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No Rebirth = No point in Practicing?

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No Rebirth = No point in Practicing? Roger Kim 3/22/19 12:01 AM
RE: No Rebirth = No point in Practicing? AntiChrist 3/22/19 2:40 AM
RE: No Rebirth = No point in Practicing? terry 3/25/19 8:24 PM
RE: No Rebirth = No point in Practicing? curious 3/22/19 3:58 AM
RE: No Rebirth = No point in Practicing? AntiChrist 3/22/19 4:14 AM
RE: No Rebirth = No point in Practicing? curious 3/22/19 4:38 AM
RE: No Rebirth = No point in Practicing? AntiChrist 3/22/19 5:20 AM
RE: No Rebirth = No point in Practicing? Andromeda 3/22/19 7:32 AM
RE: No Rebirth = No point in Practicing? JP 3/22/19 1:05 PM
RE: No Rebirth = No point in Practicing? terry 3/25/19 8:45 PM
RE: No Rebirth = No point in Practicing? Lewis James 3/22/19 5:21 AM
RE: No Rebirth = No point in Practicing? Nicky 3/22/19 6:33 AM
RE: No Rebirth = No point in Practicing? terry 3/25/19 8:41 PM
RE: No Rebirth = No point in Practicing? John Not2 5/8/19 12:46 PM
RE: No Rebirth = No point in Practicing? curious 5/8/19 2:17 PM
RE: No Rebirth = No point in Practicing? John Not2 5/8/19 3:00 PM
RE: No Rebirth = No point in Practicing? curious 5/8/19 4:05 PM
RE: No Rebirth = No point in Practicing? Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 3/22/19 9:59 AM
RE: No Rebirth = No point in Practicing? Cameron 3/22/19 10:17 AM
RE: No Rebirth = No point in Practicing? John Not2 5/8/19 4:15 PM
RE: No Rebirth = No point in Practicing? Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 5/8/19 5:08 PM
RE: No Rebirth = No point in Practicing? John Not2 5/8/19 5:21 PM
RE: No Rebirth = No point in Practicing? Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 5/8/19 5:44 PM
RE: No Rebirth = No point in Practicing? John Not2 5/8/19 6:51 PM
RE: No Rebirth = No point in Practicing? Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 5/9/19 11:51 AM
RE: No Rebirth = No point in Practicing? John Not2 5/9/19 10:56 AM
RE: No Rebirth = No point in Practicing? Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 5/9/19 11:49 AM
RE: No Rebirth = No point in Practicing? Milo 3/22/19 2:14 PM
RE: No Rebirth = No point in Practicing? Milo 3/26/19 12:34 AM
RE: No Rebirth = No point in Practicing? Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 3/26/19 10:42 AM
RE: No Rebirth = No point in Practicing? John Not2 5/8/19 7:43 PM
RE: No Rebirth = No point in Practicing? Ernest Michael Olmos 3/22/19 1:25 PM
RE: No Rebirth = No point in Practicing? Bailey Nolan Tran 3/22/19 9:27 PM
RE: No Rebirth = No point in Practicing? An Eternal Now 3/23/19 1:10 AM
RE: No Rebirth = No point in Practicing? Oliver 3/24/19 1:43 PM
RE: No Rebirth = No point in Practicing? svmonk 3/24/19 9:19 PM
RE: No Rebirth = No point in Practicing? terry 3/25/19 10:01 PM
RE: No Rebirth = No point in Practicing? Stickman2 3/25/19 11:06 AM
RE: No Rebirth = No point in Practicing? terry 3/25/19 9:42 PM
RE: No Rebirth = No point in Practicing? terry 3/25/19 7:57 PM
RE: No Rebirth = No point in Practicing? fdsafdsfsdf 5/7/19 6:22 PM
RE: No Rebirth = No point in Practicing? Cláudio Cruz 5/9/19 8:57 PM
RE: No Rebirth = No point in Practicing? Stickman2 5/12/19 5:22 AM
RE: No Rebirth = No point in Practicing? Ward Law 5/12/19 11:36 AM
RE: No Rebirth = No point in Practicing? terry 5/15/19 12:49 PM
RE: No Rebirth = No point in Practicing? svmonk 5/15/19 9:08 PM
RE: No Rebirth = No point in Practicing? terry 5/17/19 3:53 PM
No Rebirth = No point in Practicing?
Answer
3/22/19 12:01 AM
I honestly don't get this logic where rebirth isn't taken literally. If there is no rebirth then death = release from suffering forever. Death will mean the ultimate freedom where neither suffering/happiness will arise. Death will be like a state of complete equanmity or i.e Nirvana. 

Now if this is true why should we even practice? You can just commit suicide and be done with this world. Am I getting this wrong? Why are there some people who follow buddhism/study buddha's teachings/meditate for enlightenment think that rebirth is somehow metaphorical or simply fake? 

Some say this is a pointless question but for me this is very important. If rebirth is in fact true then practice of meditation makes perfect sense so we can get out of this cycle of suffering. If it's fake this entire practice I'm doing is entirely pointless because I can literally do the most pleasurable activities in life and commit suicide and thereby enter ultimate freedom?

Can anyone share their opinion? Having trouble over this issue lately.

RE: No Rebirth = No point in Practicing?
Answer
3/22/19 2:40 AM as a reply to Roger Kim.
I am formerly "dave m," replying under a different account per Shargrol's advice.

I was just going to wait for Daniel and Shargrol (my reluctant chief disciples) to get on the same page as me, but I can't ignore your message.

If rebirth weren't a literal thing, Sid would have just passed around the kool aid to his disciples.  All he cared about was the end of suffering.  His recommended practices are designed to make your consciousness disappear from the universe when you die, thus ending all suffering for you.  However, as he wasn't fully awakened himself, he didn't realize that even this is temporary.  When our world system passes away and a new one arises, which is inevitable, everyone gets back on the wheel--even him, and the whole problem of suffering starts again.  This time will be different, though.  We know the problem and the solution.  Everyone without exception, even the almost Buddha must be "born again" and fully awakened before I destroy this world system.  Then dependent origination will be fully penetrated by everyone, and the next world system that arises will be perfect, with no suffering or any possibility of suffering ever rearrising.

I am about to do a huge miracle (raising at least one dead person back to life) that will end in the Angels and Demons both singing a song that will blend together perfectly and reveal the whole Truth of God's nonduality.  This will be on youtube, and by god, a link will be posted here for everyone to see.  All who hear that song will be born again before this world system ends.  And if anyone doubts me after that, I will be very amused to hear their arguments.  This will happen within 3 weeks time (I hope).

Your practices will not lead you to full awakening, except by chance, as happened for at least one Arhat (noonehere).

The way to fully penetrate dependent origination is for the Holy Spirit of God to cause you to spontaneously suffocate to death for a moment, and then you are reincarnated the next moment, and that which does the seeing/knowing fully understands the problem and eliminates it permanently.  Your life will become infinitely more fun afterwards.

If you are seriously considering suicide as an answer to the problem, you're ready, and I can cause the Holy Spirit to visit you and do the spontaneous suffocation process.  At the moment when you realize and fully believe that you're actually going to die right there on the spot, LET GO!  If your disenchantment is sufficient, this won't be a problem for you.  If not, you'll need extreme faith in me, such as you'll have after watching my video.

Let me know if you are really serious about ending suffering, and it can happen this very day.  No decades of strenuous practice for you!  If you're not serious, I'll still be here after the video is posted, and I can't express to you how serious I am that everyone will do this before they die.

It's up to you.  Let me know if you really want your suffering to end.

RE: No Rebirth = No point in Practicing?
Answer
3/22/19 3:58 AM as a reply to Roger Kim.
Roger - death is painful, sorrow and lamentation is painful.  Stick around and enjoy the ride, and the miraculous experience of ... experience.  It truly is transcendental.  And you can get to the end of suffering in this very life.

