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Thread: Dhamma/Dharma without rebirth beliefs?

  1. #1
    andyrobyn
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    If when speaking of rebirth the Buddha was adopting symbols, metaphors, and imagery from ancient Indian metaphysical theories which were widely accepted and understood in his world, does this indicate that Dhamma/Dharma has and will continue to alter in its form in response to changing social and cultural conditions ?

  2. #2
    Forums Member srivijaya's Avatar
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    I think that everyone who studies Dhamma alters it to fit what they are comfortable with. Oddly, I believe that rebirth demonstrates anatta.

    I don't think Buddha was pandering to metaphysical theories. I'm sure he merely reported what he experienced. What anyone else does with that, is another matter

  3. #3
    andyrobyn
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    Quote Originally Posted by srivijaya #2:
    Oddly, I believe that rebirth demonstrates anatta.
    Yes, this is how I see it too.

    Was a belief in rebirth ever essential to gaining understanding of the integral principles taught by the Buddha?

  4. #4
    Forums Member srivijaya's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by andyrobyn #3:
    Was a belief in rebirth ever essential to gaining understanding of the integral principles taught by the Buddha?
    I don't know about that, as "belief" can have all kinds of unexpected side effects. Trying to reconcile rebirth with anatta in a conceptual way has resulted in many heated debates.

    Any other principles? I guess it depends how each individual plays it out for themselves. Based on the belief, some may gain a particular understanding of karma, suffering or impermanence.

  5. #5
    Forums Member Element's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by andyrobyn #1:
    Dhamma/Dharma has and will continue to alter in its form in response to changing social and cultural conditions
    Why think of Dhamma as a defined doctrine?

    Dhamma or natural truth will always be what it is.

    But individual humans beings will make whatever they want from it.

    Dhamma as the law of nature is not necessarily the same as Dhamma as religion.


  6. #6
    Forums Member Element's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by andyrobyn #3:

    Was a belief in rebirth ever essential to gaining understanding of the integral principles taught by the Buddha?
    Absolutely never.

    The Buddha taught about the end of suffering & rebirth view is the manifestion of suffering.



  7. #7
    Forums Member Element's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by srivijaya #2:
    rebirth demonstrates anatta
    Opinions are fine. But when you find a sutta where Buddha discussed rebirth & anatta together, please tell me about it.


  8. #8
    andyrobyn
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    A central principle is that there is no demand for blind faith and we are to question, investigate and to test those teachings of the Buddha that come into the range of our own experience.

    Although we are given hints and information about the depth and scope of the freedom that the teachings can lead to, personal realisation which can only ever be achieved from developing insight through our practice is the goal ... beliefs need not hamper this though, as long as we are not practicing to ensure we gain confirmation of our current belief system .

  9. #9
    andyrobyn
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    Hi Element ...

    Quote Originally Posted by Element #5:
    Dhamma as the law of nature is not necessarily the same as Dhamma as religion.
    Can see that there is an important role for orthodoxy and structure in maintaining the integrity of the Buddhist traditions, if there is to be sufficient basis for ethics and to ensure the teaching of true Dhamma/Dharma into the future.

    My question and thoughts, influenced by others like yourself, is concerning how much we can expect articulation and expression of the essential principles taught by the Buddha need to change to be appropriate to the new situations as they emerge due to social and cultural change.

  10. #10
    andyrobyn
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    Quote Originally Posted by Element #6:
    The Buddha taught about the end of suffering & rebirth view is the manifestion of suffering.
    It has been said to me in an offline discussion that dukkha is ultimately manifested in the suffering of repeated becoming in the round of rebirths, and if one dismisses the idea of rebirth, the Four Noble Truths lose much of their depth and scope.

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