On reincarnation

  • leodeger
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7 years 8 months ago #94241 by leodeger
On reincarnation was created by leodeger
Hello. I am familiar with other Buddhist forums but to be frank, the people on them are very wet and wobbly and 'meditate' for 10 minutes a week, all the while having a tally of tens of thousands of posts below their name.
If there is a chance for something approaching a meaningful discussion on the internet of this subject, this is the sort of place where I consider it a possibility.
I am aware technical terms are what is required for practice related posts but regarding this subject I'm unsure how that can help.


It is rather well known that Buddha said the views of annihilationism and eternalism were incorrect. If I understand correctly, the fashion in modern lay followers or people who attempt to put into practice what they believe Buddha may have taught is to go on the assumption that death is always total annihilation (essentially nibbana).
So the very much primary reason for practicing in this life is, rather than the classical view of escaping continuing existence after bodily death, is instead to attain some sort of grounding in existence, a less stressful existence.

It was commonly stated in the suttas that attaining arahatship had little to show for it in the continuing life of the one who attained it. Buddha even said jhana was a sort of mundane reward for the arahant, and that should be enjoyed as the reward in this life, before death and nibbana.

If I am being obviously ignorant or totally dogmatic regarding something please point this out to me.


Reincarnation seems to be a totally integral teaching to even the least imaginative practitioner. Nibbana means no more existence. Samsara is existence, continuing.
How could a man travel for about 40 years around India, up to old age, teaching how he considered the whole mass of existence to be organised and how to end it, if he thought death was essentially nibbana also, and the teaching of reincarnation untrue.

There are several times Buddha had said to elderly people, (paraphrasing) "quick, take up the practice to a decent degree before death". Surely only a villain would implore those nearing death to work on meditative practice whilst personally believing nibbana was always death.


When I am in the midst of jhana and I am in these absurd altered scenarios for two or three hours a go, the question of what happens after death does not explicitly manifest. But outside of meditation this weighs heavily on my mind.


Thank you for reading and will enjoy responses
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  • cmarti
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7 years 8 months ago #94242 by cmarti
Replied by cmarti on topic Re: On reincarnation
JMHO, but I think "reincarnation" refers mainly to the rebirth that happens to us every second. There is no permanent, enduring "me" to be found anywhere, so the me that experiences every moment of existence is a new me. I suspect but cannot prove that all of the Buddha's teachings on the topic can be interpreted to mean just that, and not the more typical yet less, um, realistic interpretation.
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  • Jack H
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7 years 8 months ago #94243 by Jack H
Replied by Jack H on topic Re: On reincarnation

"leodeger":1bjzerhi wrote: When I am in the midst of jhana and I am in these absurd altered scenarios for two or three hours a go, the question of what happens after death does not explicitly manifest. But outside of meditation this weighs heavily on my mind.[/quote:1bjzerhi]

This story line or narrative about death seems to have a lot of energy for you but it is still just words. See if this helps, when you have these thoughts off the cushion ask yourself this question: How am I experiencing this moment? Pay attention to body sensations, feeling tone, emotions and thoughts. See if you can objectify them. Don't get back into the story and see what happens.

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  • beoman.claudiu
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7 years 8 months ago #94244 by beoman.claudiu
Replied by beoman.claudiu on topic Re: On reincarnation
[quote:28y0nyex]Reincarnation seems to be a totally integral teaching to even the least imaginative practitioner. Nibbana means no more existence. Samsara is existence, continuing.[/quote:28y0nyex]
I agree. It seems pretty straightforward.

Take note that the Buddha didn't say this simply because it made sense to him. He had profound visions, while meditating, that indicated to him that this was the truth. EDIT: What follows is suttic evidence for that claim. So as not to waste anyone's time, after all that I'm going to ask the question: "Are you going to follow a path defined by the translated words ultimately derived from the vivid hallucinations of someone who died 2500 years ago?" If you're still interested then read on.