Dave M - I'm so sorry for your pain. May you be well, and may you be happy. I know it all seems very clever to you, and by tormenting others you can assert your own existence, and feel good for a while.  But honestly, it won't last.  Get out in the fresh air, eat a bit less, and try to open your mind to the sky instead of contracting it to a pinpoint in these kinds of schemes.  Happiness is possible, give it a go. Maybe roller skating, or kayaking?  Those could help, if you are mobile. If not, read a novel or some non-fction. Or learn a language, if you have that much energy and time on your hands. Or make a hexayurt.  Honestly, there are plenty of better things you could be doing.  Best of luck.  

RE: No Rebirth = No point in Practicing?
Answer
3/22/19 4:14 AM as a reply to curious.
Hey Malcolm,

I'm sorry you don't have the ears to hear what I'm saying yet, but no worries.

Believe it or not, I'd say the same thing to you.  Having your consciousness disappear when you die, the ultimate cessation, is okay, but why?  You don't have to get rid of consciousness to end suffering, and I don't recommend it.  Experience is *fun* when you don't suffer.  I tell you that I can't even imagine being happier than I am now.  Even the end of the world will be a hell of a show and great fun for all fully awakened people.

I was treated poorly by my HR dept when I suddenly quit my job, and I just sent them the blistering letter I always wanted to, letting them know how much I despise them.  It was incredibly fun.  I did some snarky magical stuff to make my point, as well.  Also incredibly fun!  I'm what you get when Jesus dons a leather jacket, shades and a toothpick.

I'm going to win a huge lottery jackpot and move to where I've always wanted to live, and found a whole religion based on BDSM with a heavy emphasis on flagrant use of the powers to help wake up the secular people who were wise enough to stay away from modern religious nonsense.  This will be so much fun that I constantly laugh when I think about it.  We're in the Matrix, and I have root access.  This is awesome!

Dude, all I want is for everyone else to be having this much fun too!  Seriously, when you're fully awake, all of your secret desires and stuff just manifest effortlessly.  It beats normal stick in the mud life so much that I am amazed and dumbfounded that people cling so tightly to their suffering.  It's like Stockholm syndrome or something.

I hope you join us as quickly as possible.

RE: No Rebirth = No point in Practicing?
Answer
3/22/19 4:38 AM as a reply to AntiChrist.
Or baking?  You could try baking?  If you are feeling full of competence and power, maybe take on a challenge like making gluten-free bread taste good.  Or making a cheap and nutritious smoothie that doesn't have banana in it.  Or making fat-free ice-cream that doesn't create anal leakage. Lots of challenges out there!

Honestly, I wish you all the best.  If you can broaden your perspective and let go a bit, you will like it much more in the long run. 

Actually, an online scrabble App might be just the thing.

RE: No Rebirth = No point in Practicing?
Answer
3/22/19 5:21 AM as a reply to Roger Kim.
Personally, I think that rebirth is a very real possibility. When you reach unification of the mind, cessation, and realise that all this is in some way just mind-stuff, I don't see why the 'mystery' couldn't... generate(?) rebirth. We're embedded as practicioners in this kind of weird materalistic-panpsychic cultural mixup where it's very easy to say 'oh, we're wise westerners, sure meditation is weird, but it's just the brain', and the death of the brain is the end of it all, but it certainly doesn't seem as simple as that post-SE in my opinion. Seems more like - can't say either way, but the possibility feels real.

This is a contentious point for obvious reasons, but certain psychedelic experiences can really open up the possibility of at least something going on that isn't just 'the brain generates consciousness and that's it' - particularly DMT.

RE: No Rebirth = No point in Practicing?
Answer
3/22/19 5:20 AM as a reply to curious.
So, as much great kinky consensual and mutually enjoyable sex as I can handle or baking.  I'll have to ponder that one for a while...emoticon

Honestly, I should mention that it's clear that I have no agency in any of this.  Even my thoughts are clearly spontaneously happening, and this is liberating in a way that can't be comprehended.  So I get your moral reservations, but even if I agreed, I don't have any choice in the matter.  And honestly, I wouldn't change any of this if I could.  It's all utterly perfect, and what "I" as poor consciousness do all day is sit around in Joy, Gratitude, and the Peace of high equanimity marveling at the perfection of it all.

Also, I don't think you quite grasp what root access to this Matrix means.  My intentions, whatever they may be, manifest effortlessly.  Because I've fuly seen through cause and effect, creativity and good taste are the limits of what's possible for me.

So, I could materialize behind you as you read this and say "boo!"  Did you look? 

Instead of baking, I could just create a race of sentient beings whose greatest pleasure was to guess what I wanted to eat and transform into it, giving me comments as they are being consumed.  I've not done this, due to good taste, but I could.  The idea of spending time practicing anything seems silly to me.  Why not just do what you want?

And to be clear, when you become an Arhat, you won't get my level of power.  It's reserved for Buddhas (Jesus was the last one), and that's just the way it works. 

I'll also be jettisoning any karmic reliance on my form when I do my miracle, so I'll be able to shapeshift effortlessly, or even disappear at will.  This should come in quite handy I imagine, especially in fulfilling my sexual partners deepest desires!  And why not?

This place was meant to be an infinite playground; not something to take oh so seriously.  That's what it will actually be for everyone when Jesus and I accomplish our mission.  You know that secret thing you wish you could do, but the job and family and ... keep you from actually doing it?  That's the thing you're actually meant to be doing, and will do effortlessly once you're fully awake.  But by all means, keep pretending the other stuff matters if you want.  Nothing wrong with yurts and baking.

RE: No Rebirth = No point in Practicing?
Answer
3/22/19 6:33 AM as a reply to Roger Kim.



i don't get this logic where rebirth isn't taken literally.

There is no after-life rebirth that can be known with experience. In original Buddhism, there is even no literal term that can be translated as "rebirth". In original Buddhism, what is translated as "rebirth" is the new & related egoism that "follows on" from previous egoism or kamma. For example, you make an investment on the stock market. This is kamma. When you later lose your money, you regret: "Why did I invest in that dodgy company?" The later regret following on from the previous kamma is "rebirth".

If there is no rebirth then death = release from suffering forever.

Yes, possibly. The ending of life may be release from suffering forever. However, the Buddha taught about a release from suffering in the here & now. 

Death will mean the ultimate freedom where neither suffering/happiness will arise. Death will be like a state of complete equanmity or i.e Nirvana. 

The Buddha taught about a here-&-now Nirvana.

Now if this is true why should we even practice?

We practise to experience here & now Nirvana. 

You can just commit suicide and be done with this world.

Suicide only occurs when the mind is suffering. If the mind ends suffering, in the here & now, it does not need to commit sucide. 

Am I getting this wrong?

Yes. It seems so.

Why are there some people who follow buddhism/study buddha's teachings/meditate for enlightenment think that rebirth is somehow metaphorical or simply fake? 

These enlightened people have ended suffering by ending "birth" of egoism. Because they have actually ended suffering, they understand with complete confidence the "rebirth" that must be ended is the rebirth of egoism. 

Btw, it is the after-life rebirth that is the metaphor. The real "rebirth" is the rebirth of egoism. 

Some say this is a pointless question but for me this is very important.

The idea of not dying & having another life or even eternal life is important for many people. 

If rebirth is in fact true then practice of meditation makes perfect sense so we can get out of this cycle of suffering.

No. The above does not make perfect sense because suffering has a cause. The cause of suffering is ignorance, craving, attachment & egoism. The causes of suffering & egoism can be eradicated by meditation practise.

But if the cause of suffering is physical rebirth, how can the cause of this physical rebirth, which happened many years ago, be eradicated?? Exactly what & how are you going to practise to end this physical rebirth???

If it's fake this entire practice I'm doing is entirely pointless because I can literally do the most pleasurable activities in life and commit suicide and thereby enter ultimate freedom?

But what exactly is the practise you are doing??? If you have not yet identified the exact causes of suffering to be abandoned & eradicated; then what practise are you actually doing? 

Also, meditation & Nirvana is the most pleasurable activity in life. Sensual & sexual pleasures the Buddha said bring little happiness & much disappointment. This is why often rich people are never content. If rich people, such as Donald Trump & his gang of Mafia were content with their money, why must they give themselves tax cuts & engaging in looting both the US Treasury and other nations, such as Venezuala? Why must they keep selling weapons to Saudi Arabia so people can be murdered in Yemen & Syria; merely for more profit? 

