Author Topic: Self and Re-incarnation  (Read 3904 times)

Offline VisuddhiRaptor

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Re: Self and Re-incarnation
« Reply #15 on: August 15, 2018, 10:45:28 pm »
Since there is no permanent abiding entity and a separate self is just a concept, Raptor indicates that that is what is reborn -- the "idea of self." But even when the concept of “self” is forgotten there is still an actual separate five-skandha movie or mind-stream running. That individual mind-stream arises within a larger stream and then disappears back into it with death, like a bubble in a stream. That should be obvious.

No. The Pali suttas say when "self" is forgotten; craving ends. Therefore, the "moving" also ends, per the suttas.

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There is, bhikkhus, that base where there is no earth, no water, no fire, no air; no base consisting of the infinity of space, no base consisting of the infinity of consciousness, no base consisting of nothingness, no base consisting of neither-perception-nor-non-perception; neither this world nor another world nor both; neither sun nor moon. Here, bhikkhus, I say there is no coming, no going, no staying, no deceasing, no uprising. Not fixed, not movable, it has no support. Just this is the end of suffering.
« Last Edit: August 15, 2018, 10:47:35 pm by VisuddhiRaptor »

Offline zafrogzen

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Re: Self and Re-incarnation
« Reply #16 on: August 16, 2018, 06:42:02 am »
No. The Pali suttas say when "self" is forgotten; craving ends. Therefore, the "moving" also ends, per the suttas.

So life stops when the self is forgotten and craving ends? That hasn't been my experience.
My first formal meditation training was with Shunryu Suzuki in the 60's and later with Kobun, Robert Aitken and many other teachers (mainly zen). However, I've spent the most time practicing on my own, which is all I do now. I'm living in a rather isolated area so I miss connecting with other practitioners. Despite my interest in zen I've made an effort to remain secular. You can visit my website at http://www.frogzen.com

Offline VincentRJ

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Re: Self and Re-incarnation
« Reply #17 on: August 16, 2018, 08:02:04 pm »
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There is, bhikkhus, that base where there is no earth, no water, no fire, no air; no base consisting of the infinity of space, no base consisting of the infinity of consciousness, no base consisting of nothingness, no base consisting of neither-perception-nor-non-perception; neither this world nor another world nor both; neither sun nor moon. Here, bhikkhus, I say there is no coming, no going, no staying, no deceasing, no uprising. Not fixed, not movable, it has no support. Just this is the end of suffering.

I think there's a major problem in interpreting the scriptures here. The above quote seems to suggests that the author is stating that suffering ends when absolutely everything ends, including life and the entire universe.

Well, such a statement is very obvious, but not particularly helpful. If nothing exists then of course suffering cannot exist.

Perhaps the confusion lies in the term 'base'. If we define 'base' as a 'state of mind', then the quote begins to make more sense.

"There is, bhikkhus, a state of mind where there is no thought of earth, or water, or fire; a state of mind where there is no thought of the infinity of space, the infinity of consciousness, the sun or the moon, etc. etc......."

In other words, suffering ceases when the mind is still, and free of all thoughts.

Offline Dairy Lama

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Re: Self and Re-incarnation
« Reply #18 on: August 17, 2018, 01:58:03 am »
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There is, bhikkhus, that base where there is no earth, no water, no fire, no air; no base consisting of the infinity of space, no base consisting of the infinity of consciousness, no base consisting of nothingness, no base consisting of neither-perception-nor-non-perception; neither this world nor another world nor both; neither sun nor moon. Here, bhikkhus, I say there is no coming, no going, no staying, no deceasing, no uprising. Not fixed, not movable, it has no support. Just this is the end of suffering.

I think there's a major problem in interpreting the scriptures here. The above quote seems to suggests that the author is stating that suffering ends when absolutely everything ends, including life and the entire universe.

I think it's saying that Nibbana is beyond all "normal" experience, all "normal" perception, beyond the conditioned world.  See also Ud 8.3:

"There is, bhikkhus, a not-born, a not-brought-to-being, a not-made, a not-conditioned. If, bhikkhus, there were no not-born, not-brought-to-being, not-made, not-conditioned, no escape would be discerned from what is born, brought-to-being, made, conditioned. But since there is a not-born, a not-brought-to-being, a not-made, a not-conditioned, therefore an escape is discerned from what is born, brought-to-being, made, conditioned."
https://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/kn/ud/ud.8.03.irel.html
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Offline Dairy Lama

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Re: Self and Re-incarnation
« Reply #19 on: August 17, 2018, 02:00:50 am »
A lot of religions are preoccupied with guaranteeing that the individual bubble appears again downstream someplace. Buddhism by contrast says that it is always re-arising (rebirth) again and again, which is a real pain. Then the task is to find a way to cease that process.

