Author Topic: Cycle of rebirth is impossible since there is a beginning  (Read 1523 times)

Offline VincentRJ

  • Member
  • Posts: 174
    • View Profile
Re: Cycle of rebirth is impossible since there is a beginning
« Reply #30 on: May 17, 2017, 07:51:48 pm »

Lastly, one should not confuse the ‘non-self’ with ‘no-self’ and the ‘non-eternal soul’ with ‘no-soul.’  Buddhism sees in the existence of self or soul but only in a manner of non-ownership or impermanency i.e. there is an influx of self or soul but not the one-off static kind of self or soul.

 I cannot follow you here. Could you please elaborate?

I share your difficulty here, Bahman. So many religions, such as Judaism, Christianity, Islam and Hinduism, have a belief in a permanent soul or identity, and therefore a life after death which will be either wonderful or horrible depending on one's behaviour in this life.

As I understand, the Buddha's view was rather heretical within the context of the prevailing Brahmanism of the times, with it's acceptance of the caste system and its ritual sacrifices with included the killing of animals such as goats and elephants.

The problem as I see it is that Gautama Buddha, teaching in such an environment where most people were brought up to believe in various Gods, and to believe in a permanent soul, would not have achieved much success if he were to have blatantly contradicted such values.

I suspect there was a compromise. This compromise has led to a confusion between the Vedic concept of Reincarnation and the Buddhist concept of Rebirth.
A permanent soul implies a permanent identity, which Buddhism rejects. Yet, in the night under the Bodhi Tree, the Pali Tipitaka account goes into some detail about the Buddha's recollection of former lives. To quote:

"He recollects a variety of former habitations, thus: one birth, two births...three..four...five... ten...twenty...thirty..forty...fifty... a thousand... a hundred thousand births, and many an eon of integration and many an eon of disintegration, and many an eon of integration-disintegration.
Such a one was I by name, having such and such a clan, such and such a color, so was I nourished, such and such pleasant and painful experiences were mine, so did the span of life end. Passing from this, I arose here."

'Thus he recollects diverse former habitations in all their modes and detail.'


Now I would claim that such a description implies at least a degree of permanency of a soul, until that soul has reached Nirvana, and that such a soul must include an identity of 'self', otherwise, how would it be possible to 'recollect diverse former habitations in all their modes and detail'?

Offline stillpointdancer

  • Enlightenment through insight
  • Member
  • Posts: 349
  • Dancing at the Still Point describes my meditation
    • View Profile
    • Enlightenment for Grown Ups
Re: Cycle of rebirth is impossible since there is a beginning
« Reply #31 on: May 18, 2017, 02:00:48 am »
Hi, bahman.

I understand your doubts.  If what you think is true, then how do you interpret the words:
Quote
..."Over and over,"...?

 Without a self things is over upon death therefore there is no "Over and over". The person who suffer in the next life because of your karma is not you.
That's an interesting observation, "Without a self.... the person who suffer(s) in the next life....is not you" I think that's pretty close to what happens in the sense of karma. What you do in this life affects people in the future. They live in the consequences of the stuff that we do. They may suffer more because of our actions- what better motivation could we have to follow the path?
“You do not need to leave your room. Remain sitting at your table and listen. Do not even listen, simply wait, be quiet, still and solitary. The world will freely offer itself to you to be unmasked, it has no choice, it will roll in ecstasy at your feet.” Franz Kafka

Offline VincentRJ

  • Member
  • Posts: 174
    • View Profile
Re: Cycle of rebirth is impossible since there is a beginning
« Reply #32 on: May 18, 2017, 03:37:48 am »
Hi, bahman.

I understand your doubts.  If what you think is true, then how do you interpret the words:
Quote
..."Over and over,"...?

 Without a self things is over upon death therefore there is no "Over and over". The person who suffer in the next life because of your karma is not you.
That's an interesting observation, "Without a self.... the person who suffer(s) in the next life....is not you" I think that's pretty close to what happens in the sense of karma. What you do in this life affects people in the future. They live in the consequences of the stuff that we do. They may suffer more because of our actions- what better motivation could we have to follow the path?