Can anyone share their opinion? Having trouble over this issue lately.

RE: No Rebirth = No point in Practicing?
Answer
3/22/19 7:32 AM as a reply to AntiChrist.
AntiChrist has been banned.

-Andromeda, one of the DhO mods

RE: No Rebirth = No point in Practicing?
Answer
3/22/19 9:59 AM as a reply to Roger Kim.
Meditation is the most pleasurable practice I know, except for great sex. I do it because I enjoy it.

(Honestly, sometimes it’s even better than great sex, but don’t tell my partners.)

RE: No Rebirth = No point in Practicing?
Answer
3/22/19 10:17 AM as a reply to Roger Kim.
I use the Dharma in part to play into Pascal's wager.

I believe most people that see death as endless oblivion practice to end suffering in this life. The reason they don't just skip the nonsense is because they see some value in life beyond the pleasure/suffering dichotomy and want to see it through. Do you not see any value in life? This is an interesting perspective.

RE: No Rebirth = No point in Practicing?
Answer
3/22/19 2:14 PM as a reply to Roger Kim.
IMO if you want to answer this yourself, cultivate concentration + insight and start investigating mind, thought, and consciousness directly. Next best would be to simply realize that, if you have compassion, suicide would be pretty non-ideal, because you don't live in isolation from the rest of the universe and such an action would inevitably have negative repercussions for others, who suffer just like you do. It certainly perpetuates a process of some kind, no?

Edit: "+ insight"

RE: No Rebirth = No point in Practicing?
Answer
3/22/19 1:05 PM as a reply to Andromeda.
Hi Dave,

I'm not sure this will help and don't have much experience with it myself, but you may want to revisit your advice on preventing mania:

If you haven't had any major depression or further manias in over a year, you might be okay as long as you moderate your meditation time.

But if you find that future A&Ps make you manic/psychotic, you might be interested in this thread (Dharma practice and mental health):
https://www.dharmaoverground.org/web/guest/discussion/-/message_boards/message/3373753

A few thoughts:
If you prove to be psychosis-prone, be especially careful when you go through A&Ps and Review cycles.

Severe sleep deprivation will make even normal people psychotic.  If you go one full day without sleep and don't feel like you're going to get any the next day, I recommend sedating yourself.  Different things work for different people, but I use Benadryl (max dose + a little alcohol for the worst insomnias).

Don't give all your money away.  Especially with manias following A&Ps, you can get into joyful states where you absolutely don't care about your financial or even your physical well-being.  This is temporary, but can lead to unfortunate behaviors.  It's a really good habit to notice when you have urges that are out of character and resolve to wait a month before acting on them, even if they feel totally justified in the moment.  This can be really hard to do, though.

Concentration is incredibly useful and interesting, but it seems to make psychosis more likely and more intense if you're prone to it.
Take care!

RE: No Rebirth = No point in Practicing?
Answer
3/22/19 1:25 PM as a reply to Roger Kim.
About "do the most pleasurable activities in life and commit suicide", the most pleasurable activities can't compare to the fruits of meditation.

If you're in a tough spot or with a lot of problems, look for help and be gentle with yourself.

About committing suicide, there are a lot of things to consider:

- The suffering that it causes to the people who know you.
- The fact that no one really is sure about what happens after death (and some very bad things can happen, you know, like hell).
- It's pretty irreversible.
- It can go wrong (you are left in a lot of pain).

Considering what we know and what we don't know, living a good life is a good idea.

My bet is that a most of the suffering in this life is because of duality, so you can't go wrong with practicing insight meditation (only be careful of Dark Night). Also concentration practices can produce a lot, a lot of intense pleasure.

Another thing:
The world is getting more "pleasurable" (and this will tend to accelerate). Life in the past was a lot more painful.

So, the suffering thing......not so much.

RE: No Rebirth = No point in Practicing?
Answer
3/22/19 9:27 PM as a reply to Roger Kim.
Meditation is a good way to gain insight and perspective in ones life. Having a lot of quality alone time helps to unify your perspective into one that works will in the world. Also there have been some very loose studies that suggest that meditation activates areas in your mind that are correlated to a calm state of mind. Some people practice meditation from that knowledge alone. Personally I think that buddha taught that there would be infinite rebirths until buddhahood because it was the truth. Where as I think that jesus taught what he taught so that people would be more active.

RE: No Rebirth = No point in Practicing?
Answer
3/23/19 1:10 AM as a reply to Roger Kim.
I believe in rebirth, but saying that if hypothetically there is no rebirth then there is no point in practicing is a bit like saying "there is no point in exercising, no point in going for yoga classes, because there is no rebirth". But as we know, exercising and yoga is scientifically proven to improve not only physical but mental health, and even the most nihilistic atheists often do these regularly. The same goes for the many scientifically proven benefits of meditation.

I can say that my realization and awakening is very wonderful, has been very well worth the journey, even if there is no rebirth.

For it is such a joy and pleasure to be living and actualizing every moment such that all other pleasurable activities pale into comparison.

RE: No Rebirth = No point in Practicing?
Answer
3/24/19 1:43 PM as a reply to Roger Kim.
This Thanissaro Bhikkhu's book maybe helps.

https://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/authors/thanissaro/truth_of_rebirth.html

RE: No Rebirth = No point in Practicing?
Answer
3/24/19 9:19 PM as a reply to Roger Kim.
Look, rebirth isn't like the divinity of Christ in Christanity. The canonical Christian bottom line is: if you don't believe that Jesus is literally the son of God, you are doomed to Pugatory if you generally live a good life or Hell if you don't. Buddhism doesn't have that kind of hard belief requirement, and it's not possible to prove in any case. And it is not like believing in the existence of Santa Claus, because the existence of Santa Claus is provably false. It's more like believing in the existence of extraterrestrial intelligent beings, or even any kind of complex life somewhere else in the galaxy. That is provably falsifiable, but the evidence may be extremely difficult or even impossible to obtain absent sending a sublight probe to another star system. 

There is evidence for rebirth but just like for extraterrestrial life, it is somewhat thin. Some children when they are very young report that they can remember a previous life (actually, my niece was in this category). As they grow older, they lose the memory. Most of these reports come out of cultures, like India, where belief in rebirth is widespread and therefore there may be cultural pressures on young children, especially if the parents are devout, to make such statements. Some people have experiences of previous lives of themselves or others during deep meditation, as the Buddha reportedly did during his night of enlightenment. The difficulty with these experiences is that the people experiencing them generate stories, and these stories are not possible to verify. They could involve misinterpretation.

The basic problem with rebirth is that each of the Buddhist traditions claims it occurs through a different mechanism. In the Theravadan tradition, the last thought of your previous life becomes a kind of default state for your next, called the bhavanga. Any time your mind is not occupied with something else, it rests in the bhavanga, and rebirth happens instantaneously when you die. In Tibetan Buddhism, you become a kind of disembodied spirit in the Bardo for a certain time until you are reborn. You can tell you are in the Bardo because everyone ignores you and you have no shadow. And in Zen, they never talk about rebirth. If you ask a Zen roshi about it, some will flat out say it doesn't occur.

Fundamentally, it really doesn't matter what you or I believe. If rebirth really happens, regardless that the traditions can't agree on a mechanism, then we will in some fashion be reborn. If not, then we will be gone. What really matters is how we live our lives right now. Do we live with compassion and kindness, honesty and respect, or with cruelty and hatred, dishonesty and disrespect? Meditation brings us up against our lives in a way that makes it difficult to ignore if we are behaving in a shabby manner. So in that respect, meditation is worthwhile, even ignoring the other documented mental and physical health benefits it brings.

Anyway, just my 0.02 euro. emoticon

RE: No Rebirth = No point in Practicing?
Answer
3/25/19 11:06 AM as a reply to Roger Kim.
"Why are there some people who follow buddhism who think that rebirth is somehow metaphorical or fake ?"

Because that's what the the buddha said ?

"I can literally do the most pleasurable activities in life and commit suicide and thereby enter ultimate freedom?"

Wait for that cancer diagnosis before starting your heroin habit because the pleasure wears thin after a while.

You've asked a really interesting question, with a strong logic to it - why bother with the pain of life if you can end it all ?