Yes, it's a significant distinction.  Though even Christianity has a heaven-realm and a hell-realm - though these are permanent rather than transient.
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Offline VincentRJ

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Re: Self and Re-incarnation
« Reply #20 on: August 17, 2018, 06:47:05 am »

I think it's saying that Nibbana is beyond all "normal" experience, all "normal" perception, beyond the conditioned world.  See also Ud 8.3:

"There is, bhikkhus, a not-born, a not-brought-to-being, a not-made, a not-conditioned. If, bhikkhus, there were no not-born, not-brought-to-being, not-made, not-conditioned, no escape would be discerned from what is born, brought-to-being, made, conditioned. But since there is a not-born, a not-brought-to-being, a not-made, a not-conditioned, therefore an escape is discerned from what is born, brought-to-being, made, conditioned."
https://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/kn/ud/ud.8.03.irel.html

Okay! I'll do my best to make sense of the above quote.

That which is not born, not brought-to being, not made, not conditioned, does not and cannot exist, according modern science and all rational thought, including the interpretations of certain Buddhist suttas which make the very rational point that everything is subject to a cause and effect, and everything is connected in some way and to some degree.

It would seem to me, logically, that it is impossible for a living person to experience something which is not conditioned, because life is a conditioned process. Whatever state of bliss one might experience through meditation practices and a stillness of mind, such states are dependent upon and conditioned by bodily processes, heart beats, blood flow, and so on, which keep the body alive.

Offline Chaz

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Re: Self and Re-incarnation
« Reply #21 on: August 17, 2018, 06:56:09 am »

That which is not born, not brought-to being, not made, not conditioned, does not and cannot exist,

please define "exist".




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according modern science and all rational thought,

in the context of this discussion, who cares about science?



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including the interpretations of certain Buddhist suttas which make the very rational point that everything is subject to a cause and effect,

Well, if it is subject to c & E it does not exist inherently.

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and everything is connected in some way and to some degree.

I'm not so sure that's true.

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It would seem to me, logically, that it is impossible for a living person to experience something which is not conditioned, because life is a conditioned process.


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Offline zafrogzen

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Re: Self and Re-incarnation
« Reply #22 on: August 17, 2018, 10:30:48 am »

Quote
There is, bhikkhus, that base where there is no earth, no water, no fire, no air; no base consisting of the infinity of space, no base consisting of the infinity of consciousness, no base consisting of nothingness, no base consisting of neither-perception-nor-non-perception; neither this world nor another world nor both; neither sun nor moon. Here, bhikkhus, I say there is no coming, no going, no staying, no deceasing, no uprising. Not fixed, not movable, it has no support. Just this is the end of suffering.


I like that quote. It reminds me of the Heart Sutra that's chanted before zazen in zen centers. Is that from an "early" Sutta? It sounds like sunyata to me.

I don't thinks it's saying that the "moving also ends" or that life doesn't continue -- just that nothing has an independent, separate existence of its own. Thus, although life is not a dream, it's LIKE a dream in the sense that when one wakes up, all of the different things in the dream are none of them truly existent -- except in one's mind. Or as is sometimes said in zen -- the One Mind of Emptiness.

At the risk of irreverence, I can't resist repeating an old ditty --

"Row, row row your boat, gently down the stream,
Merrily, merrily, merrily, life is but a dream."


« Last Edit: August 17, 2018, 11:19:27 am by zafrogzen »
My first formal meditation training was with Shunryu Suzuki in the 60's and later with Kobun, Robert Aitken and many other teachers (mainly zen). However, I've spent the most time practicing on my own, which is all I do now. I'm living in a rather isolated area so I miss connecting with other practitioners. Despite my interest in zen I've made an effort to remain secular. You can visit my website at http://www.frogzen.com

Offline zafrogzen

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Re: Self and Re-incarnation
« Reply #23 on: August 17, 2018, 10:59:19 am »

"There is, bhikkhus, a not-born, a not-brought-to-being, a not-made, a not-conditioned. If, bhikkhus, there were no not-born, not-brought-to-being, not-made, not-conditioned, no escape would be discerned from what is born, brought-to-being, made, conditioned. But since there is a not-born, a not-brought-to-being, a not-made, a not-conditioned, therefore an escape is discerned from what is born, brought-to-being, made, conditioned."

That's another profound Sutta quote I really like, which is much like zen and sunyata, although in zen it's usually called "the Unborn" (not to be confused with the "undead" or the "unborn" of abortion opponents -- at least I don't think so).