[url=http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/mn/mn.012.ntbb.html:28y0nyex]For example[/url:28y0nyex]:

[quote:28y0nyex]9. "Sariputta, the Tathagata has these ten Tathagata's powers, possessing which he claims the herd-leader's place, roars his lion's roar in the assemblies, and sets rolling the Wheel of Brahma.[5] What are the ten?
[...]
17. (8) "Again, the Tathagata recollects his manifold past lives, that is, one birth, two births, three births, four births, five births, ten births, twenty births, thirty births, forty births, fifty births, a hundred births, a thousand births, a hundred thousand births, many aeons of world-contraction, many aeons of world-expansion, many aeons of world-contraction and expansion: 'There I was so named, of such a clan, with such an appearance, such was my nutriment, such my experience of pleasure and pain, such my life-term; and passing away from there, I reappeared elsewhere; and there too I was so named, of such a clan, with such an appearance, such was my nutriment, such my experience of pleasure and pain, such my life-term; and passing away from there, I reappeared here.' Thus with their aspects and particulars he recollects his manifold past lives. That too is a Tathagata's power...[/quote:28y0nyex]
Note also that along the same lines is how he realized the divine law of karma. It wasn't just intellectually appealing to him... it came from visions during profound meditation - what one might nowadays call hallucinations:
[quote:28y0nyex]18. [...] the Tathagata sees beings passing away and reappearing, [...] and he understands how beings pass on according to their actions thus: 'These worthy beings who were ill-conducted in body, speech and mind, revilers of noble ones, wrong in their views, giving effect to wrong view in their actions, on the dissolution of the body, [71] after death, have reappeared in a state of deprivation, in a bad destination, in perdition, even in hell; but these worthy beings who were well-conducted in body, speech and mind, not revilers of noble ones, right in their views, giving effect to right view in their actions, on the dissolution of the body, after death, have reappeared in a good destination, even in the heavenly world.'[/quote:28y0nyex]
Indeed it is grounds for going to hell to accuse the Buddha - with the intention of discouraging his followers - of saying these things merely because of their intellectual appeal and not out of divine knowledge:
[quote:28y0nyex]21. "Sariputta, when I know and see thus, should anyone say of me: 'The recluse Gotama does not have any superhuman states, any distinction in knowledge and vision worthy of the noble ones. The recluse Gotama teaches a Dhamma (merely) hammered out by reasoning, following his own line of inquiry as it occurs to him' — unless he abandons that assertion and that state of mind and relinquishes that view, then as (surely as if he had been) carried off and put there he will wind up in hell.[/quote:28y0nyex]
This is appallingly unscientific, of course, which is not surprising given the scientific method had not been discovered yet thousands of years ago, but it seems to me there's little to canonically support the "rebirth every second" interpretation that cmarti is not alone in espousing. Reincarnation is an integral part of the path Buddha laid out. It would make no sense, otherwise, since then you could just end all your suffering by killing yourself. The reason you can't just do that is because you will get reborn, and in a worse destination than you are now. However, following this reasoning, a Noble One should then be able to kill themselves because they have supposedly ended all rebirths. And there is indeed canonical support for that (sutta from [url=http://www.vipassana.info/144-channovada-e.htm:28y0nyex]this link[/url:28y0nyex]):

[quote:28y0nyex]{Sariputta] ‘ Friend, Channa, how are you feeling? [...]
[Channa] ‘Friend, Sariputta, I do not feel well, [...] I will take a weapon to end life.’ [...]
[Sariputta] ‘Friend, Channa, do not take a weapon, do survive [...]
[Channa] Friend, Sariputta, for a disciple who has done his duties by the Teacher pleasantly, there is nothing wrong if he takes a weapon to end life, remember it as that.’[...]
Soon after they had gone venerable Channa took a weapon and put an end to his life. Then venerable Sariputta approached the Blessed One, worshipped, sat on a side and said.’Venerable sir, venerable Channa has put an end to his life, what are his movements after death?’[...]
[Buddha] Sariputta, if someone gives up this body and seizes another, I say it is a fault. In the bhikkhu that fault is not apparent. Bhikkhu Channa took his life faultlessly.’[/quote:28y0nyex]
Now the question you have to ask yourself is are you going to follow a path defined by the translated words ultimately derived from the vivid hallucinations of someone who died 2500 years ago?