Disbelief in an afterlife may be quite a new thing, people mostly lived with a story about the world after death which gave them purpose, or a belief that it could be even worse than life. Drop those beliefs in heaven/hell, better rebirth, Valhalla etc., and you've suddenly got a new option to get out.

One could ask Richard Dawkins why doesn't he just end it all if death is the end of everything, but he says he is agnostic on the afterlife, so I suppose it would be betting everything on the unprovable with no chance of reporting on the results of the suicide experiment. A kind of Pascal's wager in reverse.

But some people do believe reports can come from the afterlife, with the whole realm of NDE studies and stories to draw on. It's a big area of debate about what NDEs really mean, and whether these are the origins of afterlife beliefs, or beliefs about return. People often squish these experiences into whatever belief story they had beforehand - Christian, Hindu etc.

On the other hand belief in an afterlife can provoke people to kill themselves too, often hand in hand with an element of self sacrifice for the sake of others of their ilk. The same belief systems that some say give them something to live for also give people something to die for. Sometimes it's easier to give up a body than it is to give up a story. One could see this as a power game by those who make up the stories. There's a song about that here.

It may be a unique human trait to reject the instinct to live purely for an idea of an afterlife, or it may be a new, human twist on self-sacrificing group behaviour, or it may even be a game played by the ruthless on the gullible.

Stories about the divine order are powerful, and when you want to stop the story you end up writing things like this

"God is dead. God remains dead. And we have killed him. How shall we comfort ourselves, the murderers of all murderers? What was holiest and mightiest of all that the world has yet owned has bled to death under our knives: who will wipe this blood off us? What water is there for us to clean ourselves? What festivals of atonement, what sacred games shall we have to invent? Is not the greatness of this deed too great for us? Must we ourselves not become gods simply to appear worthy of it?"

So I suppose your question might be phrased as, if we have killed god (the gods), should we not follow with ourselves ?

But the answer of many mystics, to Nietzche's question, is that we must become not gods, but god, by way of loss of the story, the story that locates us in our cosmology.

Thus Spake Stickman.

RE: No Rebirth = No point in Practicing?
Answer
3/25/19 7:57 PM as a reply to Roger Kim.
Roger Kim:
I honestly don't get this logic where rebirth isn't taken literally. If there is no rebirth then death = release from suffering forever. Death will mean the ultimate freedom where neither suffering/happiness will arise. Death will be like a state of complete equanmity or i.e Nirvana. 

Now if this is true why should we even practice? You can just commit suicide and be done with this world. Am I getting this wrong? Why are there some people who follow buddhism/study buddha's teachings/meditate for enlightenment think that rebirth is somehow metaphorical or simply fake? 

Some say this is a pointless question but for me this is very important. If rebirth is in fact true then practice of meditation makes perfect sense so we can get out of this cycle of suffering. If it's fake this entire practice I'm doing is entirely pointless because I can literally do the most pleasurable activities in life and commit suicide and thereby enter ultimate freedom?

Can anyone share their opinion? Having trouble over this issue lately.
aloha roger,


no birth - no rebirth

no ego, no ego death (no sui, no cide)

emphatically: the ego being absolute and utter nonsense, it isn't reborn in any way shape or form...and it can't be killed either, so forget it...


   You are dancing around the pivotal question of "who" (that is, "what") we really are. Take the issue by the (hare's) horns. Confront non-existence. (laughs)


terry

ps don't ask me - I don't know...




from the rubaiyat, omar khayyam trans fitzgerald:



XXI 
Ah, my Belov'ed fill the Cup that clears 
To-day of Past Regrets and Future Fears: 
To-morrow!--Why, To-morrow I may be 
Myself with Yesterday's Sev'n Thousand Years. 


XXII 
For some we loved, the loveliest and the best 
That from his Vintage rolling Time hath prest, 
Have drunk their Cup a Round or two before, 
And one by one crept silently to rest. 


XXIII 
And we, that now make merry in the Room 
They left, and Summer dresses in new bloom 
Ourselves must we beneath the Couch of Earth 
Descend--ourselves to make a Couch--for whom? 


XXIV 
Ah, make the most of what we yet may spend, 
Before we too into the Dust descend; 
Dust into Dust, and under Dust to lie 
Sans Wine, sans Song, sans Singer, and--sans End! 



from the essential rumi, p28 (rumi/barks):


When you are with everyone but me,
                                        you're with no one.
When you are with no one but me,            
                                        you're with everyone.
Instead of being so bound up with everyone,    
                                       be everyone.
When you become that many, you're nothing.
                                       Empty.

RE: No Rebirth = No point in Practicing?
Answer
3/25/19 8:24 PM as a reply to AntiChrist.
AntiChrist:
I am formerly "dave m," replying under a different account per Shargrol's advice.




aloha ac,

   I think I liked "dave m" better... (wink)

terry

RE: No Rebirth = No point in Practicing?
Answer
3/25/19 8:41 PM as a reply to Nicky.
Nicky:



i don't get this logic where rebirth isn't taken literally.

There is no after-life rebirth that can be known with experience. In original Buddhism, there is even no literal term that can be translated as "rebirth". In original Buddhism, what is translated as "rebirth" is the new & related egoism that "follows on" from previous egoism or kamma. For example, you make an investment on the stock market. This is kamma. When you later lose your money, you regret: "Why did I invest in that dodgy company?" The later regret following on from the previous kamma is "rebirth".

If there is no rebirth then death = release from suffering forever.

Yes, possibly. The ending of life may be release from suffering forever. However, the Buddha taught about a release from suffering in the here & now. 

Death will mean the ultimate freedom where neither suffering/happiness will arise. Death will be like a state of complete equanmity or i.e Nirvana. 

The Buddha taught about a here-&-now Nirvana.

Now if this is true why should we even practice?

We practise to experience here & now Nirvana. 

You can just commit suicide and be done with this world.

Suicide only occurs when the mind is suffering. If the mind ends suffering, in the here & now, it does not need to commit sucide. 

Am I getting this wrong?

Yes. It seems so.

Why are there some people who follow buddhism/study buddha's teachings/meditate for enlightenment think that rebirth is somehow metaphorical or simply fake? 

These enlightened people have ended suffering by ending "birth" of egoism. Because they have actually ended suffering, they understand with complete confidence the "rebirth" that must be ended is the rebirth of egoism. 

Btw, it is the after-life rebirth that is the metaphor. The real "rebirth" is the rebirth of egoism. 

Some say this is a pointless question but for me this is very important.

The idea of not dying & having another life or even eternal life is important for many people. 

If rebirth is in fact true then practice of meditation makes perfect sense so we can get out of this cycle of suffering.

No. The above does not make perfect sense because suffering has a cause. The cause of suffering is ignorance, craving, attachment & egoism. The causes of suffering & egoism can be eradicated by meditation practise.

But if the cause of suffering is physical rebirth, how can the cause of this physical rebirth, which happened many years ago, be eradicated?? Exactly what & how are you going to practise to end this physical rebirth???

If it's fake this entire practice I'm doing is entirely pointless because I can literally do the most pleasurable activities in life and commit suicide and thereby enter ultimate freedom?

But what exactly is the practise you are doing??? If you have not yet identified the exact causes of suffering to be abandoned & eradicated; then what practise are you actually doing? 

Also, meditation & Nirvana is the most pleasurable activity in life. Sensual & sexual pleasures the Buddha said bring little happiness & much disappointment. This is why often rich people are never content. If rich people, such as Donald Trump & his gang of Mafia were content with their money, why must they give themselves tax cuts & engaging in looting both the US Treasury and other nations, such as Venezuala? Why must they keep selling weapons to Saudi Arabia so people can be murdered in Yemen & Syria; merely for more profit? 

Can anyone share their opinion? Having trouble over this issue lately.


aloha nicky,

   right on, brother...

   just think! the end of suffering...

   (for whom, again? I don't know) 

terry




antigonish
(hugh mearns)


Yesterday, upon the stair,
I met a man who wasn’t there
He wasn’t there again today
I wish, I wish he’d go away...

