Rebirth/Reincarnation

Discussion in 'Eastern Religions and Philosophies' started by Nick the Pilot, Dec 6, 2008.

  1. Nick the Pilot

    Nick the Pilot Well-Known Member

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    Earl,

    You said,

    "Some of the more traditional ones discuss fearing being reborn a pig or such."

    --> Not all Buddhist traditions teach the idea of rebirth. All of the forms of Buddhism that do teach the idea of rebirth say that humans can be reborn as animals.

    I believe that people are only reborn as people (not as animals), so I do not concern myself with fears of being reborn as a pig.
     
  2. earl

    earl ?

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    Yeah, when pigs fly.:D earl
     
  3. wil

    wil UNeyeR1

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    Seems that if we came back as animals in the long run it would be for our own good as we need to learn something at that level. Whether it is a survival instinct or to take care of others better, or to be appreciative of circumstances...

    Now for the most part odds are it would be a short lived incarnation and then you could return to climbing the ladder. However come back as a tortoise or whale and it may take you awhile to get back around.

    And of course if you reincarnated as a nonmammal you could live to 400 as a mullosk or 1500 years as a sponge or heaven forbid one ends up a Turritopsis nutricula capable of cycling from a mature adult stage to an immature polyp stage, and back again, indefinitely. This means there is, theoretically, no limit to its life span
     
  4. Snoopy

    Snoopy Active Member

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    I’m sorry if you misunderstood; I thought I had made this point clear in the rest of the post, regarding the four dharma seals. I even put the relevant part in bold....


    s.
     
  5. Snoopy

    Snoopy Active Member

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    Which Buddhist traditions do not teach the idea of rebirth?

    You chose to start this OP in the Eastern Religions and Philosophies sub-forum, rather than the Alternative sub-forum. When you espouse your Theosophical beliefs in the Alternative sub-forum it is not likely to cause any confusion. However when you do so in this sub-forum you may indeed cause confusion, especially for a new reader / poster such as Seeker of Truth who will not be aware of the fact that you are a Theosophist and may incorrectly assume that your views are aligned with Buddhist thinking.

    s.
     
  6. Nick the Pilot

    Nick the Pilot Well-Known Member

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    Snoopy,

    You asked,

    "Which Buddhist traditions do not teach the idea of rebirth?"

    --> I do not have a list, but several do. If I remember correctly, none of the Japanese forms of Buddhism teach the idea of rebirth (which I find to be amazing). I know that the largest Buddhism tradition in Japan, Nishi Honganji (which has millions of members) does not teach the idea of rebirth. My friend, a Nishi Honganji minister, was kind enough to confirm this for me.

    There are many Buddhists who feel very, very strongly that rebirth does not happen. This often turns into a huge argument between Buddhists. In my humble opinion. this one issue has caused more trouble and arguing between Buddhists than any other issue. This whole thing is most unfortunate.

    "You chose to start this OP in the Eastern Religions and Philosophies sub-forum...."

    --> I consider Theosophy to be one of the preeminent Eastern philosophies.

    "...Seeker of Truth ... may incorrectly assume that your views are aligned with Buddhist thinking."

    --> For the most part, they are. I do not think that such an assumption comes from the location of my post. Theosophy is very similar to Buddhism. The way I see it, the idea of reincarnation/rebirth is one of the few differences between Theosophy and Buddhism.

    The difference between rebirth and reincarnation is important. The more people take a look at such ideas, I believe that the more the idea of reinarnation will start to make sense to them.
     
  7. Snoopy

    Snoopy Active Member

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    I am also amazed. What exactly “rebirth” means in various traditions certainly varies – it does not have to mean a belief in being reborn as a pig - but it is fundamental to all Buddhist traditions, including Pure Land and Chan / Zen (the dominant forms of Buddhism in China, Korea, Japan, Taiwan and Vietnam – Wikipedia).


    “Right View
    1) While it is acknowledged that levels of understanding of the Dharma will vary among members, and that all will have their own beliefs about it, certain doctrines such as karma, postmortem rebirth and not-self, are held to be core teachings by all Buddhist traditions. Members are free to privately disagree with these teachings, or to discuss and ask questions about them, but not to debate them, denigrate them, or deny that they were taught by the Buddha.”

    - from the Terms of Service / Board Guidelines of e-Sangha, Buddhist forum.


    Terms of Service



    Whether or not any individual accepts any particular understanding of rebirth is a separate matter to what is understood and taught by a particular tradition or school.

    Similarities are to be expected since Buddhism was clearly trawled over in Theosophy’s creation.

    I disagree. The way I see it, Theosophy is tantamount to defamation of the dharma.

    s.
     
  8. earl

    earl ?

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    You are correct Snoop old pal, rebirth is a fundamental teaching in all Buddhist schools I've heard of. earl
     
  9. TheKhan

    TheKhan All Natural

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    Most Japanese would refrain from coming up to me like that, if you know what I`m talking about. I`d be happy to talk to your Buddhist monk friends about using the word "soul" in English. Invite me to a temple or something.