The only distinction I make in all of this is that in my experience, in actual practice, sunyata naturally leads to a realization of interdependence and interconnectedness. As the zen teacher Dainin Katagiri once said, "If you think you're suffering now, wait until you're enlightened." Then we have to deal not only with our own suffering, but everyone else's as well.

« Last Edit: August 17, 2018, 11:05:55 am by zafrogzen »
My first formal meditation training was with Shunryu Suzuki in the 60's and later with Kobun, Robert Aitken and many other teachers (mainly zen). However, I've spent the most time practicing on my own, which is all I do now. I'm living in a rather isolated area so I miss connecting with other practitioners. Despite my interest in zen I've made an effort to remain secular. You can visit my website at http://www.frogzen.com

Offline Dairy Lama

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Re: Self and Re-incarnation
« Reply #24 on: August 18, 2018, 01:14:31 am »

I think it's saying that Nibbana is beyond all "normal" experience, all "normal" perception, beyond the conditioned world.  See also Ud 8.3:

"There is, bhikkhus, a not-born, a not-brought-to-being, a not-made, a not-conditioned. If, bhikkhus, there were no not-born, not-brought-to-being, not-made, not-conditioned, no escape would be discerned from what is born, brought-to-being, made, conditioned. But since there is a not-born, a not-brought-to-being, a not-made, a not-conditioned, therefore an escape is discerned from what is born, brought-to-being, made, conditioned."
https://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/kn/ud/ud.8.03.irel.html

Okay! I'll do my best to make sense of the above quote.

That which is not born, not brought-to being, not made, not conditioned, does not and cannot exist, according modern science and all rational thought, including the interpretations of certain Buddhist suttas which make the very rational point that everything is subject to a cause and effect, and everything is connected in some way and to some degree.

It would seem to me, logically, that it is impossible for a living person to experience something which is not conditioned, because life is a conditioned process. Whatever state of bliss one might experience through meditation practices and a stillness of mind, such states are dependent upon and conditioned by bodily processes, heart beats, blood flow, and so on, which keep the body alive.

It's saying that there is something beyond the conditioned world of our "normal" experience, ie Nibbana.  There are different ideas about what this means.  You could interpret it as referring to a radically different state of mind free from the taints, or as another sphere or realm which becomes accessible on the attainment of certain meditative states.  It depends whether you view such statements as epistemology or ontology.
« Last Edit: August 18, 2018, 01:27:57 am by Dairy Lama »
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Offline Dairy Lama

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Re: Self and Re-incarnation
« Reply #25 on: August 18, 2018, 01:17:17 am »

"There is, bhikkhus, a not-born, a not-brought-to-being, a not-made, a not-conditioned. If, bhikkhus, there were no not-born, not-brought-to-being, not-made, not-conditioned, no escape would be discerned from what is born, brought-to-being, made, conditioned. But since there is a not-born, a not-brought-to-being, a not-made, a not-conditioned, therefore an escape is discerned from what is born, brought-to-being, made, conditioned."

That's another profound Sutta quote I really like, which is much like zen and sunyata, although in zen it's usually called "the Unborn" (not to be confused with the "undead" or the "unborn" of abortion opponents -- at least I don't think so).

The only distinction I make in all of this is that in my experience, in actual practice, sunyata naturally leads to a realization of interdependence and interconnectedness. As the zen teacher Dainin Katagiri once said, "If you think you're suffering now, wait until you're enlightened." Then we have to deal not only with our own suffering, but everyone else's as well.

Is there an equivalence with "Original Mind" in Zen?  Though I'm not at all clear what "Original Mind" actually refers to!
« Last Edit: August 18, 2018, 01:30:40 am by Dairy Lama »
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Offline zafrogzen

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Re: Self and Re-incarnation
« Reply #26 on: August 18, 2018, 09:59:52 am »

"There is, bhikkhus, a not-born, a not-brought-to-being, a not-made, a not-conditioned. If, bhikkhus, there were no not-born, not-brought-to-being, not-made, not-conditioned, no escape would be discerned from what is born, brought-to-being, made, conditioned. But since there is a not-born, a not-brought-to-being, a not-made, a not-conditioned, therefore an escape is discerned from what is born, brought-to-being, made, conditioned."

That's another profound Sutta quote I really like, which is much like zen and sunyata, although in zen it's usually called "the Unborn" (not to be confused with the "undead" or the "unborn" of abortion opponents -- at least I don't think so).

Is there an equivalence with "Original Mind" in Zen?  Though I'm not at all clear what "Original Mind" actually refers to!

IMHO they probably refer to the same general experience, but as soon as it's objectified or reified it becomes something else and falls into the secondary, which is not at all satisfying.