Cheers,
- Claudiu
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  • Bill29ish
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7 years 8 months ago #94245 by Bill29ish
Replied by Bill29ish on topic Re: On reincarnation
Beoman: I had to read all the way to the end just to give up my own response to your response. I feel cheated.
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  • beoman.claudiu
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7 years 8 months ago #94246 by beoman.claudiu
Replied by beoman.claudiu on topic Re: On reincarnation

"Bill29ish":169ah3ss wrote: Beoman: I had to read all the way to the end just to give up my own response to your response. I feel cheated.[/quote:169ah3ss]
Apologies. I've copied the question to the top as well. I'd be interested in your response regardless. I'd also be curious what in particular put you off about the question since the following are all facts:

- It is a path
- It was laid out by the Buddha
- To be a Buddhist is to follow this path (though experientially verifying it for oneself)
- We are reading translations of the Buddha's words
- The words & the path were derived from his visions (e.g. divine eye)
- Visions are hallucinations ("A [url=http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hallucination:169ah3ss]hallucination[/url:169ah3ss] is a perception in the absence of apparent stimulus which has qualities of real perception. Hallucinations are vivid, substantial, and located in external objective space.")
- the Buddha died about 2500 years ago

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  • Bill29ish
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7 years 8 months ago #94247 by Bill29ish
Replied by Bill29ish on topic Re: On reincarnation
Beoman: No need for an apology. I had made an assumption that you were trying to be satirical. I ought to have read more carefully.

I would question how a statement like "It is a path" could be qualified as a fact. What makes something factual? Verification? If this verification is experiential or subjective than I'm sure any number of people could call many things a fact.
Direct experience seems beyond concepts like true or false. It also feels pathless. And yet there is more to life than that, and I don't mean to reify direct experience, but it seems more trustworthy than a belief. And isn't that just another belief;) So what am I left with?
I would also call into question your sense of the historical accuracy of the teachings. You don't actually know that the Buddha laid out this path, or even that he died 2500 years ago. An informed opinion perhaps, but not factual.
I am wondering what you think it is that gets reincarnated, if you do believe this to be true, which, unless I'm mistaken, you haven't actually said you do?
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  • beoman.claudiu
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7 years 8 months ago #94248 by beoman.claudiu
Replied by beoman.claudiu on topic Re: On reincarnation
I'll answer your post slightly out of order so it flows better.

"Bill29ish":1kcjxzse wrote: What makes something factual? Verification? If this verification is experiential or subjective than I'm sure any number of people could call many things a fact.[/quote:1kcjxzse]
Hmm if you don't know it experientially yet then you'll have to take it as an assumption that there is an objective reality where things actually happen. e.g. right now I'm actually typing on a keyboard and it's causing a bunch of stuff to happen so that eventually (right now, for you) you will actually be reading these words. So it's a fact that I'm typing at this keyboard and that you are reading these words now, the words that I am now writing. I suppose you can say you yourself don't know 100% that I'm sitting here typing because you're not seeing me do it, but that would mean I'm an AI or something and AI isn't that well-developed yet. Or that I'm writing it on my iPhone and not on a keyboard but that's just nitpicking =P.

Is that simple enough? (I'll address your "historical accuracy" comments later on in light of this.)

"Bill29ish":1kcjxzse wrote: I would question how a statement like "It is a path" could be qualified as a fact.[/quote:1kcjxzse]
Hmm well it's called the Noble Eightfold Path, no? I just meant it's a path - a series of steps one can take - to become an Arahat. It's a practice laid out in the Pali Canon. Something you do with a goal in mind. The notion of not having to do anything to be enlightened does not appear in the Pali Canon as far as I'm aware. Rather there's a whole bunch of stuff to develop, for example the 37 [url=http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/authors/thanissaro/wings/index.html#table:1kcjxzse]Wings of Awakening[/url:1kcjxzse]: The Four Frames of Reference, The Four Right Exertions, The Four Bases of Power, The Five Faculties, The Five Strengths, The Seven Factors for Awakening, and The Noble Eightfold Path. It seems hard to argue that the Pali Canon [b:1kcjxzse]doesn't[/b:1kcjxzse] lay out a path from being a run-of-the-mill person to being an Arahat. And just to make sure we're not getting caught up in terminology, by path I mean "A method or direction of proceeding."

