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Rebirth of the arhat...

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Rebirth of the arhat...
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11/4/19 7:57 PM
I know this has been asked before, and for lot of people think this is kinda like pointless conversation, and they maybe right, but still, im really curious about it.

Bill Hamillton mentions in his book "saints and psycopaths" cases of arhats being reborn in Tibet, what this means? So fourth path is different from dogmatic arhantship in that regard too? Mahayana was right, and the arhants dont really break the cycle of rebirth? ¿Nobody really knows how to get free from it, and such claims are merely "skillfull means"? What do you think about all this?

RE: Rebirth of the arhat...
Answer
11/4/19 8:29 PM as a reply to Jake Frankfurt Middenhall.
Hi Jake,

Not to come across as confrontational and crunchy, but what does it matter?

The various yanas have have their ideology about rebirth and arhats, just as they have their beliefs about the exact mechanism about how rebirth occurs. But, in the end, its just stories and beliefs. They are kind of fun to listen to, and, who knows, maybe rebirth does happen, and we'll find out in the end though we won't be able to tell anyone. What makes a difference, though, is how you are practicing and living your life right now.

Thanx.

RE: Rebirth of the arhat...
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11/4/19 11:26 PM as a reply to svmonk.
svmonk:
Hi Jake,

Not to come across as confrontational and crunchy, but what does it matter?

The various yanas have have their ideology about rebirth and arhats, just as they have their beliefs about the exact mechanism about how rebirth occurs. But, in the end, its just stories and beliefs. They are kind of fun to listen to, and, who knows, maybe rebirth does happen, and we'll find out in the end though we won't be able to tell anyone. What makes a difference, though, is how you are practicing and living your life right now.

Thanx.
Hi mr svmonk
Im aware of the fact that you are very pragmatic and sceptic, and so is a lot of people in this forum, maybe making this sort of questions here is hard because of that, maybe dharmawheel is better fit, but in that forum people doesn´t acknowledge the possibility of arhants existing today. 
I firmly believe in rebirth, and because i believe in it, i really feel anxiety about my future. I also believe most of the things Daniel and Bill Hamilton say, they are like my not-formal gurus. I take the claims of Bill Hamilton regarding the rebirth of arhants as 100% true. Thank you for your appreciation, is very much true.

RE: Rebirth of the arhat...
Answer
11/5/19 3:43 AM as a reply to Jake Frankfurt Middenhall.
Hello friend.

It's just my opinion so take this lighty and know it comes from a place of metta. There is nothing wrong with believing that about arhats. It doesn't hurt you. It just doesn't help you know if its true or not. Believing it could help give you faith in the hard times of your own practice. It doesn't really matter who is wrong or right. What matters and makes a differents in your life is, going out and making it happen for you. Go cut down the delusions and free yourself. It can be done. Then you will really know for yourself what is what.

RE: Rebirth of the arhat...
Answer
11/5/19 6:31 AM as a reply to Jake Frankfurt Middenhall.
Hello,

Believing is for believers. They are many in buddhism. Practitioners practice to find out these things through one's own experience. They are not that many.

RE: Rebirth of the arhat...
Answer
11/5/19 7:53 AM as a reply to Kim Katami.
Kim Katami:
Hello,

Believing is for believers. They are many in buddhism. Practitioners practice to find out these things through one's own experience. They are not that many.

I wouldn't take it for granted that believers aren't also practicioners who practice to find out and are ready to abandon beliefs if proven wrong. Some aren't, but that doesn't necessarily apply to everyone. I see that as an empirical question too. You only need to find one believer who is ready to change their mind to prove the assumption (that it applies to everyone) wrong. I think it's a good point that one needs to find out from experience, so I basically agree with you. I just don't see it as a binary thing. Also, I don't necessarily see it as pointless to have some beliefs in the meantime, before being able to find out. I just wouldn't want to invest too much in it. Sometimes I have beliefs that I'm very well aware that I will eventually end up abandoning, because I see that they have limitations, but they still help me to get to the point where I will be ready to abandon them. Like Newton's Physics. It works really well for many practical purposes, but other purposes require more advanced theories (I'm not a physicist, so maybe the analogy is not as adequate as I believe, but I'm willing to change my mind about it if proven wrong).

RE: Rebirth of the arhat...
Answer
11/5/19 8:19 AM as a reply to Jake Frankfurt Middenhall.
I think you misunderstood something about the belief about the rebirth of the Arahant. This belief is not that arahants have not broken the cycle and are not free. This belief, mentioned in Hamilton's book,  also maintains that arahants are free from rebirth. What it says is that through compassion, they can choose to come back. Instead of coming back through the power and conditioning of the three poisons, they come back through the mere power of compassion. 