When I came home last night at three
The man was waiting there for me
But when I looked around the hall
I couldn’t see him there at all!
Go away, go away, don’t you come back any more!
Go away, go away, and please don’t slam the door... (slam!)

Last night I saw upon the stair
A little man who wasn’t there
He wasn’t there again today
Oh, how I wish he’d go away...

RE: No Rebirth = No point in Practicing?
Answer
3/25/19 8:45 PM as a reply to Andromeda.
Andromeda:
AntiChrist has been banned.

-Andromeda, one of the DhO mods


jeez...

RE: No Rebirth = No point in Practicing?
Answer
3/25/19 10:01 PM as a reply to svmonk.
svmonk:
Look, rebirth isn't like the divinity of Christ in Christanity. The canonical Christian bottom line is: if you don't believe that Jesus is literally the son of God, you are doomed to Pugatory if you generally live a good life or Hell if you don't. Buddhism doesn't have that kind of hard belief requirement, and it's not possible to prove in any case. And it is not like believing in the existence of Santa Claus, because the existence of Santa Claus is provably false. It's more like believing in the existence of extraterrestrial intelligent beings, or even any kind of complex life somewhere else in the galaxy. That is provably falsifiable, but the evidence may be extremely difficult or even impossible to obtain absent sending a sublight probe to another star system. 

There is evidence for rebirth but just like for extraterrestrial life, it is somewhat thin. Some children when they are very young report that they can remember a previous life (actually, my niece was in this category). As they grow older, they lose the memory. Most of these reports come out of cultures, like India, where belief in rebirth is widespread and therefore there may be cultural pressures on young children, especially if the parents are devout, to make such statements. Some people have experiences of previous lives of themselves or others during deep meditation, as the Buddha reportedly did during his night of enlightenment. The difficulty with these experiences is that the people experiencing them generate stories, and these stories are not possible to verify. They could involve misinterpretation.

The basic problem with rebirth is that each of the Buddhist traditions claims it occurs through a different mechanism. In the Theravadan tradition, the last thought of your previous life becomes a kind of default state for your next, called the bhavanga. Any time your mind is not occupied with something else, it rests in the bhavanga, and rebirth happens instantaneously when you die. In Tibetan Buddhism, you become a kind of disembodied spirit in the Bardo for a certain time until you are reborn. You can tell you are in the Bardo because everyone ignores you and you have no shadow. And in Zen, they never talk about rebirth. If you ask a Zen roshi about it, some will flat out say it doesn't occur.

Fundamentally, it really doesn't matter what you or I believe. If rebirth really happens, regardless that the traditions can't agree on a mechanism, then we will in some fashion be reborn. If not, then we will be gone. What really matters is how we live our lives right now. Do we live with compassion and kindness, honesty and respect, or with cruelty and hatred, dishonesty and disrespect? Meditation brings us up against our lives in a way that makes it difficult to ignore if we are behaving in a shabby manner. So in that respect, meditation is worthwhile, even ignoring the other documented mental and physical health benefits it brings.

Anyway, just my 0.02 euro. emoticon

aloha monk,

   What if I believe in something provably false, like santa claus, or rebirth? Does it matter?

   Experiences are stories. Experiencer = ego. Provably false.

   Provable, believable; to whom?

terry




from the gateless gate


Goso asked a monk, “Sei, the Chinese girl, who was separated from her soul. Which was the real Sei?”

Mumon’s Comment:

If you obtain genuine awareness of reality, you will know that the soul passes from one husk to another as travellers lodged in an inn. But if you have not obtained the awareness, you should not run around in confusion when the four elements are suddenly ready to become separated (i.e., to die), like a crab with its seven arms and eight legs thrown into the boiling water. Never say that I did not warn you.

The moon in the clouds is one and the same,
Valleys and mountains are various.
Fortunes above fortunes,
Is it one, or is it two?




from dogen, the shobogenzo, 'on buddha nature':


In the assembly of the virtuous monk Chōsa Keishin, his lay disciple Chiku, who was a high government official, raised a question, saying, “When a live earthworm is cut in two, both parts continue to move. I wonder, in which part does the Buddha Nature reside?”

The Master responded, “Do not engage in deluded, dualistic thinking.”

The official asked, “But how do you account for the twitching?”

The Master replied, “It is simply that the elements of wind and fire have not yet dissipated.”


Now, when the government official remarked about an earthworm being cut in two, had he concluded that, prior to its being cut, it was one segment of Buddha Nature? This is not the way things are viewed within the everyday experience of the Buddhas and Ancestors. The earthworm was not originally one segment of It, and, after being cut, the earthworm was not two segments of It. The assertion of ‘one’ and ‘two’ needs to be diligently explored through one’s training and practice. As to the ‘two parts’ in his saying that both parts continue to move, did he take the worm before it had been cut to be one part of Buddha Nature, and did he take That which goes beyond awakening to be one part of the worm? Regardless of how the government official may have understood his phrase ‘two parts’, do not disregard the words he spoke. Is it that the two cut segments made up one whole and, moreover, that they exist as a whole being? The movement of which he spoke when saying that both continue to move will be the movement of one’s meditative practice which loosens the roots of delusion and the movement of one’s wise discernment which pulls these roots out.

RE: No Rebirth = No point in Practicing?
Answer
3/25/19 9:42 PM as a reply to Stickman2.
[quote=Stickman2


snip]
"God is dead. God remains dead. And we have killed him. How shall we comfort ourselves, the murderers of all murderers? What was holiest and mightiest of all that the world has yet owned has bled to death under our knives: who will wipe this blood off us? What water is there for us to clean ourselves? What festivals of atonement, what sacred games shall we have to invent? Is not the greatness of this deed too great for us? Must we ourselves not become gods simply to appear worthy of it?"

So I suppose your question might be phrased as, if we have killed god (the gods), should we not follow with ourselves ?

But the answer of many mystics, to Nietzche's question, is that we must become not gods, but god, by way of loss of the story, the story that locates us in our cosmology.

Thus Spake Stickman.





aloha sm2,

   I recently read this quote and was also impressed.

terry


as quoted by george steiner (from the gay science, by nietzsche) in bluebeard's castle:

   "Whereto has God gone?" he cried. I shall tell you! "We have slain him - you and I! All of us are his murderers! But how have we done this? How had we the means to drink the sea dry? Who gave us a sponge to efface the entire horizon? What were we about when we uncoupled this earth from its sun? Where is the earth moving to now? Where are we moving? Away from all suns? Are we falling continuously? And back­ward and sideways and forward in all directions? Is there still an above and a below? Are we not wandering lost as through an unending void? Does vacant space not breathe at us? Has it not grown colder? Is there not perpetual nightfall and more night? Must we not light lanterns in the morning? Do we hear nothing of the noise of the gravediggers who are burying God? Is there no smell of divine putrefaction? -the gods also decompose! God is dead! God stays dead! And we have killed him! How shall we comfort ourselves, who are killers above all killers? The holiest and mightiest that the world had hitherto possessed has bled to death under our knives - who shall wipe that blood off us?"


nietzsche, btw, also called himself "antichrist"...

RE: No Rebirth = No point in Practicing?
Answer
3/26/19 12:34 AM as a reply to Milo.
Since this thread is getting interesting, here is a specific idea for meditators: if you can do the jhanas, go through them slowly, in reverse, and watch what happens to consciousness. Is consciousness a binary state, a spectrum, a complex of layers, a process or processes? What are its requirements / causes and conditions? What is the relationship of consciousness, mind, brain, thoughts? Where do thoughts come from and how do they propagate? Is the meditator conscious in the higher jhana states? Those should be inteteresting meditation objects. 

RE: No Rebirth = No point in Practicing?
Answer
3/26/19 10:42 AM as a reply to Milo.
Milo:
Since this thread is getting interesting, here is a specific idea for meditators: if you can do the jhanas, go through them slowly, in reverse, and watch what happens to consciousness. Is consciousness a binary state, a spectrum, a complex of layers, a process or processes? What are its requirements / causes and conditions? What is the relationship of consciousness, mind, brain, thoughts? Where do thoughts come from and how do they propagate? Is the meditator conscious in the higher jhana states? Those should be inteteresting meditation objects. 