"Bill29ish":1kcjxzse wrote: Direct experience seems beyond concepts like true or false.[/quote:1kcjxzse]Depends what you mean by direct experience. Now, it's true that a concept of something is not the thing itself, but that doesn't mean the thing itself is beyond concepts. Things can often be accurately described. For example, it's true (or, I prefer, factual) that I am typing out words on a computer screen. It is false (or not factual) that I have hired three monkeys to type this for me.

"Bill29ish":1kcjxzse wrote: It also feels pathless.[/quote:1kcjxzse]
Well, direct experience isn't a path, it's just what's going on right now. But if you're not enlightened now, and you want to be enlightened, the Buddha developed a path to help people do that, based on his experience.

"Bill29ish":1kcjxzse wrote: And yet there is more to life than that, and I don't mean to reify direct experience, but it seems more trustworthy than a belief. And isn't that just another belief;) So what am I left with?[/quote:1kcjxzse]
Well there's more than just beliefs. There's the experience of what's going on right now. That's so much richer than a strand of thought backed by emotions - there's this ridiculous amount of sensory input going on right now! Were you noticing it? Check it out!

"Bill29ish":1kcjxzse wrote: I would also call into question your sense of the historical accuracy of the teachings. You don't actually know that the Buddha laid out this path, or even that he died 2500 years ago. An informed opinion perhaps, but not factual.[/quote:1kcjxzse]
So, yes, I think it's reasonable to conclude someone called Siddhartha Gautama did exist and did create this path. Where would it have come from otherwise? Other explanations seem less likely. Now it's also true that they're not necessarily historically accurate. I hear there was about 500 years of oral tradition before these things were written down. Further, we're reading English translations, and I'm sure that they are very wrong in some cases, seeing as how they weren't translated by Arahats and it seems without a direct knowledge of that which the words are referring to it's easy to make mistakes.

And that was part of the point of asking that question. Basically a way to get the reader - which I'm assuming, this being a pragmatic dharma forum, meditates, considers the Buddha to have been Fully Enlightened, agrees with his teachings, and seeks to be enlightened themselves - to ask themselves: why do you put any stake in Buddhism at all? And if you do meditate and do take instruction from reading the Pali Canon, why do you think it is that which the Buddha taught, especially if your opinion differs drastically on such an important point as reincarnation?

"Bill29ish":1kcjxzse wrote: I am wondering what you think it is that gets reincarnated, if you do believe this to be true, which, unless I'm mistaken, you haven't actually said you do?[/quote:1kcjxzse]
You are correct! I think the whole reincarnation business is nothing but a delusion. And this is coming from me having personally experienced 'past lives' during a deep meditation session once. Essentially I had memories which linked back to what was going in my life at that point, of being people who I had never heard of, in ways that made intuitive sense, e.g. I died in one life with my left leg severely damaged which is why it hurt then, or in another life I died after my wife did and never made peace with that deep sorrow and so that is why I am anxious around women nowadays, etc. So I know it's not just a belief - it can be experienced - but I think the experience is nothing but hallucinations resulting from meditation. There's no evidence for them being anything other than that.

As to what it is that gets reincarnated, I'm not entirely sure. Something or other that ultimately originates in ignorance, so the teachings go.

Cheers,
- Claudiu

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  • Bill29ish
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7 years 8 months ago #94249 by Bill29ish
Replied by Bill29ish on topic Re: On reincarnation
Hey Beoman:

Thank you for your reply. I can find much to agree with, and I understand how you would say that the buddha laid out a path according to the information from the pali cannon. I would counter a few of your opinions though.

You wrote:
"Hmm if you don't know it experientially yet then you'll have to take it as an assumption that there is an objective reality where things actually happen. e.g. right now I'm actually typing on a keyboard "

I would counter there is no experiential reality that you can objectively encounter that includes "right now" "I" "typing" or "a keyboard". These seem to be collectively agreed upon symbols for a reality that experientially contains none of them, at least not as discrete objects that can be known as such. Where the right now that you are "actually" experiencing? And what does it stand in opposition to? A then? A moment ago? And what is meant by "actually"? What's outside of that? Where is the in-anctual and how do you separate?

