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Thread: Re-birth: Do you believe it?

  1. #1
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    Just wondering who here practices Buddhism with a belief in re-birth and who does not. Either way, could you also give the reasons behind your belief.

  2. #2
    Global Moderator Esho's Avatar
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    Hi jack,

    Well, in Zen rebirth is not an issue but I believe in it. I do not have heavy reasons; is more like an insight when I observe how nature is arround us; like understanding that "things" manifestate when some conditions are present and do not when that same conditions fade away.


  3. #3
    Forums Member stuka's Avatar
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    Hi Jack,

    The idea of "re-birth" is a much later invention that has been cobbled together with patchwork to get around the problems that the Buddha's teaching of Anatta poses for reincarnation beliefs. It is often falsely substituted for the word "birth" (jati) in translations of the Buddha's teachings, but jati is not the word for reincarnation. Functionally, the idea of "re-birth"is a workaround, a "reincarnation that is not reincarnation", a "reincarnation that does not involve an 'atta'." It's patchwork, it's sloppy,and the Buddha didn't teach it.

    You refer to "belief" in your request: "...the reasons behind your 'belief'." This is not a matter of "belief", any more than the question "do you believe in God, Allah, and/or the Flying Spaghetti Monster?" -- the question tends to presume the existence of the subject: "if you don't believe in God, why don't you believe in him?.." My non-belief is not based upon a belief with respect to the speculative view/superstition of "re-birth"; it stems from seeing and knowing for myself that such superstitions and speculative views are irrelevant to the Buddha's own, unique, liberative teachings and practices. I do not presume that the liberative teachings of the Buddha have anything to do with pre-Buddha beliefs in reincarnation and their assumptions that liberation is annihilation. I note that the Buddha proclaimed that his teachings were designed to quench suffering through the elimination of ignorance, craving and clinging, and I do not subscribe to the point of view that equates "suffering" with "round of re-births".

    Personally studying and practicing the teachings of the Buddha, I find such superstitions and their various convoluted explanations wanting and irrelevant. I find that the Buddha's liberative teachings have no "loose ends", and are -- just as he himself claimed -- universal, timeless, relevant to everyone, visible to anyone, free of patchwork, and to be experienced by the wise for themselves. The idea of "re-birth" is none of these.

  4. #4
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    stuka,

    Thanks. So what happens at the end of the physical body? Does some sort of life (not the soul, or a self delusion) get carried on somewhere else, eventually giving birth to another illusory self? Or does it end there i.e. ultimate nibanna?

    If it does, what's the point, and things like suicide, would be just fine?

    What was the Buddha talking about when he talked of rebirth then? He did talk of rebirth, and of samsara.

  5. #5
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    Some confusing excerpts from Buddhanet:

    Take away the notion of a soul or a being living inside the body; take away all ideas of self existing either inside or outside the body. Also take away notions of past, present and future; in fact take away all notions of time. Now, without reference to time and self, there can be no before or after, no beginning or ending, no birth or death, no coming or going. Yet there is life! Rebirth is the experience of life in the moment, without birth, without death; it is the experience of life which is neither eternal nor subject to annihilation.

  6. #6
    What Stuka says is very reasonable and well said.

    I also know that I live on a infinitesimally microscopic bubbling mote of dirt, water, fire, and air that's whizzing around a huge flaming sphere at 65,000 miles an hour...in a space that is believed to be infinite, that is full of bursting universes inside of larger universes, cyclical tidal forces, explosions that hurl flaming matter at a million miles an hour, whirlpools a billion times larger than Earth, dark energy fields, and black holes. On this tiny, dynamic, volatile speck of material chaos that we call home...there are creatures that are animated by air that have a strange habit of occasionally supersizing or miniaturizing, every once in a while a mountain of stone and fire collides with the planet with interesting results, and when atoms are mined for their smallest components freaky physics things start happening "in there". And don't get me started on the oddity of the human being morphing out of monkeys with the ability to do trigonometry and fly to the moon, and whether we should even exist in an environment that we are physically unprepared to live in without compensating radically for a variety of seemingly missing features and essential capabilities.

    So, given the nature of where we're appearing, I wouldn't rule out anything. It's pretty darn strange here if we look close and far enough.

    As for literal rebirth, I don't know and don't care -I just do my best to be clear about where I am and what time it is here in Wonderland, where everything is odd (though oddly taken for granted by most). I'm here, and it's now...I find it hard enough to stay clear on just this...I don't need to get distracted by what is, at least for me, an abstractive imponderable that has no answer.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pink_trike #6:
    I don't need to get distracted by what is, at least for me, an abstractive imponderable that has no answer.
    Fair assessment.

    Quote Originally Posted by Pink_trike #6:
    I'm here, and it's now...
    There's no "I"!!!

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by jack #7:
    There's no "I"!!!
    Ultimately, true. But it's practice that makes that clear, not just "believing" it or thinking it.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pink_trike #8:
    Ultimately, true. But it's practice that makes that clear, not just "believing" it or thinking it.
    Same goes for rebirth, I suppose. It's one of those itching issues though, you have to admit. Like the whole mind reading thing, I have an inkling that I've met such a person.

  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by jack #9:
    Like the whole mind reading thing, I have an inkling that I've met such a person
    There are many who can communicate beyond the physical mechanics of language. This was once very common, and when conditions are right it will be common again.

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