Now as others have said, these beliefs are interesting but it can be counter-productive to invest too much energy in them. Even the Buddha said not to think too much about issues related to kamma, but focus on liberation here and now.

RE: Rebirth of the arhat...
Answer
11/5/19 4:50 PM as a reply to Ben V..
Ben V.:
I think you misunderstood something about the belief about the rebirth of the Arahant. This belief is not that arahants have not broken the cycle and are not free. This belief, mentioned in Hamilton's book,  also maintains that arahants are free from rebirth. What it says is that through compassion, they can choose to come back. Instead of coming back through the power and conditioning of the three poisons, they come back through the mere power of compassion. 

Now as others have said, these beliefs are interesting but it can be counter-productive to invest too much energy in them. Even the Buddha said not to think too much about issues related to kamma, but focus on liberation here and now.
Well, apparently Bill Hamilton just  formulated that hypothesis but he was not sure, when he asked Tuangpulu Sayadaw he responded "it is a paradox" So nobody really knows, but just the fact that is happening is already contradicting basic theravada teachings about the subject.

RE: Rebirth of the arhat...
Answer
11/5/19 4:58 PM as a reply to Jake Frankfurt Middenhall.
Thank you guys, maybe i should get enlightened like some of you so i can focus on the "now"

RE: Rebirth of the arhat...
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11/5/19 9:44 PM as a reply to Jake Frankfurt Middenhall.
For what it's worth, I think it's an interesting topic.

RE: Rebirth of the arhat...
Answer
11/5/19 11:08 PM as a reply to Jake Frankfurt Middenhall.
Interesting question Jake! I haven't read BH's book so I can't speak to it specifically, but I do think it's largely best to separate pragmatic ideas of progression from ideas about reincarnation.  

Your question actually hits on numerous debated topics in this general community.  What is the relationship between traditional arhat and mctb arhat?  Is traditional arhat (see fetter model) even a thing? Is tharavada equivalent to the Hinayana and therefore subtly inferior to the Mahayana?  Is that necessary a bad thing?  Is reincarnation actually a thing? And if it is, how accurate is Buddhism's traditional conception of it?  

My opinion, having learned most of what I know about the Therevadan path from mctb is that: Therevadan teachings are special, unique, and distinct from the Tibetan Hinayana path even if they do cover similar territory.  Mctb 4th path is both not a final end state, nor aligns with traditional fetter model model arhat conceptions (which are likely wholly unrealistic and impractical).  

As far as representing the end point of the Hinayana path, mctb 4th path truly fits the bill - I found 4th path to dovetail perfectly with the standard Mahayana emptiness attainment model.  And as far as reincarnation goes, I think that although it is very likely a thing, Buddhism's conception of it is so simplistic as to function simply as a kind of dogmatic explanatory mechanism.

So in conclusion, if mctb arhat can be called true arhatship, I do think it represents an attainment at the very begining of the Mahayana path.  Looking at it like that, the Theravadan path may appear "lesser", but it truly is a very special and unique part of unlocking the greater puzzle.  And reincarnation likely does not occur in such a totally literal, linear way as described in Buddhism, and, while very interesting to think about, is probably best left out of this kind of discussion of attainments for risk of further muddying the waters.

RE: Rebirth of the arhat...
Answer
11/5/19 11:23 PM as a reply to Jake Frankfurt Middenhall.
According to Mahāyāna doctrine, arahants have broken the cycle of uncontrollably recurring rebirth.  They have not, however, completely stopped being reborn.  They take rebirth in pure lands on the basis of a subtle body only, having no emotional obscurations capable of producing a physical body.  Based on this system, completely stopping rebirth is logically impossible.  As soon as a being completely stops producing all karma (through the end of not just emotional , but cognitive obscurations) at realizing buddhahood/omniscience, the momentum of compassion acts as a cause for the continuation of their mind stream.  Hope that helps from a doctrinal point of view.

RE: Rebirth of the arhat...
Answer
11/5/19 11:37 PM as a reply to Noah D.
Noah D:
According to Mahāyāna doctrine, arahants have broken the cycle of uncontrollably recurring rebirth.  They have not, however, completely stopped being reborn.  They take rebirth in pure lands on the basis of a subtle body only, having no emotional obscurations capable of producing a physical body.  Based on this system, completely stopping rebirth is logically impossible.  As soon as a being completely stops producing all karma (through the end of not just emotional , but cognitive obscurations) at realizing buddhahood/omniscience, the momentum of compassion acts as a cause for the continuation of their mind stream.  Hope that helps from a doctrinal point of view.