I would still be curious to know how you would define fact, and what that means in relation to experiences as seemingly different as you typing on a computer and the buddha dying 2500 years ago.

"Well there's more than just beliefs. There's the experience of what's going on right now. That's so much richer than a strand of thought backed by emotions - there's this ridiculous amount of sensory input going on right now! Were you noticing it? Check it out!"

That's what I was pointing towards. It was rhetorical. I wasn't actually hoping you would help me out of this ethical dilemma;)

P.S: Adding a <!-- s;) --><img src="{SMILIES_PATH}/icon_e_wink.gif" alt=";)" title="Wink" /><!-- s;) --> after a snide comments allows one to be an asshole on the internet while pretending to be polite.

&quot;And if you do meditate and do take instruction from reading the Pali Canon, why do you think it is that which the Buddha taught, especially if your opinion differs drastically on such an important point as reincarnation? &quot;

I think it always important when considering historical sources from several millenia ago to look at the cultural implications of the time. I really don't know much about the buddha. I mean, no one does. It was, as you say, an oral tradition passed around for five hundred years. There could have been personal, economic, polotical or social reasons for including teachings on reincarnation that no one is aware of today. In studying the history of the new testament, an educated opinion is that many of the teachings attributed to Jesus had a little do with what Jesus taught, and much more to do with maintaining the status quo and using his life and teachings to make sense of the old testament so that those who wanted to maintain a religion rather than transform (a sticky word, I know) their understanding could do so. I find no reason to think that the same thing might not have happened within buddhism.

Bill
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  • beoman.claudiu
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7 years 8 months ago #94250 by beoman.claudiu
Replied by beoman.claudiu on topic Re: On reincarnation

&quot;Bill29ish&quot;:iiqyybb1 wrote: You wrote:
&quot;Hmm if you don't know it experientially yet then you'll have to take it as an assumption that there is an objective reality where things actually happen. e.g. right now I'm actually typing on a keyboard &quot;

I would counter there is no experiential reality that you can objectively encounter that includes &quot;right now&quot; &quot;I&quot; &quot;typing&quot; or &quot;a keyboard&quot;. These seem to be collectively agreed upon symbols for a reality that experientially contains none of them, at least not as discrete objects that can be known as such.[/quote:iiqyybb1]
Ah here's where we'll probably start going around in circles. I'm not sure how to short-circuit it to make it more productive. Let's see... you said &quot;collectively agreed upon symbols&quot;. I agree that the word &quot;keyboard&quot; is a set of symbols and it differs from the keyboard that is perceived by our senses. Now - what is that thing which everybody agrees the symbols &quot;keyboard&quot; refer to? That physical thing. Is that not a keyboard that actually exists and can be known as such, via the senses?

I'll answer this next part about 'fact' first as it'll make answering your questions about 'actually' easier:

&quot;Bill29ish&quot;:iiqyybb1 wrote: I would still be curious to know how you would define fact, and what that means in relation to experiences as seemingly different as you typing on a computer and the buddha dying 2500 years ago.[/quote:iiqyybb1]
First we have to agree that there's an objective reality. If there's no objective reality then there's no such thing as a fact, since it's all subjective. We can maybe even agree that there's an objective reality that is subjectively perceived by multiple people, but the source of their perception is ultimately their senses picking up something that objectively exists - actual light bouncing off actual object into actual eye which is then put together by the brain, slightly different for a colorblind person vs. not, but still derived from the same objective object ultimately.

If we can't agree on that then we won't really get much out of each other. But if we do, then a fact is a statement that accurately reflects this objective reality. Am I actually typing on a computer? Yes, this is a fact. Did the Buddha die 2500 years ago? I'm not sure. Either it is a fact or it isn't. That requires some figuring out. But I would say the evidence points towards &quot;yes&quot;.

&quot;Bill29ish&quot;:iiqyybb1 wrote: Where the right now that you are &quot;actually&quot; experiencing?[/quote:iiqyybb1]
It's all around me. &quot;Right now&quot; and &quot;right here&quot; is the arena in which everything I'm experiencing is happening.

