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Thread: Is rebirth a myth ?

  1. #21
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    I only mentioned death because I suspect the idea of rebirth is tied up with the fear of death somehow. The myth that we only die to go into a sort of limbo where we 'choose' the next life we will have, or that if we lead a good life here and now the next life will be better. We don't have to feel 'fear' in this sense. We may develop a strategy which can negate the fear and go beyond it, but it still exists in some form, the instinctive, deeply-held self-preservation instincts we have as a consequence of being human. The result of millions of years of evolution. We can be pretty laid back about it until someone shoves our head under water, intent on killing us. I suspect the survival instinct will raise the fear response pretty quickly, and can only be negated in certain circumstances.

    On the other hand, I think that it's only one aspect of the idea of rebirth. As a myth it can have multiple meanings. Is it to gain a shared understanding of how we should live here and now, or a threat to encourage certain behaviours in the here and now, or even a guide to getting off the wheel and saying 'no more rebirths'? We can turn death on its head and say that we don't need more lives in order to deal with death. Lives are the problem, a fleeting moment of suffering as a living creature before going back to what we really are, a part of the universe which is home to us all. If life is the problem who can fear death? And if it is the problem, what can we do to alleviate our suffering as living things? Step up the Buddha and we now have the answers. Well it works for me.

  2. #22
    Here's another quote from Ajahn Sumedho (former abbot of Amaravati Monastery UK) which is taken from the section "Death and Rebirth" on page 203 of his book "Direct Realisation".


    I am only interested in rebirth as something that you can witness with the mind. You can talk about a previous life or the next life, but then you are just dealing with speculation. The emphasis in the teaching though is always on the here and now rather than speculating about the past or imagining the future.

    When you understand what the Buddha was really teaching, then rebirth in those terms is really the process of becoming, which is a mental process. You are becoming something all the time.

    https://www.amaravati.org/dhamma-boo...t-realization/


    His words always makes a lot of sense to me.

    .

  3. #23
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    The most useful interpretation to go with, for me at this time. I like the idea of each moment being a rebirth, each moment having a bardo where you can choose your next rebirth as a new person, maybe with each new breath.

  4. #24
    Quote Originally Posted by philg View Post
    I like the idea of each moment being a rebirth, each moment having a bardo where you can choose your next rebirth as a new person, maybe with each new breath.
    Indeed.

    Meanwhile, I'm still agnostic about literal rebirth...

  5. #25
    Forums Member dwlemen's Avatar
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    Hey all! A lot to unpack here. I still consider myself a novice in this, so please bear that in mind while reading my thoughts, tho please do correct where I have gone astray.

    My understanding is that we are impermanent, so, by definition, there would not be anything to have a literal rebirth of. The Buddha came from a culture that believed in reincarnation, and his thing was essentially that, not only is that really not possible, but even permanence from one moment to another is not possible. If there is no "I" from moment to moment, there sure can't be one from life to life.

    The thing that I understand that carries from moment to moment, or life to lives, is Karma. I visualize this as pebbles in a still pond. The ripples are like Karma. And the more pebbles (or bigger rocks) the bigger the ripples. It can take a while for those to smooth out. And, they can "bump" into other people's ponds (metaphor kind of starts breaking down here) but Those ripples are what can go on beyond our deaths. Perhaps he was sort of reusing the idea of reincarnation as "rebirth", but that it was not a person, or anything like a person, it was just the karma effects continue.

    All that said, as someone who is not yet enlightened, by a long shot, it sure would be nice if there was a recycling program and I could continue in some capacity. Death is very scary!

    Peace,

    -Dave

  6. #26
    Forums Member justusryans's Avatar
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    Death shouldn’t be scary. There’s only one absolute in this world...there’s not anyone getting out alive. Many follow the same path, what’s the First Noble Truth? Life is dukkha, unsatisfying, This is caused by craving, desires. The end of suffering is attainable, Nirvana is attainable. The Noble Eightfold Path is the way to cessation of suffering.

    I’m sure that you didn’t need to be reminded of the Four Noble Truths. I like your analogy of the
    Stone’s making ripples, it sort of falls in line with my own idea about what happens when we die short of our goal.

    I think that there is only so much matter on earth. The earth reuses every cell ever born lived and died . I don’t mean literal reincarnation. I’m talking about everyone of us is walking around with cells that belonged to others.
    My contribution to this post



    Metta

    Mike

  7. #27
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    I always like the idea that being dead isn't the problem. Being alive and aware, a separate and unique human being, yet ironically being unaware that that itself is the illusion, that we are separate is the problem which leads to our suffering. Weras we are merely an interesting interlude before getting back to what we really are after we die, part of the universe and home again.

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