I find it comforting that compassion continues at least according to one doctrine. Thankyou!

RE: Rebirth of the arhat...
Answer
11/7/19 10:43 AM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
Empty, transient, causal patterns of consciousness, memes, imprints, resonances, themes, consequences, energies, karmic factors and forces, flavors of experiences: these rang on before realization, they ring on now, they will ring on after realization. This is straightforward. None were a separate, individual, continuous self: they never were, never will be. "Rebirth" is just one more empty resonating pattern, texture, flavor, factor, quality, or whatever you wish to call it.

RE: Rebirth of the arhat...
Answer
11/7/19 12:00 PM as a reply to Daniel M. Ingram.
Daniel M. Ingram:
Empty, transient, causal patterns of consciousness, memes, imprints, resonances, themes, consequences, energies, karmic factors and forces, flavors of experiences: these rang on before realization, they ring on now, they will ring on after realization. This is straightforward. None were a separate, individual, continuous self: they never were, never will be. "Rebirth" is just one more empty resonating pattern, texture, flavor, factor, quality, or whatever you wish to call it.
This is it when all is said and done.

The problem with speculating about rebirth from an intellectual point of view is that we unconsciously fall into the pattern of saying "you, this self, will be reborn as so-and-so," rather than taking anatta to heart. The whole point is that this idea of a self who migrates is the very illusion the Arhat is rid of. The thought of posessing a separate self is just another habit carried along in the stream of experience.

If this habit leads to that stream coagulating into a being, there's your rebirth. If not, there's your nirvana. If the idea of selfhood doesn't cause rebirth but compassion does, without selfhood attached, there's your rebirth as a bodhisattva. But at no point were any of these factors part of a separate unit called a self, rather, just tendencies expressing themselves in reality via a temporary being who will live and die. It's not like these tendencies were once a self and then that changes upon enlightenment. They never were, and enlightenment is just when you get the joke. 

Personally, for clarity's sake, I would say with respect to rebirth an Arhat is one who does not get reborn, and if they do out of compassion, that makes them a Bodhisattva. With respect to attainment definitions may be different. Ultimately these things are just names we slap onto phenomena to help us sort out how the processes of experience work. These are things happening right now, not just in a hypothetical future life.

RE: Rebirth of the arhat...
Answer
11/7/19 1:56 PM as a reply to Daniel M. Ingram.
Daniel M. Ingram:
Empty, transient, causal patterns of consciousness, memes, imprints, resonances, themes, consequences, energies, karmic factors and forces, flavors of experiences: these rang on before realization, they ring on now, they will ring on after realization. This is straightforward. None were a separate, individual, continuous self: they never were, never will be. "Rebirth" is just one more empty resonating pattern, texture, flavor, factor, quality, or whatever you wish to call it.

Great! Thanks! That is the answer I was hoping for when I posted a thread with a similar question a while back. It makes much more sense than most other interpretations I have heard and it fits with the experiences I have had so far. 

RE: Rebirth of the arhat...
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11/7/19 10:41 PM as a reply to Matthew.
Matthew:


The problem with speculating about rebirth from an intellectual point of view is that we unconsciously fall into the pattern of saying "you, this self, will be reborn as so-and-so," rather than taking anatta to heart. The whole point is that this idea of a self who migrates is the very illusion the Arhat is rid of. The thought of posessing a separate self is just another habit carried along in the stream of experience.



I'm not sure this is necessarily true.  Buddhism walks the middle road between nihilism and existentialism.  Our unenlightened view of self may not be entirely correct, but that doesn't mean that enlightened awareness entail a total absence of any self type properties, or a complete self erasure.  We, as emotional beings with unique personalities, are in this path in search of happiness, not self destruction.  Enlightenment may seem like a kind of mystical absolute, but it's really not as far from our ordinary experience as we might think. 

RE: Rebirth of the arhat...
Answer
11/9/19 8:01 AM as a reply to T DC.
Thank you, yes, it is important to remember that a lack of selfhood doesn’t mean a lack of individuality or emotional depth. Sorry if I was unclear. 

When the Buddha talks about selfhood, he’s generally talking about the idea of a separate being who owns its own body and mind. His general point is, since the body and mind are subject to interconnected causes and conditions all the way down, you can’t say you own any part of them in an absolute way. But none of this means you can’t set healthy boundaries or have deep emotions. It’s not denying the beautiful, complex system exists. It’s just viewing it without the knee-jerk emotional blinders that come from wanting to clump it all under the label of “separate self.”