&quot;Bill29ish&quot;:iiqyybb1 wrote: And what does it stand in opposition to? A then? A moment ago?[/quote:iiqyybb1]
It doesn't stand in opposition to anything. It's just always here. And I'm either conscious and perceiving it, or unconscious and not.

&quot;Bill29ish&quot;:iiqyybb1 wrote: And what is meant by &quot;actually&quot;?[/quote:iiqyybb1]
By &quot;actually exists&quot; I mean is part of objective reality as described above.

&quot;Bill29ish&quot;:iiqyybb1 wrote: What's outside of that? Where is the in-anctual and how do you separate?[/quote:iiqyybb1]
The experience of past-lives I gave wasn't actual. I did indeed have that experience - so it's a fact that I experienced what I descrobe - but it was just a hallucination. The apparent meaning derived from the experience (e.g. that I am a reincarnation of that person who lost his wife) has no basis in facts or in objective reality.

&quot;Bill29ish&quot;:iiqyybb1 wrote: &quot;Well there's more than just beliefs. There's the experience of what's going on right now. That's so much richer than a strand of thought backed by emotions - there's this ridiculous amount of sensory input going on right now! Were you noticing it? Check it out!&quot;

That's what I was pointing towards. It was rhetorical. I wasn't actually hoping you would help me out of this ethical dilemma;)

P.S: Adding a <!-- s;) --><img src="{SMILIES_PATH}/icon_e_wink.gif" alt=";)" title="Wink" /><!-- s;) --> after a snide comments allows one to be an asshole on the internet while pretending to be polite.[/quote:iiqyybb1]
Oh haha. Well you're a bastard and you smell! <!-- s;) --><img src="{SMILIES_PATH}/icon_e_wink.gif" alt=";)" title="Wink" /><!-- s;) -->

&quot;Bill29ish&quot;:iiqyybb1 wrote: &quot;And if you do meditate and do take instruction from reading the Pali Canon, why do you think it is that which the Buddha taught, especially if your opinion differs drastically on such an important point as reincarnation? &quot;

I think it always important when considering historical sources from several millenia ago to look at the cultural implications of the time. I really don't know much about the buddha. I mean, no one does. It was, as you say, an oral tradition passed around for five hundred years. There could have been personal, economic, polotical or social reasons for including teachings on reincarnation that no one is aware of today. In studying the history of the new testament, an educated opinion is that many of the teachings attributed to Jesus had a little do with what Jesus taught, and much more to do with maintaining the status quo and using his life and teachings to make sense of the old testament so that those who wanted to maintain a religion rather than transform (a sticky word, I know) their understanding could do so. I find no reason to think that the same thing might not have happened within buddhism.[/quote:iiqyybb1]
Yes, true. That seems entirely reasonable. I can see that having happened with Buddhism, although in the opposite direction. In the Buddha's time, reincarnation was part of the culture. It was an accepted thing that that's what happens. So it makes sense the Buddha's path would include it. I mean, given how large a part of the culture it was, either way he would have to talk about it and address it somehow. There's no way otherwise. Now if he knew, from his divine seeing, that reincarnation was false, that it was just a delusory intuition, wouldn't he mention that repeatedly? It would be all over the canon. Or he would at least say somewhere that reincarnation is just skillful means and you shouldn't cling to it, or whatever. You could argue that in the 500 years it took to write it down, people simply reversed the stance, but that seems like a less likely hypothesis. On the contrary, some of the most fundamental parts of the canon - the three watches of the night before Buddha became enlightened, for example - include bits on reincarnation - seeing beings appear and disappear and going to a destination in accordance with their karma.

Yet we live now in a more scientific age, and people are rightly skeptical about reincarnation, so there are many Buddhists now that simply discount it. What you said here was very relevant and speaks to my point. With Christianity, you said a lot of the sayings attributed to Jesus had &quot;much more to do with maintaining the status quo and using his life and teachings to make sense of the old testament so that those who wanted to maintain a religion rather than transform [...] their understanding could do so&quot;. People today who say they are Buddhists, or meditate in accordance with the Buddha's words, yet don't believe in reincarnation - can't it be said they are using the Buddha's life and teachings to maintain their own worldview and understanding instead of actually transforming? If your goal is to get enlightened, and the Buddha's path does lead to enlightenment, can you really be said to be following the path if you discount something as central to it as reincarnation?

