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CallumCampbell
21 Jun 12, 19:35
As I believe I said in another post I wouldn't classify myself as a Buddhist or a man of god for that matter. Instead I'd place myself in the Athiest- Scientist section of people. There are many areas of Buddhism I absolutely love and totally agree with however there are a few things: Vegetarianism and Reincarnation. I'll start with the latter.

Not all Buddhists believe in reincarnation right? I mean for me, personally, I don't believe in any of it. I see no scientific proof or logical evidence for it.

Secondly Vegetarianism. I believe as humans we have evolved to eat both meat and vegetables, we can see this by looking at our teeth etc. Although I understand why some Buddhists are vegetarians, I myself cannot personally see myself becoming vegetarian.

What are your views on these topic? I'd love to hear them!

Callum :)

Gnosis Cupitor
21 Jun 12, 20:08
Thich Nhat Hanh proposes what I believe in, which is 'Continuation'. That is what atheists believe in, where there is no afterlife, except the influence and affect you leave now in the world. If you raise your son to be a man of honor, that is your continuation. Literal Rebirth is not a requirement to be a buddhist. Element would be a good person to learn about the deeper Pali interpretation of Rebirth.

Vegetarianism is about compassion, about refraining from taking life. You actually don't 'have to' be a vegetarian to be a buddhist. Especially if you can't even afford the lifestyle. I tried it for a month, and it was very expensive. Buddhism is rational. On that note, however, should you be able to afford it, sustain it, you should, simply because by eating meat, you are essentially helping the slaughterhouse kill all of those animals.

Aloka
21 Jun 12, 20:09
Welcome Callum,

Its not a good idea to try to discuss 2 different topics in the same thread so I've changed the title to just Reincarnation.

We have other threads on the website about rebirth/reincarnation and also vegetarianism, so it might be a good idea to look through the topics in the different forums as well as put key words into the search facility.

with kind wishes

Aloka

Aloka
21 Jun 12, 20:11
Lets keep these as 2 different topics please Bodhisvasti - and reincarnation is different to rebirth.

Goofaholix
21 Jun 12, 20:14
The Buddha taught that both eternalism and annhiliationism are wrong views, which to me suggest the problem is mostly about holding a fixed closed minded view.

I have yet to find any reason why this question should have an impact on my practice, which is about understanding and gaining freedom from Dukkha, but the Buddha must have spoken about these things for a reason. However I also find that realising that there is much I don't know and that leaving the if/why/how questions about rebirth as an open ended question helps maintain a sense of wonder. It's ok to not know, and it's quite a relief to settle into not knowing.

Regarding vegetarianism I agree with you and it's a personal choice. I prefer to avoid meat because I feel better when I eat less of it but I don't consider it an issue I worth making the lives of people who live with me more complex for.

Gnosis Cupitor
21 Jun 12, 20:15
Sorry Aloka.

Yeah, as she said, Callum, Reincarnation is actually much different to Rebirth, and was a Hindu teaching. Sects like the Vajrayana incorporated it into their belief system many years ago. But in the Pali Canon, the most original/oldest teachings of the Buddha, it was clear that Buddha did not teach or believe in reincarnation.

CallumCampbell
21 Jun 12, 20:25
Sorry Aloka.

Yeah, as she said, Callum, Reincarnation is actually much different to Rebirth, and was a Hindu teaching. Sects like the Vajrayana incorporated it into their belief system many years ago. But in the Pali Canon, the most original/oldest teachings of the Buddha, it was clear that Buddha did not teach or believe in reincarnation. So did the Buddha teach and believe in rebirth then?

Gnosis Cupitor
21 Jun 12, 20:39
I believe so. I am not well learned to be honest, when it comes to the Pali Canon. But I can say that some Buddhists today are even questioning the literal idea of Rebirth, as I showed you with the reinterpretation into 'Continuation'. It's a choice as to how you interpret it. As you said about science and logic, Literal Rebirth simply does not work well with either, IMO at least.

Esho
21 Jun 12, 23:44
So did the Buddha teach and believe in rebirth then?

From the suttas I have read and practice from seems to me that Gotama Buddha did not taught rebirth but used rebirth ideas to stimulate moral restraint.