That's true. Our behaviour in this life, at the individual level, and at a governmental and societal level, affects future generations. A mother who drinks heavily during pregnancy will likely affect the health of her new-born child. A country that wages war on another country, or tribe, will likely gender a lot of hatred that will be passed down from generation to generation and have continuing consequences for perhaps hundreds of years.

However, the question is, can this process be described as Karma, or is it just the natural conditioning of the young by their parents' biases and the culture in which they are brought up?

Offline stillpointdancer

  • Enlightenment through insight
  • Member
  • Posts: 349
  • Dancing at the Still Point describes my meditation
    • View Profile
    • Enlightenment for Grown Ups
Re: Cycle of rebirth is impossible since there is a beginning
« Reply #33 on: May 18, 2017, 04:00:51 am »
Good point VincentRJ. Could karma have a number of aspects, with people living with the consequences of our actions being one of them?
“You do not need to leave your room. Remain sitting at your table and listen. Do not even listen, simply wait, be quiet, still and solitary. The world will freely offer itself to you to be unmasked, it has no choice, it will roll in ecstasy at your feet.” Franz Kafka

Offline Ron-the-Elder

  • Member
  • Posts: 4471
  • May all beings live rightly and harmoniously.
    • View Profile
Re: Cycle of rebirth is impossible since there is a beginning
« Reply #34 on: May 18, 2017, 05:01:10 am »
Quote
vincent RJ:  However, the question is, can this process be described as Karma, or is it just the natural conditioning of the young by their parents' biases and the culture in which they are brought up?"

A Rose by any other name?.......
What Makes an Elder? :
A head of gray hairs doesn't mean one's an elder. Advanced in years, one's called an old fool.
But one in whom there is truth, restraint, rectitude, gentleness,self-control, he's called an elder, his impurities disgorged, enlightened.
-Dhammpada, 19, translated by Thanissaro Bhikkhu.

Offline chowkit74

  • Member
  • Posts: 39
    • View Profile
Re: Cycle of rebirth is impossible since there is a beginning
« Reply #35 on: May 18, 2017, 08:25:08 pm »

Understanding the Cycle of Dependent Origination


Balance leads to stability.  Stability leads to aggregation.  Aggregation leads to agitation.  Agitation leads to information.  Information leads to knowledge. Knowledge leads to representation.  Representation leads to memory.  Memory leads to compulsion.  Compulsion leads to ignorance.  Ignorance leads to blindness.  Blindness leads to disorientation.  Disorientation leads to confusion. Confusion leads to irrationality.  Irrationality leads to impulse.  Impulse leads to sparkling.  Sparkling leads to inkling.  Inkling leads to volition.  Volition leads to awareness.  Awareness leads to consciousness.  Consciousness leads to manas.  Manas leads to mind and body.  Mind and body lead to sensation. Sensation leads to six sense bases.  Six sense bases lead to conductivity. Conductivity leads to contact.  Contact leads to stimulation.  Stimulation leads to feeling.  Feeling leads to experience.  Experience leads to craving.  Craving leads to grasping.  Grasping leads to clinging.  Clinging leads to unsettling. Unsettling leads to becoming.  Becoming leads to creation.  Creation leads to birth.  Birth leads to energising.  Energising leads to mobility.  Mobility leads to hauling.  Hauling leads to aging.  Aging leads to draining.  Draining leads to death.  Death leads to fragility.  Fragility leads to segregation.  Segregation leads to diffusion.  Diffusion leads to imbalance.  Imbalance leads to adjustment.  Adjustment leads to alignment.  Alignment leads to new balance.

 This is how I understand birth, here. Death is simpler. It is simply decay. So you understand consciousness, feeling, and all other things that you describe above including death if we understand birth. SO in simple word I don't agree with the cycle.

