It has been said that we should not regret our life and death, for there is a very quick way to get free of life and death. That is, to know the truth that the mental essence is eternal. In other words, this physical body, having been born, necessarily moves toward death; but this mental essence never dies at all...Therefore the body is just a temporary form; it dies here and is born there, never remaining constant. [But] the mind is eternal; it is unchangeable in the past, future, or present...when this body passes, they enter the spirit world...Therefore we should just hasten to understand the principle that the mental essence is eternal....The doctrine I have expressed like this is truly in accord with the truth of the buddhas and the patriarchs, is it not?”'

Dogen's answer:

'I say: The view expressed now is absolutely not the Buddha’s Dharma; it is the view of the non-Buddhist Senika.
According to that non-Buddhist view, there is one spiritual intelligence existing within our body...When this body dies, however, the spirit casts off the skin and is reborn on the other side; so even though it seems to die here it lives on there. Therefore we call it immortal and eternal. The view of that non-Buddhist is like this...Knowing that this [wrong view] is just the wrong view of non-Buddhists, we should not touch it with our ears...So remember, in the Buddha Dharma, because the body and mind are originally one reality, the saying that essence and form are not two has been understood equally in theWestern Heavens and the Eastern Lands, and we should never dare to go against it...How could we say, on the contrary, that the body is mortal but the mind is eternal? Does that not violate right reason? ...Moreover, even if we wrongly imagine the understanding that “mind becomes eternal by getting free of the body” to be the same as the buddha-wisdom that is free of life and death, the mind that is conscious of this understanding still appears and disappears momentarily, and so it is not eternal at all. Then isn’t [this understanding] unreliable? We should taste and reflect. The principle that body and mind are one reality is being constantly spoken by the Buddha Dharma. So how could it be, on the contrary, that while this body appears and disappears, the mind independently leaves the body and does not appear or disappear? If there is a time when [body and mind] are one reality, and another time when they are not one reality, then it might naturally follow that the Buddha’s preaching has been false...That being so, how could we divide this one reality into body and mind, or into life-and-death and nirvana?'


16 May 12, 15:02
Thanks Element .

16 May 12, 23:19
Usually I tend to agree with Brad Warner's speech videos.

This one has something strange. I can't agree with the idea of "something that continues". Let's see:

Up to 1' 39'' his speech is a common place of many other standard speeches about "live after death". His body language projects a kind of intellectual and grounded speech but after 1' 40'' there is a turning point in his speech and also in his body language. He states:

"I feel that our being is something bigger than this limited thing we imagine it is" -moving his hand along his face-, maybe indicating the physical body.

I can't agree because we are made of five Khandhas that are real and tangible. For me, "something bigger" is precisely what we imagine we are. It is wishful thinking.

At 1' 55'' Brad states "in that sense something continues, but it is not me".

Seems to me this is a case of a "narrative construction" of the idea of "something that continues" that is, again, speculative.

It can't be known if something continues, also. And what is that something that continues?

It looks like his reasoning is: because "I feel that our being is something bigger", then "something -by force- continues" [after dead].

It looks like the issue of live after death is still a challenge for mankind.


17 May 12, 01:17
I liked the video, I thought Brad Warner was being very honest and not claiming to have solutions.

There are a number of ways that we can continue after death - we can continue as a memory to others, we can continue in books, works of art, photos videos etc.

Shakespeare continues on for example, in his plays and in the interest and imagination of others.

The Buddha lives on for us in his teachings.

So in a subtle way, sometimes there is something which is continuing on.

17 May 12, 16:15
"For Buddhism, the dualism between life and death is only one instance of a more general problem, dualistic thinking. Why is dualistic thinking a problem? We differentiate between good and evil, success and failure, life and death, and so forth because we want to keep the one and reject the other. But we cannot have one without the other because they are interdependent: affirming one half also maintains the other. Living a "pure" life thus requires a preoccupation with impurity, and our hope for success will be proportional to our fear of failure. We discriminate between life and death in order to affirm one and deny the other, and, as we have seen, our tragedy lies in the paradox that these two opposites are so interdependent: there is no life without death and--what we are more likely to overlook--there is no death without life. This means our problem is not death but life-and-death."

"Firewood becomes ash, and it does not become firewood again. Yet, do not suppose that the ash is after and the firewood before. You should understand that firewood abides in the phenomenal expression of firewood, which fully includes before and after and is independent of before and after. Ash abides in the phenomenal expression of ash, which fully includes before and after. Just as firewood does not become firewood again after it is ash, you do not return to birth after death.

This being so, it is an established way in buddha-dharma to deny that birth turns into death. Accordingly, birth is understood as no-birth. It is an unshakable teaching in the Buddha's discourse that death does not turn into birth. Accordingly, death is understood as no-death.

Birth is an expression complete this moment. Death is an expression complete this moment. They are like winter and spring. You do not call winter the beginning of spring, nor summer the end of spring."

Master Dogen

Like a candle flame is an expression complete this moment. Even if another is lit, it too is an expression complete in that moment. The 2nd flame is not same and yet arises in dependence on the 1st flame - not same, not completely different either.

17 May 12, 16:25
Can you give a URL link when posting quotes please, Pegembara ?

17 May 12, 16:36
“He who is reborn, Nāgasena, is he the same person or another?”
“Neither the same nor another.”

“What is it, Nāgasena, that is reborn?”
“Mind and matter.”

“Is it this very mind and matter that is reborn?”
“No, it is not, but by this mind and matter deeds are done and because of those deeds another mind and matter is reborn; but that mind and matter is not thereby released from the results of its previous deeds.”

“Give me an illustration.”
“It is like a fire that a man might kindle and, having warmed himself, he might leave it burning and go away. Then if that fire were to set light to another man’s field and the owner were to seize him and accuse him before the king, and he were to say, ‘Your majesty, I did not set this man’s field on fire. The fire that I left burning was different to that which burnt his field. I am not guilty.’ Would he deserve punishment?”

“Indeed, yes, because whatever he might say the latter fire resulted from the former one.”
“Just so, O king, by this mind and matter deeds are done and because of those deeds another mind and matter is reborn; but that mind and matter is not thereby released from the results of its previous deeds.”

The Debate of King Milinda