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Thread: Different approaches to rebirth beliefs

  1. #31
    Quote Originally Posted by robtruman

    Could rebirth or reincarnation have little to do with our physical death? Are we reborn as we strive for Enlightenment?
    I sincerely ask as I don't resemble the person I was at 18, 30, 45 or even 50 for that matter.
    Hi Rob,

    I used to believe in reincarnation when I became involved with Tibetan Buddhism a number of years ago, but eventually I became agnostic about such beliefs. However,that doesn't mean that I don't respect the fact that many other Buddhists believe in literal life-to-life reincarnation/rebirth.

    Here's an excerpt from Ajahn Sumedho's second volume "Seeds of Understanding" in his 5 volume Anthology. (He was the former abbot of Amaravati Theravada Thai Forest Tradition Monastery in the UK.)

    Rebirth Right Now

    You can see rebirth directly; you don’t have to believe in a theory of rebirth. Rebirth is something that occurs in what you are doing all the time. Now, since there is no self, there is nothing to be reborn as a personal essence or soul, carrying through from one lifetime tothe next. However, desire is being reborn; it is constantly looking for something to absorb into or something to become.

    If you are unhappy and depressed, you look for something that you can absorb into that will give you some happy feeling, or at least get you away from the unpleasantness of the moment. That’s rebirth. When you are frightened or uncertain, you have to try to do something to get away from it, to make yourself sure and safe. When you are bored, you have to do something to get out of that.

    Just notice in your own life how you have become accustomed to certain habits. For example, when you go home at night, you go to the refrigerator and get something to eat. You’re reborn as you absorb into the pleasures of eating. Now when you’ve had enough of this birth – you’ve had three ham sandwiches, four McDonald’s hamburgers, and two pizzas – you can’t stand to be reborn into another pizza. Then you seek a new birth in the television set, because when you are bored you want to find some other place to be reborn again. So you get reborn into the things that are going on in the television set.

    When the romantic scenes are going on in the film, you feel that you are absorbed into the romance itself. You’re feeling the joy of that kiss. When he deserts her for someone else, you’re feeling the pain and sorrow, the anger and resentment. Then you get satiated, weary of television, and you read a book. But you can only be interested in that for a while before you become bored again, so you turn on your stereo, which has speakers all around the room, and you blast yourself for a while. And then you have a drink with a cigarette, and you call your friend on the telephone.

    You look into the mirror for a while, but soon you are bored again. You can’t stand the idea of being born again, and you say to yourself, ‘I just want not to exist.’ You don’t actually think this – it’s just a habit. So you go up to your room and crash out on your bed and annihilate yourself with sleep.

    (Continues at the link)

  2. #32
    Quote Originally Posted by Whippet View Post
    I've known Buddhists to whom it is relevant, and it's not for me to tell them they are wrong.
    Absolutely, nor was I telling others that they are wrong.... and indeed our Code of Conduct states:

    17. Buddhism Without Boundaries has no official policy concerning beliefs in rebirth/reincarnation. Everyone is very welcome here, irrespective of whether they choose to believe/disbelieve/ or take no fixed position on these matters.

  3. #33
    Forums Member
    Join Date
    Feb 2019
    Thanks for the reply.

  4. #34
    Forums Member
    Join Date
    Feb 2019
    I agree in that I would never discount another's beliefs. For me I am less concerned about the after life and more focused on making what days, months, or years I have left meaningful.

  5. #35
    I just came across this quote from Ajahn Dune Atulo.

    "People who practice the Dhamma don't have to give any thought to past or future lives, or to heaven or hell. All they have to do is be firm and intent on practicing correctly in line with the principles of virtue, concentration, and discernment.

    If there really are 16 levels of heaven as they say in the texts, people who practice well are sure to rise to those levels. Or if heaven and nibbana don't exist, people who practice well don't lack for benefits here and now. They're sure to be happy, as human beings on a high level.

    "Listening to what other people say, looking things up in the texts, can't resolve your doubts. You have to put effort into the practice to give rise to clear insight knowledge. That's when doubt will be totally resolved on its own."

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