Perhaps, you may answer some of these questions: -

What is the NY WTC towers made of?  Where are the tons of rubble nowadays?  Does it just vanish into thin air?

Offline chowkit74

  • Member
  • Posts: 39
    • View Profile
Re: Cycle of rebirth is impossible since there is a beginning
« Reply #36 on: May 18, 2017, 08:38:59 pm »
Quote

Cause  =  Effect
                                             

Cause 1 conjures up Effect 1,                       
Effect 1 conjures up Cause 1-1,   
Cause 1-1 conjures up Effect 1-2,
Effect 1-2 conjures up Cause 1-2,               
.., etc.

 I am afraid that I cannot follow you. Could you please elaborate?


Cause and effect are simply two aspects of the same thing i.e. both of it are inter-be.  The only difference between these two aspects is the time of event.  In other words, cause and effect are inter-changing, inter-relating and inter-waving with one another.  This is the modus operandi of the conventional reality i.e. not in-linear but in interdependence, inter-woven and inter-relation since the dawn of time in a very comprehensive and complicated network of existence.  On this pretext, the coordination of Dependent Origination cannot be referred independently in a linear point of reference and therefore, no first cause, no first effect can be found within the dependent nature.  Instead, there is only inter-dependent co-arising of all things or matters. 

Offline chowkit74

  • Member
  • Posts: 39
    • View Profile
Re: Cycle of rebirth is impossible since there is a beginning
« Reply #37 on: May 18, 2017, 09:05:27 pm »
Quote

The Coffee in a Cup


Let’s say Coffee Original is one of the special brewed drinks: -

300ml     hot liquid water       
70%       coffee powder           =>      100% Coffee Original in cup Jumbo
30%       condensed milk                   

Supposedly, the cup Jumbo has broken apart by accident and the content has splattered around i.e.

30%        onto the table,
40%        onto the floor,
5%          onto the wall,
10%        onto the drain,
5%          vaporised into thin air,
10%        remained in the broken cup.

A cleaner took up a rag and wiped off the remaining liquid coffee in sequential order starting from the table, the floor and then the wall.  In a repeated gesture, the cleaner squeezed off the wet rag and the remaining coffee liquid flowed into three separate cups i.e.

Cup 1       80% already filled with tea liquid mixture.
Cup 2       90% already filled with mocha liquid mixture.
Cup 3       55% already filled with mineral water.

Let’s say 300ml of properties is a benchmark for a qualified special brewed drink. The cleaner then filled up the respective cup rooms with liquids deriving from the rag that are by and large the remaining of Coffee Original deriving from the table, the floor and the wall.  In this case, the respective 300ml of liquids in Cup 1, Cup 2 and Cup 3 is dependent on the Coffee Original before a new special brewed drink is made possible.  However, this does not mean that Coffee Original is the only dependent source or ingredient.  Respectively, Cup 1, Cup 2 and Cup 3 would need to depend upon many other sustaining factors as well such as the already partially filled liquids and new cups before qualifying as special brewed drinks.

As a conclusion, the new liquid mixture arising in Cup 1, Cup 2 and Cup 3 is neither identical to, nor entirely different from, the old coffee liquid, but forms part of a causal continuum or stream with it.  There is a conditioned relationship between one liquid and the next; it is not identical but neither is it completely distinct.  The beauty of nature is that it allows all sorts of activities taking place such as aggregation, segregation, evolution, mutation, assimilation, etc.  As a consequence, every existence would not be totally the same or different from each other.  We are all closely inter-depending, inter-waving and inter-relating with one another since the dawn of time in a very comprehensive and complicated network of existence – just like the Christian believes that all mankind derived from Adam and Eve. 

 To my understanding all we have are elementary particles which interact with each other. We could have different type of phases or behaviors in matter depending on circumstances (bold part). I don't believe on conditional relationship as a intrinsic relation.