To me it seems something major has been lost. There are hundreds of millions of Buddhists out there. Yet how many are Arahats? Many people even say there aren't any at all. Essentially Buddhism needs another Buddha to come along and resurrect the meaning of the Canon. However, just like someone claiming to be Jesus today would more likely be put into a mental asylum instead of worshiped, I wonder if a Buddha today might not be recognized as an Arahat at all by any of the current sects of Buddhism...

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  • Bill29ish
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7 years 8 months ago #94251 by Bill29ish
Replied by Bill29ish on topic Re: On reincarnation
Hey Beoman: Thank you for your response. There would be areas where I would quibble, but as you wrote, it would become a circular conversation shortly. I do not now, if I ever did, consider myself a buddhist, so I cant respond accurately to a buddhist relationship to reincarnation. I did enjoy your closing comment on contemporary buddhas.
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  • beoman.claudiu
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7 years 8 months ago #94252 by beoman.claudiu
Replied by beoman.claudiu on topic Re: On reincarnation

&quot;Bill29ish&quot;:2i9sb1jy wrote: Hey Beoman: Thank you for your response. There would be areas where I would quibble, but as you wrote, it would become a circular conversation shortly. I do not now, if I ever did, consider myself a buddhist, so I cant respond accurately to a buddhist relationship to reincarnation. I did enjoy your closing comment on contemporary buddhas.[/quote:2i9sb1jy]
It was fun chatting. Cheers, sir, and best of luck.

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  • Craig
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7 years 7 months ago #94253 by Craig
Replied by Craig on topic Re: On reincarnation
I'm new to the KFD forum. Hello.

I like this question 1) because the answer is so elusive and 2) it creates a kind of suspension of the ability to know something for sure even when you feel like there's something that should be known and 3) because it's connected with how you live this human life.

I realize that it's just a theory, but i'll try to say what it is and welcome feedback (duh).

It does appear that human beings exhibit unique qualities from the very first days after birth, sometimes leading up to what we call child prodigies, talents that are very difficult to explain without some kind of theory about prior influences. I think of these prior influences as being patterns set up in the quantum field that find their way from one human life to another. The morphogenic field theory of Rupert Sheldrake sheds light on this approach.

I don't believe that you or I or anyone has ever reincarnated. Because there is no one to reincarnate. There is no self that could move from incarnation to carnation. But it seems like something carries over. Hmmmm sounds like karma. I think karma is the set of influences that get transferred from lifetime to lifetime and are developed over some series thereof. So when i say karma i mean this set of influences that get carried over from life to life (nothing new there). The carrier of the influences is the quantum field (aka morphogenic field, aka the akashic record) that records the changes allowing them to continue on (modernity explaining myth?).

The best analogy for reincarnation I've heard is from a buddhist teacher (i don't remember who, and this is paraphrased): is the flame that starts a forest fire the same flame that burns the last tree before the fire is put out? Obviously, the answer is yes and no. The question them becomes; are you your karma? Yes and no. Since i know there's not ghost in the machine, my unfolding life is a result of past influences interacting with current conditions that affects the set of influecnes entering the moment before.

The bottom line for me is that since i believe (informed opinion) that what i do in this life will influence the morphogenic field and be passed on to another human being, i'm more serious about what influences i create for myself and others. Truth be told, i just want to be an example of the highest form of human being i can conceive of, even if i'll never reach it, and even if it isn't passed on. Waking up from the dream of a separate self leads one to the same goal of living as does belief in reincarnation.

In the big view, since the whole universe is an illusion (an interacting quantum field) in the infinite eternal cosmos, why not take it seriously and seek the highest aspirations?
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  • Jack H
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7 years 7 months ago #94254 by Jack H
Replied by Jack H on topic Re: On reincarnation
I think there is a difference between what the Buddha believed and what he taught as the way to liberation. The first includes physical rebirth and the latter does not.
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