When we say that somebody teaches something, it is thorugh practice that the teaching is mastered.

When we practice thinking about rebirth, what we are really practicing is moral conduct, not rebirth.

What he taught is Dukkha, its origin and the way to quench it. Just that.

Gotama Buddha show the 'how' of the endless renewal of the idea of self -birth & birth again- through craving and clinging; 'being and getting' as the origin of mental torment. Then, after showing this, he taught how to overcome and end with that.

But this is not a statement, just a personal approach.

:peace:

Aloka
22 Jun 12, 00:04
So did the Buddha teach and believe in rebirth then?

The Buddha taught about rebirth and references to it can be found in many suttas. I think that most Buddhists probably interpret it literally and some prefer to interpret it as being used primarily as a morality teaching, others as 'moment to moment' rebirth looked at in the context of the same lifetime and so on.

As far as the word 'reincarnation' is concerned, that comes from Tibetan Buddhism and 'reincarnate' lamas. When a lama dies it is believed that his 'reincarnation' can be found and will continue in his place at a monastery or wherever, after being re-taught the necessary teachings from as a small child onwards.

Personally I don't hold a position about rebirth one way or the other because its not relevant to my practice in the here and now.

pinkguava
22 Jun 12, 02:47
The Buddha taught about rebirth and references to it can be found in many suttas. I think that most Buddhists probably interpret it literally and some prefer to interpret it as being used primarily as a morality teaching.

As far as the word 'reincarnation' is concerned, that comes from Tibetan Buddhism and 'reincarnate' lamas. When a lama dies it is believed that his 'reincarnation' can be found and will continue in his place at a monastery or wherever after being re-taught the necessary teachings from as a small child onwards.

Personally I don't hold a position about rebirth one way or the other because its not relevant to my practice in the here and now.

I too agree with Aloka-D that the Buddha did teach about rebirth, and you can find it mentioned in the Pali suttas quite a bit. And yes, I think the majority of people who consider themselves "Buddhist" do interpret "rebirth" quite literally.

There is a fair bit of discussion these days on whether the belief in "rebirth" is even essential if one wishes to consider oneself a Buddhist.

Callum, I'm not sure if you've read some of the writings of Stephen Batchelor? He is one of the more visible proponents of the view that belief in rebirth is not central to being a Buddhist. I think he seems not to believe in rebirth, but tries ultimately to maintain a more agnostic stance towards it. You can read an interesting debate he had with Robert Thurman on rebirth/reincarnation at this link from Tricycle: http://www.tricycle.com/feature/reincarnation-debate

Personally, I choose to believe literally in 'rebirth', and I made this choice largely because of the paradiagm of "Pascal's Wager". In a nutshell, I believe in rebirth, but if in fact rebirth doesn't exist, then after I die I won't be around to regret my belief in its existence. However, if rebirth does exist, then I will be happy I believed in it and that I (hopefully) took steps in this life to prepare for a better next life.

:biglol:

Aloka
22 Jun 12, 06:42
..... However, if rebirth does exist, then I will be happy I believed in it and that I (hopefully) took steps in this life to prepare for a better next life

Dear pinkguava,

You're assuming a continuing " I " which is then fully aware of its past life. I'm wondering if you have heard of "anatta" or not-self - and I highly recommend that you read 'Anatta and Rebirth" by Bhikkhu Buddadasa.


http://das-buddhistische-haus.de/pages/images/stories/dokumente-englisch/Ajahn-Buddhadasa/Ajahn_Buddhadasa--Anatta_and_Rebirth.pdf

with kind wishes

Aloka ;D

pinkguava
22 Jun 12, 08:12
Dear pinkguava,

You're assuming a continuing " I " which is then fully aware of its past life. I'm wondering if you have heard of "anatta" or not-self - and I highly recommend that you read 'Anatta and Rebirth" by Bhikkhu Buddadasa.


http://das-buddhistische-haus.de/pages/images/stories/dokumente-englisch/Ajahn-Buddhadasa/Ajahn_Buddhadasa--Anatta_and_Rebirth.pdf

with kind wishes

Aloka ;D

Hi Aloka,

lol you read my writings too literally! :P

I was merely using "I" more loosely, in the everyday conventional manner one uses to communicate with others.