Buddhism basically touches on the scenario of cause and condition more than the case of cause and effect.  Frankly speaking, all phenomenal existences are products of the proper combination of causes and conditions.  For example, according to the philosophy of yin-yang, our bodies are made up of the combination of four great elements of earth, water, fire and wind and if any of these elements are not in a harmonious orientation, we would be taken ill physically.  These four elements would represent the causes and the conditions would be the need for it to orientate with one another harmoniously at all times or otherwise, our bodies would fall sick as the result. 

The principle-in-effect: -

This arising (the cause and condition), that arises (the result);
This ceasing (the cause and condition), that ceases (the result).

In other words, everything that exists is the result of multiple causes and conditions.  Each of the causes would need other causes to be present together with their respective conditions.  Just like for a new house to exist, we need the bricks, cement, wood, iron rods, roof tiles, plastic pipes and other materials.  The construction can only be completed when one has all the essential materials and all the prerequisites are met, such as the skillfulness of the workers, the time allocation, etc.  The wood needs the forest, the sunshine, the rain, etc.  The workers need their parents, their meals, their clothing, their shelters, etc.  If we were to observe these scenarios in its entirety, we could realise that everything in the cosmos attributed to the existence of the new house; without it, the new house would be impossible.  The clear fact here is that one cause is never enough to bring about an effect.  A cause must, at the same time, be an effect, and every effect must also be the cause of something else.

The principle-in-effect: -

Cause 1 conjures up Effect 1,                       
Effect 1 conjures up Cause 1-1,                   
Cause 1-1 conjures up Effect 1-1,
Effect 1-1 conjures up Cause 1-1-1,
.., etc.

Therefore, cause and effect are simply two aspects of the same thing.  The only difference between these two aspects is the time of event.  In other words, cause and effect are inter-changing, inter-relating and inter-waving with one another.  This is how the conventional reality works i.e. not in-linear but in inter-dependence, inter-woven and inter-relation since the dawn of time in a very comprehensive and complicated network of existence.  In other words, cause and effect cannot be referred independently in a linear point of reference and therefore, no first cause, no first effect can be found within the dependent nature.  Instead, there is only inter-dependent co-arising of all things or matters.  This means everything that exists is empty because there is no essence to anything and nothing has ever existed in its own quality – nothing is permanent and unchanging.  All objects exist conditionally without an eternal essence i.e. every existence is empty and emptiness is in every existence. 

"EVERYTHING IS A MATRIX OF EVERYTHING"

Offline chowkit74

  • Member
  • Posts: 39
    • View Profile
Re: Cycle of rebirth is impossible since there is a beginning
« Reply #38 on: May 18, 2017, 09:13:28 pm »
Quote

Lastly, one should not confuse the ‘non-self’ with ‘no-self’ and the ‘non-eternal soul’ with ‘no-soul.’  Buddhism sees in the existence of self or soul but only in a manner of non-ownership or impermanency i.e. there is an influx of self or soul but not the one-off static kind of self or soul.

 I cannot follow you here. Could you please elaborate?

The self refers to one’s individuality.  Buddhism teaches non-self instead of no-self.  Non-self means the non-ownership of self.  Buddhism merely sees in the non-existence of a ‘fixed’ self.  This is what the principle of emptiness is all about.  Nothing remains unchanging on any given moment.  Just like the saying goes, ‘Now you see it, now you don’t.’  Also, no two minds are the same.  Your past mind is not the same as your present mind and your present mind is not the same as your future mind.  The flux of your mind continues on beyond the grave but there is no transmigration of your mind happening.

What we used to claim such as the ‘I’ or ‘you’ or ‘we’ is merely an expression for our minds to comprehend on the day-to-day communication with another individual.  However, this expression does not grant us with an ownership of our soul or body.  And it is easier to explain the non-ownership of our body than our soul because we could see the rising (birth) and the passing (death) of physical bodies every time and anywhere we go.