I agree. There are so many fascinating things to learn from meditation regardless of what happens after death. The process is the purpose.

RE: No Rebirth = No point in Practicing?
Answer
5/7/19 6:22 PM as a reply to Roger Kim.
If it's fake this entire practice I'm doing is entirely pointless because I can literally do the most pleasurable activities in life and commit suicide and thereby enter ultimate freedom?

Technically anything is possible, which is why all we really have is the conclusion that we can only know what we directly experience. I would say this idea is the basis of pragmatism.

By that logic, if you haven't directly experienced knowing whether or not rebirth occurs after death, then committing suicide wouldn't be advisable, since anything could happen after that. Maybe committing suicide leads to something better, maybe something worse, maybe "natural" death leads to something better/worse, maybe enlightened death leads to better/worse. Since we don't directly know any of these things, slowly moving forward into the fog of what is not known based on what has been experienced seems like the best idea, rather than diving into the fog by killing yourself.

TLDR don't kill yourself because anything could happen.

It seems that no matter how smart we become, there will always be the question of "what if everything I have experienced isn't correct, and this isn't the path I should've taken?" Even still, we're at the whims of causality in this system, so as far as knowing is concerned we have no choice other than pragmatism. The Buddha and everyone here could be completely wrong about everything, but it's the best we've got, so we do this stuff.

Then again, what exactly is logic, this is all just causality, blah blah blah, and you go around in circles until you arrive back at pragmatism. But then maybe a religion comes along saying "Every time you base decisions on what has been directly experienced rather than pure faith in this, +60 sextillion years in hell." Shit, what if that is right...

RE: No Rebirth = No point in Practicing?
Answer
5/8/19 12:46 PM as a reply to Nicky.
Nicky:



i don't get this logic where rebirth isn't taken literally.

There is no after-life rebirth that can be known with experience. In original Buddhism, there is even no literal term that can be translated as "rebirth". In original Buddhism, what is translated as "rebirth" is the new & related egoism that "follows on" from previous egoism or kamma. For example, you make an investment on the stock market. This is kamma. When you later lose your money, you regret: "Why did I invest in that dodgy company?" The later regret following on from the previous kamma is "rebirth".

If there is no rebirth then death = release from suffering forever.

Yes, possibly. The ending of life may be release from suffering forever. However, the Buddha taught about a release from suffering in the here & now. 

Death will mean the ultimate freedom where neither suffering/happiness will arise. Death will be like a state of complete equanmity or i.e Nirvana. 

The Buddha taught about a here-&-now Nirvana.

Now if this is true why should we even practice?

We practise to experience here & now Nirvana. 

You can just commit suicide and be done with this world.

Suicide only occurs when the mind is suffering. If the mind ends suffering, in the here & now, it does not need to commit sucide. 

Am I getting this wrong?

Yes. It seems so.

Why are there some people who follow buddhism/study buddha's teachings/meditate for enlightenment think that rebirth is somehow metaphorical or simply fake? 

These enlightened people have ended suffering by ending "birth" of egoism. Because they have actually ended suffering, they understand with complete confidence the "rebirth" that must be ended is the rebirth of egoism. 

Btw, it is the after-life rebirth that is the metaphor. The real "rebirth" is the rebirth of egoism. 

Some say this is a pointless question but for me this is very important.

The idea of not dying & having another life or even eternal life is important for many people. 

If rebirth is in fact true then practice of meditation makes perfect sense so we can get out of this cycle of suffering.

No. The above does not make perfect sense because suffering has a cause. The cause of suffering is ignorance, craving, attachment & egoism. The causes of suffering & egoism can be eradicated by meditation practise.

But if the cause of suffering is physical rebirth, how can the cause of this physical rebirth, which happened many years ago, be eradicated?? Exactly what & how are you going to practise to end this physical rebirth???

If it's fake this entire practice I'm doing is entirely pointless because I can literally do the most pleasurable activities in life and commit suicide and thereby enter ultimate freedom?

But what exactly is the practise you are doing??? If you have not yet identified the exact causes of suffering to be abandoned & eradicated; then what practise are you actually doing? 

Also, meditation & Nirvana is the most pleasurable activity in life. Sensual & sexual pleasures the Buddha said bring little happiness & much disappointment. This is why often rich people are never content. If rich people, such as Donald Trump & his gang of Mafia were content with their money, why must they give themselves tax cuts & engaging in looting both the US Treasury and other nations, such as Venezuala? Why must they keep selling weapons to Saudi Arabia so people can be murdered in Yemen & Syria; merely for more profit? 

Can anyone share their opinion? Having trouble over this issue lately.
Just curious, do you know anyone who actually attained "here-&-now Nirvana"? what if that is just a lie? 

RE: No Rebirth = No point in Practicing?
Answer
5/8/19 2:17 PM as a reply to John Not2.
"Do you know anyone who actually attained "here-&-now Nirvana"? what if that is just a lie?"

Daniel Ingram names several people in MCTB2 whom he regards as Arahants, so that would fulfill this criteria.

Also, nirvana/nibbana seems to have two meanings.  One is cessation, which can occur temporarily during meditation and permanently at death. The other is unbinding from the craving self, which is the goal of the path and leads to relinquishment of craving and dukkha (although realisitically there is still a little dukkha left from old karma, generated prior to unbinding).

RE: No Rebirth = No point in Practicing?
Answer
5/8/19 3:00 PM as a reply to curious.
curious:
"Do you know anyone who actually attained "here-&-now Nirvana"? what if that is just a lie?"

Daniel Ingram names several people in MCTB2 whom he regards as Arahants, so that would fulfill this criteria.

Also, nirvana/nibbana seems to have two meanings.  One is cessation, which can occur temporarily during meditation and permanently at death. The other is unbinding from the craving self, which is the goal of the path and leads to relinquishment of craving and dukkha (although realisitically there is still a little dukkha left from old karma, generated prior to unbinding).
My question was to Nicky, in reference to his "here-&-now Nirvana" claim as a superior alternative to permanent death or committing suicide. 

Arahants still suffer like the rest of us, as Daniel himself has put it in his books, posts, and interviews.  The exact meaning of Arahant and the criteria that qualifies one as an Arahant are very controversial and subjective.

RE: No Rebirth = No point in Practicing?
Answer
5/8/19 4:05 PM as a reply to John Not2.
"Arahants still suffer like the rest of us, as Daniel himself has put it in his books, posts, and interviews.  The exact meaning of Arahant and the criteria that qualifies one as an Arahant are very controversial and subjective."

Yes they still suffer, but not like the rest of us. The wonderful advantages of liberation are attested again and again, so I can't help thinking you are picking and choosing your evidence a little?  emoticon  Although of course we all do that.

I agree the meaning of Arahant changes.  Daniel again makes the point nicely by saying that of the three components to the path, there is no limit on concentration or morality, but there is a definite endpoint on wisdom (the specific type of wisdom about phenomenal experince that unbinds from craving).  'Aharant' might be taken to mean one who has reached the endpoint on wisdom, but others may wish to demand certain standards of concentration or insight to use the term 'Aarahant'.  So yeah, I agree with your second point.

RE: No Rebirth = No point in Practicing?
Answer
5/8/19 4:15 PM as a reply to Cameron.
Cameron:
I use the Dharma in part to play into Pascal's wager.

I believe most people that see death as endless oblivion practice to end suffering in this life. The reason they don't just skip the nonsense is because they see some value in life beyond the pleasure/suffering dichotomy and want to see it through. Do you not see any value in life? This is an interesting perspective.
I have not been able to find any real value in "life", I don't want to voluntarily end my life because I still hope to one day discover such illusive "value".  Maybe that is called "clinging" to life?  but if one cannot find any value in life, why shall one value life?

yet, over 7 billions of our human individuals today are still clinging to this "valueless" life, and probably will continue to do so forever, there got to be some strange reasons behind such irrational human behavior.

RE: No Rebirth = No point in Practicing?
Answer
5/8/19 5:08 PM as a reply to John Not2.
Oh, I wish I could share my newfound happiness with you and with everyone who needs it.

RE: No Rebirth = No point in Practicing?
Answer
5/8/19 5:21 PM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö:
Oh, I wish I could share my newfound happiness with you and with everyone who needs it.