I definitely suscribe to the anatta view and don't believe in any inherently existing immutable self which goes from life to life. And I doubt in my next life that I will be able to recollect my previous lives (though I don't think recollection of past lives is impossible, even if there is no "self").

Nonetheless, in my current life, the above does not stop me from aspiring that my future lives are in good rebirths, in the same way that I would wish that other beings also have good rebirths.
:up2:

Aloka
22 Jun 12, 10:35
lol you read my writings too literally! :P



Lol, yes, I confess its one of my many annoying little habits!

:mrgreen:

Aloka
03 Jul 12, 19:42
I found an article "On Reincarnation" and wondered if anyone had any comments on the quoted section





On Reincarnation

by Takashu Tsuji

Do you Buddhists believe in rebirth as an animal in the next life? Are you going to be a dog or a cow in the future? Does the soul transmigrate into the body of another person or some animal? What is the difference between transmigration and reincarnation? Is it the same as rebirth? Is karma the same as fate? These and a hundred similar questions are often put to me.

A gross misunderstanding of about Buddhism exists today, especially in the notion of reincarnation. The common misunderstanding is that a person has led countless previous lives, usually as an animal, but somehow in this life he is born as a human being and in the next life he will be reborn as an animal, depending on the kind of life he has lived.

This misunderstanding arises because people usually do not know-how to read the sutras or sacred writings. It is said that the Buddha left 84,000 teachings; the symbolic figure represents the diverse backgrounds characteristics, tastes, etc. of the people. The Buddha taught according to the mental and spiritual capacity of each individual.

For the simple village folks living during the time of the Buddha, the doctrine of reincarnation was a powerful moral lesson. Fear of birth into the animal world must have frightened many people from acting like animals in this life. If we take this teaching literally today we are confused because we cannot understand it rationally.

Herein lies our problem. A parable, when taken literally, does not make sense to the modern mind. Therefore we must learn to differentiate the parables and myths from actuality. However, if we learn to go beyond or transcend the parables and myths, we will be able to understand the truth.

People will say "If such is the case why not speak directly so that we will be able to come to an immediate grasp of the truth?" This statement is understandable, but truth is often inexpressible. Thus, writers and teachers have often resorted to the language of the imagination to lead the reader from a lower to a higher truth. The doctrine of reincarnation is often understood in this light.

What Reincarnation is Not

Reincarnation is not a simple physical birth of a person; for instance, John being reborn as a cat in the next life. In this case John possesses an immortal soul which transforms to the form of a cat after his death. This cycle is repeated over and over again. Or if he is lucky, he will be reborn as a human being. This notion of the transmigration of the soul definitely does not exist in Buddhism.

http://www.buddhanet.net/e-learning/reincarnation.htm

Ngagpa
03 Jul 12, 20:03
I think it is a valid 'view' for him.
With respect to the writer to follow his logic...
if we learn to go beyond or transcend the parables and myths, we will be able to understand the truth.
When is one sure one has transcended or gone beyond, the parables the myths etc?
When can one state with certainty that one understands the truth?

If as he says..
but truth is often inexpressible
Is he actually conveying his partial truth with the less than adequate language ?

:hands:

Element
03 Jul 12, 21:20
The Buddha taught that both eternalism and annhiliationism are wrong views,.
Possibly. But is it certain the Buddha was referring to reincarnation or post mortem rebirth when discussing the notions of 'eternalism' and 'annhiliationism' as wrong views? Or was Buddha referring to something else, such as 'self-view', when mentioning the notions of 'eternalism' and 'annhiliationism' are wrong views? :confused:


The world in general, Kaccaayana, inclines to two views, to existence or to non-existence. But for him who, with the highest wisdom, sees the uprising of the world as it really is, 'non-existence of the world' does not apply, and for him who, with highest wisdom, sees the passing away of the world as it really is, 'existence of the world' does not apply.