As for the ‘soul’ thing, Buddhism sees in the absence of eternal existence of it.  Soul is just a plain description for something that arised in intelligence but without physical appearance.  And it is also not permanent and subject to change at all times under the influence of conditional phenomena (voidness in every existence).  So again, there is a non-ownership of the soul-of-self.

“The true nature is Buddha nature and the true self is Non-self.”


Offline bahman

  • Member
  • Posts: 107
    • View Profile
Re: Cycle of rebirth is impossible since there is a beginning
« Reply #39 on: May 19, 2017, 06:45:17 am »

Understanding the Cycle of Dependent Origination


Balance leads to stability.  Stability leads to aggregation.  Aggregation leads to agitation.  Agitation leads to information.  Information leads to knowledge. Knowledge leads to representation.  Representation leads to memory.  Memory leads to compulsion.  Compulsion leads to ignorance.  Ignorance leads to blindness.  Blindness leads to disorientation.  Disorientation leads to confusion. Confusion leads to irrationality.  Irrationality leads to impulse.  Impulse leads to sparkling.  Sparkling leads to inkling.  Inkling leads to volition.  Volition leads to awareness.  Awareness leads to consciousness.  Consciousness leads to manas.  Manas leads to mind and body.  Mind and body lead to sensation. Sensation leads to six sense bases.  Six sense bases lead to conductivity. Conductivity leads to contact.  Contact leads to stimulation.  Stimulation leads to feeling.  Feeling leads to experience.  Experience leads to craving.  Craving leads to grasping.  Grasping leads to clinging.  Clinging leads to unsettling. Unsettling leads to becoming.  Becoming leads to creation.  Creation leads to birth.  Birth leads to energising.  Energising leads to mobility.  Mobility leads to hauling.  Hauling leads to aging.  Aging leads to draining.  Draining leads to death.  Death leads to fragility.  Fragility leads to segregation.  Segregation leads to diffusion.  Diffusion leads to imbalance.  Imbalance leads to adjustment.  Adjustment leads to alignment.  Alignment leads to new balance.

 This is how I understand birth, here. Death is simpler. It is simply decay. So you understand consciousness, feeling, and all other things that you describe above including death if we understand birth. SO in simple word I don't agree with the cycle.

Perhaps, you may answer some of these questions: -

What is the NY WTC towers made of?  Where are the tons of rubble nowadays?  Does it just vanish into thin air?

 Those rubble are somewhere. I don't understand where do you want to go with these questions.

Offline KimAndre

  • Member
  • Posts: 9
    • View Profile
Re: Cycle of rebirth is impossible since there is a beginning
« Reply #40 on: May 19, 2017, 12:32:37 pm »
Just want to chime in by saying that just because no-beginning is unimaginable, doesn't make it impossible. There's a fine saying by Bashar channeled by Darrryl Anka, that says "Meaning is subject to existence, existence is not subject to meaning" - or something along those lines. I think the same applies to beginnings. "Beginnings are subject to existence, existence is not subject to beginnings." Just because there are beginnings within reality, that doesn't mean reality itself needs a beginning. Super unfathomable... I know. But then again, this is reality we're talking about, which, if I may say so, is f***ing insane!
« Last Edit: May 19, 2017, 12:38:52 pm by KimAndre »

Offline bahman

  • Member
  • Posts: 107
    • View Profile
Re: Cycle of rebirth is impossible since there is a beginning
« Reply #41 on: May 19, 2017, 01:21:40 pm »
Just want to chime in by saying that just because no-beginning is unimaginable, doesn't make it impossible. There's a fine saying by Bashar channeled by Darrryl Anka, that says "Meaning is subject to existence, existence is not subject to meaning" - or something along those lines. I think the same applies to beginnings. "Beginnings are subject to existence, existence is not subject to beginnings." Just because there are beginnings within reality, that doesn't mean reality itself needs a beginning. Super unfathomable... I know. But then again, this is reality we're talking about, which, if I may say so, is f***ing insane!

 I think it is about consciousness looking for meaning.