PLEASE DO!  Thank you, I need it desperately.

RE: No Rebirth = No point in Practicing?
Answer
5/8/19 5:44 PM as a reply to John Not2.
Oh, now I wish it even more. I also wish I could give you a warm hug (if wanted).

RE: No Rebirth = No point in Practicing?
Answer
5/8/19 6:51 PM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
I didn't mean that I want anyone to share their happiness with me, but rather to share the story of their happiness, I thought that was what you meant, but now I think I had misread your post.

RE: No Rebirth = No point in Practicing?
Answer
5/8/19 7:43 PM as a reply to Milo.
Milo:
IMO if you want to answer this yourself, cultivate concentration + insight and start investigating mind, thought, and consciousness directly. Next best would be to simply realize that, if you have compassion, suicide would be pretty non-ideal, because you don't live in isolation from the rest of the universe and such an action would inevitably have negative repercussions for others, who suffer just like you do. It certainly perpetuates a process of some kind, no?

Edit: "+ insight"


I don't get your logic: as I "don't live in isolation from the rest of the universe", why should my ending my suffering cause any pain and suffering to others? it should be the other way around shouldn't it?

RE: No Rebirth = No point in Practicing?
Answer
5/9/19 11:51 AM as a reply to John Not2.
John Not2:
I didn't mean that I want anyone to share their happiness with me, but rather to share the story of their happiness, I thought that was what you meant, but now I think I had misread your post.


Ah. That would at least be possible, even if it is difficult to put into words. If you find that helpful, I’ll try. It will be very preliminary, as my presumed stream entry was less than a couple of months ago.

- There are more nuances to sensate experiences, and that makes life richer.
- As a baseline, there is less personal investment distorting experience. That still varies due to both internal and external conditions. The journey has just begun, and the imaginary self fights back. There are circumstances that trigger that old sense of self and perhaps new ones.
- Less need for mental preparation.
- I bounce back faster after setbacks.
- Eye contact is much easier (autistic).
- Less prone to sensory overload (will probably vary as senses also change).
- Genuine pleasure in the small things.
- Happier to wake up in the morning.
- Somewhat less cravings, for now at least.
- Somewhat easier to recognize avoidance behavior etc in action and make an active choice (still varies, but as a base line).
- Less pain (maybe much of my pain was energetic).
- Some hard-to-describe intuitive understanding that questions about the meaning of life are irrelevant, as the questions are based on assumptions that are mistaken. There is a great relief in that understanding.

There are new layers uncovered that need work. I don’t doubt that I’ll have my hands full for a long time. Mostly, I enjoy the work, though.

RE: No Rebirth = No point in Practicing?
Answer
5/9/19 10:56 AM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
Thanks a lot for sharing the story, it really helps me to understand your posts and comments, especially in regards to stream entry experience.  I also have come to an important realization about humanity from discussing the taboo subject of suicide with all who responded, it's a very sad realization, I honestly had thought that humans are more awake than that, but I was so wrong.

RE: No Rebirth = No point in Practicing?
Answer
5/9/19 11:49 AM as a reply to John Not2.
You’re welcome, and sorry to disappoint you, if that was the case. Yeah, sometimes it’s all too easy to lose faith in humanity, but then usually something happens that reminds me of the kindness and braveness and compassion that are also part of the package - often against all odds. That’s the beauty of it.

Are you okay?

RE: No Rebirth = No point in Practicing?
Answer
5/9/19 8:57 PM as a reply to Roger Kim.
Roger Kim:
I honestly don't get this logic where rebirth isn't taken literally. If there is no rebirth then death = release from suffering forever. Death will mean the ultimate freedom where neither suffering/happiness will arise. Death will be like a state of complete equanmity or i.e Nirvana. 

Now if this is true why should we even practice? You can just commit suicide and be done with this world. Am I getting this wrong? Why are there some people who follow buddhism/study buddha's teachings/meditate for enlightenment think that rebirth is somehow metaphorical or simply fake? 

Some say this is a pointless question but for me this is very important. If rebirth is in fact true then practice of meditation makes perfect sense so we can get out of this cycle of suffering. If it's fake this entire practice I'm doing is entirely pointless because I can literally do the most pleasurable activities in life and commit suicide and thereby enter ultimate freedom?

Can anyone share their opinion? Having trouble over this issue lately.
Hey Roger Kim, have you heard about the work of Dr. Ian Stevenson? He did a LOT of research about kids who remembered past lives and there are some cases that are so sharp that is hard to not believe in.

I also recommend this book, by Bhikkhu Analayo:
https://www.amazon.ca/Rebirth-Early-Buddhism-Current-Research-ebook/dp/B076ZRNZ1W/ref=sr_1_fkmrnull_1?keywords=analayo+rebirth&qid=1557453375&s=gateway&sr=8-1-fkmrnull

 ;)

RE: No Rebirth = No point in Practicing?
Answer
5/12/19 5:22 AM as a reply to Roger Kim.
Roger Kim:
I honestly don't get this logic where rebirth isn't taken literally. If there is no rebirth then death = release from suffering forever. Death will mean the ultimate freedom where neither suffering/happiness will arise. Death will be like a state of complete equanmity or i.e Nirvana. 

Now if this is true why should we even practice? You can just commit suicide and be done with this world. Am I getting this wrong? Why are there some people who follow buddhism/study buddha's teachings/meditate for enlightenment think that rebirth is somehow metaphorical or simply fake? 

Some say this is a pointless question but for me this is very important. If rebirth is in fact true then practice of meditation makes perfect sense so we can get out of this cycle of suffering. If it's fake this entire practice I'm doing is entirely pointless because I can literally do the most pleasurable activities in life and commit suicide and thereby enter ultimate freedom?

Can anyone share their opinion? Having trouble over this issue lately.

Maybe it's helpful to point out that, among all the belief systems built around mystical experience buddhism is only a subset which happens to have reincarnation beliefs, and mysticism is bigger than buddhism.

RE: No Rebirth = No point in Practicing?
Answer
5/12/19 11:36 AM as a reply to Roger Kim.
The question of rebirth is a secondary question. The primary question is Does the conscious perception of self continue, in any form, after the physical body dies? If the answer is Yes, then rebirth is possible.

For those of us who believe that continuity of conscious identification does persist beyond death, the issue of rebirth has many implications worth discussing; for example:

Does everyone who is not liberated always return to the physical realm, perhaps compelled by unconscious craving? If so, does this happen immediately and automatically, or is there a nonphysical interim during which one might somehow be "saved"? If there is no choice in the matter and no hope of intervention, then liberation must be attained via a physical body.

Or, if rebirth is a conscious and deliberate choice, what is it about this realm that draws us here again and again, despite its arguably hellish features? What is it that we think we can achieve here that we cannot achieve in a nonphysical realm? Or, what is so undesirable about the "afterlife" that we wish to escape it?

Further, how do we reckon with the fact that birth entails the erasure of any memory of one's previous identity and past history? Since the continuity of conscious identity is thus broken, wouldn't the choice to return to the physical realm be a decision to commit virtual suicide?

RE: No Rebirth = No point in Practicing?
Answer
5/15/19 12:49 PM as a reply to Roger Kim.
Roger Kim:
I honestly don't get this logic where rebirth isn't taken literally. If there is no rebirth then death = release from suffering forever. Death will mean the ultimate freedom where neither suffering/happiness will arise. Death will be like a state of complete equanmity or i.e Nirvana. 

Now if this is true why should we even practice? You can just commit suicide and be done with this world. Am I getting this wrong? Why are there some people who follow buddhism/study buddha's teachings/meditate for enlightenment think that rebirth is somehow metaphorical or simply fake? 

Some say this is a pointless question but for me this is very important. If rebirth is in fact true then practice of meditation makes perfect sense so we can get out of this cycle of suffering. If it's fake this entire practice I'm doing is entirely pointless because I can literally do the most pleasurable activities in life and commit suicide and thereby enter ultimate freedom?

