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Thread: On Reincarnation

  1. #21
    Forums Member Element's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by binocular View Post
    Well, yes. Imagine the scenario: There are 500 able-bodied, able-minded people there on that ship who supposedly can do nothing but just stand there, haplessly, like deer in the headlights, as one person is killing them one by one with a knife. Really? This is supposed to be realistic?
    Sounds like 9/11, how four planes were taken over by a few Islamic terrorists using box-cutters, all planned from a cave in Afghanistan.


  2. #22
    Quote Originally Posted by binocular
    Well, yes. Imagine the scenario: There are 500 able-bodied, able-minded people there on that ship who supposedly can do nothing but just stand there, haplessly, like deer in the headlights, as one person is killing them one by one with a knife. Really? This is supposed to be realistic?
    Quote Originally Posted by Element View Post
    Sounds like 9/11, how four planes were taken over by a few Islamic terrorists using box-cutters, all planned from a cave in Afghanistan.
    This also sounds like its starting to go way off the original subject of reincarnation in the OP #1, so lets not veer off into a discussion about politics in the modern world . There's plenty of that already going on elsewhere on the internet, as well as in the media in general, thanks.


  3. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by Element View Post
    Sounds like 9/11, how four planes were taken over by a few Islamic terrorists using box-cutters, all planned from a cave in Afghanistan.
    Granted, there are ways in which some of the Jataka tales are realistic enough -- when it comes to the depiction of groupthink, diffused responsibility, imaginations of grandeur, cognitive biases ... The moral lessons in them seem to be about how to maintain the social status quo, how to maintain social harmony. Those aren't about nirvana, they aren't about the complete cessation of suffering.

    But yes --

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    Quotes from the article linked to in the OP:

    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.
    Why would that be a misunderstanding?

    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.
    Then I'm not part of this "we" that the author is talking about, because I'm not confused by this teaching. SN 15.3, Assu Sutta, and its parallel, SN 15.13, are two of my favorite suttas after all.

    In what realm do you now live? If you are hungry for power, love, and self-recognition, you live in the Preta world, or hungry ghosts. If you are motivated only by thirsts of the human organism, you are existing in the world of the beast.
    The author seems to employ some free-style here. Traditionally, beings in different realms are said to have certain powers that beings in other realms don't. So a superficial resemblance to a deva, for example, doesn't actually make you one or mean that you live there, if you don't actually have the definitive characteristics of one. On occasion, one might feel like a deva, but unless one can do magic tricks and other such things that devas are capable of, then one isn't a deva or in the deva realm.

    I understand that the author is arguing in favor of a "metaphorical" view of these "mythological" things; but to maintain this view, we then have to radically cut down the traditional definitions of terms -- in which case, why use those terms at all?

  5. #25
    Forums Member Element's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by binocular View Post
    SN 15.3, Assu Sutta, and its parallel, SN 15.13, are two of my favorite suttas after all.
    For what reasons?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Element View Post
    For what reasons?
    At some point, one just gets tired of life as it is usually lived, and develops an affinity for things that in some way or another indicate a way out of it.

  7. #27
    Forums Member Element's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by binocular View Post
    At some point, one just gets tired of life as it is usually lived, and develops an affinity for things that in some way or another indicate a way out of it.
    Sounds reasonable. Chapter 15 of the SN is interesting because its ultimate message is to become dispassionate yet these suttas seem to generally arouse passion for reincarnation in many.


  8. #28
    Forums Member Olderon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by binocular View Post
    Not necessarily in Mahayana, for example.

    You said, "The truth is always the truth, whether beneficial or harmful."
    To say that the truth can be harmful is to say that the universe is ultimately a competitive place in which some are winners and some are losers (for all eternity, at that), or that the ultimate nature of the universe is/includes pain and suffering.
    I don't think the truth has anything to do with the "vehicle" (e.g. Mahayana vs. Theravadan) nor any of The Abrahemic Religions. All have a version of "The Golden Rule", which they teach to their followers.

    If you truly believe that the universe is not a very hazardous realm, my suggestion would be for you to spend some time exploring cosmological physics, where discussions are held regarding such issues as expansion of our sun, resulting in the combustion and absorption of our three inner planets: Mercury, Venus, and Earth. Gives humans a reason to explore Mars and to terraform same. Then there are Super Novas, which blast galaxial systems with sterilizing gamma radiation for trillions of light-years around, thereby destroying all life on any affected planets. Also there is the existence of super massive black holes, which consume entire star systems and even galaxies.
    Last edited by Olderon; 03 May 17 at 22:37.

  9. #29
    Quote Originally Posted by Element View Post
    these suttas seem to generally arouse passion for reincarnation in many.
    Ajahn Buddhadasa said:


    The Buddha refused to have any dealings with those things which don't lead to the extinction of Dukkha. Take the question of whether or not there is rebirth. What is reborn? How is it reborn? What is its kammic inheritance? (kamma-is volitional action by means of body, speech or mind.) These questions are not aimed at the extinction of Dukkha. That being so, they are not Buddhist teaching and they are not connected with it. They do not lie in the sphere of Buddhism.

    http://www.budsas.org/ebud/ebdha193.htm

    and Soto Zen teacher Brad Warner had the following to say about "Life after death and reincarnation" (approx. 4 minutes)





    .

  10. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by Element View Post
    Chapter 15 of the SN is interesting because its ultimate message is to become dispassionate yet these suttas seem to generally arouse passion for reincarnation in many.
    This is news to me. Could you give some examples of that? How can those suttas arouse passion for reincarnation?

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