Offline VincentRJ

  • Member
  • Posts: 174
    • View Profile
Re: Cycle of rebirth is impossible since there is a beginning
« Reply #42 on: May 19, 2017, 08:47:58 pm »
Just want to chime in by saying that just because no-beginning is unimaginable, doesn't make it impossible. There's a fine saying by Bashar channeled by Darrryl Anka, that says "Meaning is subject to existence, existence is not subject to meaning" - or something along those lines. I think the same applies to beginnings. "Beginnings are subject to existence, existence is not subject to beginnings." Just because there are beginnings within reality, that doesn't mean reality itself needs a beginning. Super unfathomable... I know. But then again, this is reality we're talking about, which, if I may say so, is f***ing insane!

 I think it is about consciousness looking for meaning.

Or to put it another way, it's about 'life' looking for meaning, at whatever level and degree. It's what distinguishes animate from inanimate.
At the most fundamental level, a virus or bacteria searches for meaning. Proliferation and growth is it's meaning. Maintaining the cycle of existence is the ultimate meaning for all living creatures, including most humans.

The sex drive is  a very dominant force in all creatures. An example of this is the observation that certain types of  spiders will eat the male spider after copulation has occurred. The male spider not only provides the necessary sperm for procreation, but sacrifices his life, as food, for the benefit of his offspring.

Such tendencies are built into our genetic make-up, and are quite natural within the context of evolutionary science.

The interesting aspect of Buddhism, from my perspective, is its claim to be able to transcend such natural processes, and be in control of such natural processes, instead of being a 'victim' or 'servant' to such natural processes.

That's a wonderful ideal.

Offline VincentRJ

  • Member
  • Posts: 174
    • View Profile
Re: Cycle of rebirth is impossible since there is a beginning
« Reply #43 on: May 19, 2017, 09:27:31 pm »
Expanding on my previous post, I can appreciate a negative connotation to this aspect of removing all attachment and desire. I'm sure I'm not the only one who can deduce that the consequences of everyone achieving control over their desires, is the extinction of the human race.

The counter argument is that not everyone will be able to achieve such a control, so don't worry. The human race is in no danger of extinction. However, this creates an elitist attitude, in my opinion. The most serious Buddhists are presumably the monks and nuns who rely upon the ignorant for their livelihood.

The more the ignorant masses become wise, within the Buddhist concept, the less the resources that are available to feed the monks, nuns and their aspirants. Therefore, the general trend of the population at large, towards enlightenment, would logically result in a society uninterested in economic growth. In other words, a subsistence society that is only concerned with basic commodities such as food, clothing and shelter.

Perhaps this contradiction can be resolved by the 'Middle Way'. Is it possible for an enlightened couple who have achieved complete control over their sexual desire, and all attachments and wants, to decide to have children, either by adoption or by physical sexual activity?

Offline Ron-the-Elder

  • Member
  • Posts: 4471
  • May all beings live rightly and harmoniously.
    • View Profile
Re: Cycle of rebirth is impossible since there is a beginning
« Reply #44 on: May 19, 2017, 09:52:41 pm »
Quote
VincentRJ:  "Perhaps this contradiction can be resolved by the 'Middle Way'. Is it possible for an enlightened couple who have achieved complete control over their sexual desire, and all attachments and wants, to decide to have children, either by adoption or by physical sexual activity?"


There is not requirement for the layperson to avoid sex so long as it causes no harm.  The only restriction is for monastics in The Vinaya Rules for Bhikkhus and Bhikknunis (male and female monastics) which result from them choosing to take those precepts in order to join the monastic sangha. 

source:  http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/vin/
What Makes an Elder? :
A head of gray hairs doesn't mean one's an elder. Advanced in years, one's called an old fool.
But one in whom there is truth, restraint, rectitude, gentleness,self-control, he's called an elder, his impurities disgorged, enlightened.
-Dhammpada, 19, translated by Thanissaro Bhikkhu.

 


SimplePortal 2.3.3 © 2008-2010, SimplePortal