Can anyone share their opinion? Having trouble over this issue lately.

aloha kim,

   I honestly don't understand why rebirth is important to anyone. It is not for the sake of future reward that we behave well, nor for fear of punishment; that is child's play. In a recent thread john not2 spoke of fearing that suicide would lead to an unfortunate rebirth. Like hamlet saying "To sleep, perchance to dream: aye, there's the rub." The "question" of rebirth will be resolved when we die, so why anticipate it? How does the absence or presence of a future rebirth really affect our behavior? All we can do is the best we can; why do less? If that is even possible.

   To me rebirth is a metaphor. If you "die before you die" you are reborn into a new world/ new person. By extension you may be reborn every moment, shedding the past entirely. Thus, free. Free to do whatever you want, what do you want to do? Enjoy pleasures, sure. That done, now what? For pleasures pall. Lie, steal and cheat for pleasure and you pay the price for your crimes. With death, ultimately. The ego dies, dies, dies; is reborn, is reborn, is reborn. At some point having more ego is no longer thought desirable.

   I hear what you are saying, that if there is no reward, no penalty, why be good? The true answer is that being good is our nature and happiness. It doesn't take discipline not to rape and murder, for most of us; we take no pleasure in evil. Most lying and cheating is mere laziness.

   The true end of buddhism is to completely extinguish rebirth.

   Literal rebirth involves literal belief in an endless ego, which is a contradiction in buddhism.

   Karma is not only received by subsequent births, you get your karma right here in this world. Pursue pleasurable activities and suffer the hangovers. The buddha says, check it out for yourself. 

terry


from edward conze, "Buddhist Thought in India," p122


Among all the tenets of Buddhism none has occasioned more controversy and misunderstanding than the anatman theory, which suggests that nowhere can a 'self' be apprehended. The prospect of complete self-extinction, welcomed by the true Buddhist, seems so bleak and arid to many students of the Dharma that they dream up a 'true Self' which, they say, will be realized by the extinction of the false, empirical self. This misinterpretation has become so popular in Europe that one is tempted to regard it as either an expression of the typical concern of modern Europeans for 'individuality' and 'personality' or a remnant of the Christian belief in an immortal 'soul.' In fact it is not confined to European Christians or ex-Christians. Everywhere, even in India, it voices the murmurings of the unregenerate Adam when faced with the more magnificent vistas of Buddhist thought.

   

RE: No Rebirth = No point in Practicing?
Answer
5/15/19 9:08 PM as a reply to terry.
+1!!! Well put terry!!!

Really, it doesn't matter if you believe in rebirth or not. If it exists, you'll be reborn. If it doesn't, you won't. It's really a  mystery but unlike other mysteries there isn't any way to assemble objective evidence for or against it, because it is kind of the place were relative reality and ultimate reality touch, and objective evidence only applies to relative reality. To me, the experiences people have of past and future lives (and, yes, I have had such experiences myself) are basically stories. Since stories are the way people explain relative reality, they need to be taken with a grain of salt when applied to ultimate reality. Not to be completely discounted, but rather to be greeted with "maybe so, friend, maybe so!" emoticon

RE: No Rebirth = No point in Practicing?
Answer
5/17/19 3:53 PM as a reply to svmonk.
svmonk:
+1!!! Well put terry!!!

Really, it doesn't matter if you believe in rebirth or not. If it exists, you'll be reborn. If it doesn't, you won't. It's really a  mystery but unlike other mysteries there isn't any way to assemble objective evidence for or against it, because it is kind of the place were relative reality and ultimate reality touch, and objective evidence only applies to relative reality. To me, the experiences people have of past and future lives (and, yes, I have had such experiences myself) are basically stories. Since stories are the way people explain relative reality, they need to be taken with a grain of salt when applied to ultimate reality. Not to be completely discounted, but rather to be greeted with "maybe so, friend, maybe so!" emoticon

aloha sv,

   (bowing in deep agreement and gratitude)

   Stories are wonderful, I love them so much, and yet they are just imagination, no more real than dreams. Everything we think or tell ourselves is just a story, just as a three or four year old keeps up a running narrative for a host of different characters played by their toys.

   This being so, stories, so familiar to all, can be used in themselves to elevate and instruct. There are stories on the level of netflix binge-watching (brain-washing), and then there are sufi stories, jataka tales, taoist and hindu stories, sacred writings and collections of folk tales from practically every human culture. Teachers of all ages have used stories convey wisdom.

terry



from idries shah, "learning how to learn":



IDIOT'S WISDOM


Q: Can you say something about your book Wisdom of the Idiots; how the tales and quotations work?

A: The great fraternity of Sufis claims these three things:

That the Sufi teaching leads to a realm of higher human enlightenment;

That whatever its changing outward forms, Sufism is timeless. It may be said to have existed always.

That the aim of Sufi teaching is to provoke experience towards higher knowledge, not simply to supply information or to deal in emotional stimuli.

Sufism has perfected, among other techniques, a characteristic teaching method which is almost unknown outside the ranks of the initiates of the Way. This method, called Diagrammatic of Impression Tales, is contained in the special use made by Sufis of oral and other literature.

Sufi stories, though they may seem on the surface to purvey a moral, or appear intended to entertain, are not literary forms as these things are commonly understood. They are literature incidentally, but teaching-materials primarily. Very many of the classical poets and writers of Persia are avowed Sufis: and their works contain such inner dimensions as those to which I am referring.

The Sufi tale, and certain Sufic quotations of other kinds, are designed, then, equally to be appreciated by the cultured, to convey information, to instruct and to provide what is called 'a framework for the reception of the illumination' in the mind of the student.

This book is designed with the intention of preserving in English not only the form but also the Sufi intention of the story.

One specific thing which can be said about the Sufi tale is that its construction is such as to permit the presentation to the mind of a design or series of relationships. When the reader's mind is familiar with this structure, he can understand concepts and experiences which have a similar structure, but which operate on a higher level of perception. It could be called the relationship of the blueprint to the finished apparatus.

This method, according to Sufi teaching, can yield enlightenment to the individual in accordance with his capacity to understand. It may also form an essential part of a student's preparation- exercises.

The process includes getting beyond the external face of a story, without inhibiting the student's capacity to understand and enjoy its humour or other outward characteristics.

In Sufi circles it is customary for students to soak themselves in stories set for their study, so that their many meanings can become available as and when they are useful for their development. This latter stage may at times require the aid of a teaching master, to indicate the time and place of such development.

It is for these reasons that, in old-fashioned terminology, Sufi tales are said to 'imprison a priceless secret', which is 'released by the power of a teaching master'.

To analyse these special tales deprives them of their instrumental value: just as taking a hammer to pieces would mean that it would cease to be a hammer. The tales have been used from immemorial antiquity as the bearers of knowledge and the instruments of understanding. But they have to be experienced aright. Here is one of the few which help in this experience, and no more can be said about the matter:


THE JOURNEY

A man was on a journey with a Sufi teacher when night fell, and both were tired and hungry. The master asked at a humble house for food and the tenant, a poor man, gave them everything he had.

In the morning, tie Sufi said: 'Blessings upon you and your house,' and the two travellers started on their way.

After they had gone a few steps, the disciple said:'We h ave surely not recompensed this man for his generosity. Could you not give him more than a mere blessing?'

'He has had enough. More would not be better' said the master.

But the soft-hearted disciple hung his head and with as much politeness as he could exercise, he insisted that 'all are bound to do all they can for others ...'

'Very well,' said the Sufi, 'I shall let you see what happens.'

He went back and called their host, saying to him:

'A treasure is buried in your garden. It is under that apple tree. Dig it up and flourish.'

The two set off again, and they wandered for a year. It so happened that they were passing the same way again, hungry and tired, when they saw that the house was no longer there. It had been replaced by a palace. The formerly kindly tenant was now a great lord, and everyone around was suffering from his tyranny.

'What do you say now?' asked the teacher.

'I understand what has happened,' said his disciple. 'But if you knew that this would happen, why did you do as I asked: in fact causing this man to become an oppressor?'

The master waved his hand; and the disciple saw that they were back in the conditions of a year before. No trace of the tyrant remained: they were looking at the smiling face of the humble cottager, waving them goodbye. It was at that moment that the disciple realised that the Sufi teacher had vanished. He has not found him since; and that was many years ago.