« Last Edit: August 18, 2018, 10:09:27 am by zafrogzen »
My first formal meditation training was with Shunryu Suzuki in the 60's and later with Kobun, Robert Aitken and many other teachers (mainly zen). However, I've spent the most time practicing on my own, which is all I do now. I'm living in a rather isolated area so I miss connecting with other practitioners. Despite my interest in zen I've made an effort to remain secular. You can visit my website at http://www.frogzen.com

Offline VincentRJ

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Re: Self and Re-incarnation
« Reply #27 on: August 19, 2018, 01:22:21 am »

That which is not born, not brought-to being, not made, not conditioned, does not and cannot exist,

please define "exist".

That's not difficult. Anything which can be detected by any means available can be said to exist. However, our interpretations and descriptions of what is detected can vary enormously.


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according modern science and all rational thought,

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in the context of this discussion, who cares about science?

I do, for a start. The vast majority of the current population exist as a result of the benefits of science and technology. Prior to the development of science, the world population was very small.
A major criticism I have of many religious adherents is that they often seem to ignore the knowledge of modern science and sometimes believe to the death that certain concepts in the scriptures are true, despite the contrary evidence of modern science. An example would be the Christian denial of the theory of evolution.
As I've mentioned before, my interest in Buddhism increased after I came across the Kalama Sutta, because that sutta directly addresses what I see as a major flaw in most other religions; the blind acceptance of everything which is written in the scriptures.

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including the interpretations of certain Buddhist suttas which make the very rational point that everything is subject to a cause and effect,

Quote
Well, if it is subject to c & E it does not exist inherently.

Absolutely true. Science confirms this. Some obvious examples: Water exists as a liquid only in certain conditions. At temperatures below zero Centigrade it becomes a solid. At temperatures bove 100 degrees C, it becomes a gas.
All life forms in general are dependent upon the surrounding environment. You and I could not exist if all the air in the room were removed. We'd explode and die immediately.

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and everything is connected in some way and to some degree.

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I'm not so sure that's true.

Science can't confirm that truth absolutely because of the terms 'in some way' and 'to some degree'. Sometimes the connection is very clear and unequivocal, but often there are numerous connections and influences of varying degrees, sometimes infinitely small, which are beyond the precise detection and quantification of even the latest science and technology.

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It would seem to me, logically, that it is impossible for a living person to experience something which is not conditioned, because life is a conditioned process.


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You have Buddha Nature

I have no objection to such a statement. I interpret it as meaning that each person, however awful their behaviour has been in the past, has the potential to become 'good', by practising the teachings of the Buddha.

Offline VincentRJ

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Re: Self and Re-incarnation
« Reply #28 on: August 19, 2018, 01:58:07 am »

It's saying that there is something beyond the conditioned world of our "normal" experience, ie Nibbana.  There are different ideas about what this means.  You could interpret it as referring to a radically different state of mind free from the taints, or as another sphere or realm which becomes accessible on the attainment of certain meditative states.  It depends whether you view such statements as epistemology or ontology.

I don't need Buddhism to teach me the blindingly obvious. Most things, by far, have always been beyond the conditioned experience of everyone, whether  normal or not, Nirvana or not.

Currently, the total, combined knowledge of modern Physics implies that we have reached the stage of potentially being able to detect, with our latest, most sophisticated scientific instruments, only 5% of the matter and energy that surrounds us. The other 95% is called Dark Matter and Dark Energy. Its existence cannot be detected, but only inferred from our current theories, which might be wrong on a cosmic scale.

Offline Dairy Lama

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Re: Self and Re-incarnation
« Reply #29 on: August 19, 2018, 02:18:28 am »

"There is, bhikkhus, a not-born, a not-brought-to-being, a not-made, a not-conditioned. If, bhikkhus, there were no not-born, not-brought-to-being, not-made, not-conditioned, no escape would be discerned from what is born, brought-to-being, made, conditioned. But since there is a not-born, a not-brought-to-being, a not-made, a not-conditioned, therefore an escape is discerned from what is born, brought-to-being, made, conditioned."

That's another profound Sutta quote I really like, which is much like zen and sunyata, although in zen it's usually called "the Unborn" (not to be confused with the "undead" or the "unborn" of abortion opponents -- at least I don't think so).

Is there an equivalence with "Original Mind" in Zen?  Though I'm not at all clear what "Original Mind" actually refers to!

IMHO they probably refer to the same general experience, but as soon as it's objectified or reified it becomes something else and falls into the secondary, which is not at all satisfying.

But what is your understanding of "Original Mind"?  I have come across different descriptions.
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