The world in general, Kaccaayana, grasps after systems and is imprisoned by dogmas. But he does not go along with that system-grasping, that mental obstinacy and dogmatic bias, does not grasp at it, does not affirm: 'This is my self.' He knows without doubt or hesitation that whatever arises is merely dukkha that what passes away is merely dukkha and such knowledge is his own, not depending on anyone else. This, Kaccaayana, is what constitutes right view.

SN 12.15 (http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/sn/sn12/sn12.015.wlsh.html)


Herein, bhikkhus, a certain recluse or a brahmin asserts the following doctrine and view: 'The self, good sir, has material form; it is composed of the four primary elements and originates from father and mother. Since this self, good sir, is annihilated and destroyed with the breakup of the body and does not exist after death, at this point the self is completely annihilated.' In this way some proclaim the annihilation, destruction and extermination of an existent being.

DN 1 (http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/dn/dn.01.0.bodh.html)

****


which to me suggest the problem is mostly about holding a fixed closed minded view...
Is there any evidence to show this was the Buddha's intention when discussing the notions of 'eternalism' and 'annhiliationism'? :confused:


Buddha must have spoken about these things for a reason...
what things, specifically? what Buddha spoke about or what your guru spoke to you about? :confused:


Now, householders, of those who hold this doctrine, hold this view, it can be expected that, shunning these three unskillful activities ā€” bad bodily conduct, bad verbal conduct, bad mental conduct ā€” they will adopt & practice these three skillful activities: good bodily conduct, good verbal conduct, good mental conduct. Thus this safe-bet teaching, when well grasped & adopted by him, covers both sides, and leaves behind the possibility of the unskillful.

MN 60 (http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/mn/mn.060.than.html)


And what is the right view that has effluents, sides with merit & results in acquisitions?

'There is what is given, what is offered, what is sacrificed. There are fruits & results of good & bad actions. There is this world & the other worlds. There is mother & father. There are spontaneously born beings; there are brahmans & contemplatives who, faring rightly & practicing rightly, proclaim this world & the others after having directly known & realized it for themselves.'

This is the right view that has effluents, sides with merit & results in acquisitions

MN 117 (http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/mn/mn.117.than.html)

Dave The Seeker
03 Jul 12, 23:52
A parable, when taken literally, does not make sense to the modern mind.

What does actually make sense to the modern mind?
We believe we are smarter and more advanced that the civilizations of the past, maybe we are, maybe we're not.
History has a tendency to repeat itself and I think this is true. The rise and fall of "great" nations because of ignorance and greed.
As well as many other things.

In my understanding our Mind is what moves on from rebirth to rebirth. Not a soul or the same person we are in this existence.
Our knowledge and habits are part of this Mind. We "naturally" pick up old/past habits or understand past lessons quite quickly.
It is in learning how to "overcome" or use these things that we are able to move closer to understanding The Truth and reaching Nirvana.
To me that explains also how there can be Enlightenment in one life time. All the pieces fall together and the understanding in our Mind is complete, so to say. I can't really explain it in any other terms.
But if we fall backwards into worse old habits or create new misdeeds that's where our Karma comes in and we are reborn in a lesser realm until our Karma ripens and we gain another precious human rebirth.
Just my opinion and understanding.


With Metta

Goofaholix
04 Jul 12, 00:49
Possibly. But is it certain the Buddha was referring to reincarnation or post mortem rebirth when discussing the notions of 'eternalism' and 'annhiliationism' as wrong views? Or was Buddha referring to something else, such as 'self-view', when mentioning the notions of 'eternalism' and 'annhiliationism' are wrong views? :confused:

Good question, either or both works for me.


Is there any evidence to show this was the Buddha's intention when discussing the notions of 'eternalism' and 'annhiliationism'? :

You mean other than always talking about it in terms of Views rather than in terms of the metaphysical? In terms of avoiding extremes rather than having a specific fixed View?

When he says 'eternalism' and 'annhiliationism' are wrong views I can see only two alternatives, a fixed View that is somewhere in the middle, or a View that is not fixed that avoids both extremes. If the former were the case then Iā€™d expect to see a clear definition.


what things, specifically? what Buddha spoke about or what your guru spoke to you about? :confused:

What guru?

The thing(s) I was referring to is rebirth/reincarnation.