    If a buddhist used any other word other than "tamashii" or a persons name while speaking Japanese to explain something, noone would know what the heck they`re talking about. I did look up the Chinese word for mind stream and it just seemed like technical buddhist lingo of their definition of what a soul is.

    And what the hell do you know about Shinto either? I come from a Shinto family and I or anyone that I know doesn`t know much about Shinto. If you asked another family they might have totally different traditions from my family Shinto too.

    I`m just talking about common sense and communication skills, with regards to a buddhist not using the word "soul" when explaining something. Besides you seem like someone who`s interested in building walls and barriers than breaking them, you certainly seem to get around though despite that.
     
  10. TheKhan

    TheKhan All Natural

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    OK, some people somewhere might believe in Heaven and Hell. And some may not. I think the argument on whether reincarnation exists or not is no different in that sense to us regular folks.

    But if you look for people(psychics) like this, you might find people worldwide, buddhist or not who actually remember their past lifes. Whether you believe in that or not is another story. I certainly don`t deny or totally believe what they say.

    Personally whether reincarnation exists or not, I`d have to emphasize that ultimately we don`t control this. We might think that we`d lead good lifes as a good sumaritan and still end up as an ant and get squshed, and some people I`ve met, they kind of feel like they were friendly dogs in their past life but I`m not gonna go around saying that. Some dogs may give people the chills too. Some of the most evil people might be reborn as human when we`d rather have them born as something other than human.

    Let me say it again for those with a thick skull. We don`t control reincarnation, so don`t get too caught up in the concept. It doesn`t make an inch of difference.

    In my view its not a central core of buddhism although certainly a major difference from other religions. If it acts as a feromone for some bugs so be it. But thats not the point.

    The point in my view is "Thou shalt not kill(anything)". Some differ in the sense that they say "Thou shalt not murder". Similar, and it conveys a universal theme in all religions roughly 2000 years old with minor exceptions. Amen.

    TK
     
  11. earl

    earl ?

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    TK, at that aforementioned Buddhist online discussion forum I'd previously mentioned I've certainly seen folks asking guidance from other Buddhists what to make of their recall of past lives. Of course, they were simply counseled to deal with it like any memory.:) earl
     
  12. Nick_A

    Nick_A Interfaith Forums

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    I read of this story of the blind turtle in Jacob Needleman's Lost Christianity." He was walking with a Hindu friend and asked why there are so many men walking around if this is true

    The Words of My Perfect Teacher: A ... - Google Book Search

    The friend asked how many "men" he actually saw. Then I knew he was referring to Christian re-birth which is the evolution of fallen man on earth and how rare this Christian re-birth where man becomes himself actually is.

    That is why reincarnation for me is a rare event. It happens as a result of the beginning of conscious evolution which is very rare especially in the West. IMO reincarnation requires acquiring something worth reincarnating which is normally denied to us by earthly pressures
     
  13. earl

    earl ?

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    Well Nick in most schools of thought that embrace rebirth/reincarnation, including Buddhist ones one is reborn/reincarnated not because the individual is found "worthwhile," but because they didn't "get it yet" and got more learnin' to do. In fact, those same schools tend to even think of this realm as a whole lot tougher on one than some others, so it's perhaps a mixed blessing.:D earl
     
  14. Nick_A

    Nick_A Interfaith Forums

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    Earl, everything in the universe is in motion. Everything is either serving the purpose of "involution" or unity into diversity, away from the source or "evolution" or diversity into unity or closer to the source. Just like on earth, if a seed does not begin to grow into what it is capable of it just serves as food for life the earth and creatures that live off of it.

    A seed of the soul then either begins to evolve in the direction of re-birth or disperse into the process of involution.

    If the process of "getting it" provides nutrition for the young seed, it can grow. If getting it becomes imaginary then of course the seed starves and only your personality grows.
     
  15. TheKhan

    TheKhan All Natural

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    Wow, this is interesting..

    I think you struck a point here, I can now see that when you include the Christian(English) definition of rebirth, and try to have a discussion with people who talk about Buddhist reincarnation/rebirth, and even mix up Hindu reincarnation that seems slightly different from Buddhism, we`d have a debate like this.

    I am not an expert but I think buddhists would consider your definition of reincarnation/reborn as some degree of enlightenment in the buddhist definition. Buddhist wouldn`t call it reincarnation or rebirth, and enlightenment is considered rare.

    I have a feeling that Christians would call your definition of reincarnation/reborn differently as well (I would call it an awakening or baptism depending on what you mean, but I probably stand to be corrected ).

    I think it would be hard for someone who does not know Hindu/Buddhism or has a different definition on the word reincarnation/rebirth to agree with you totally.

    I am quite sure you are both talking about the same thing if I understood Nick_A correctly.

    Nick_A, buddhists believe that we are sent back for eternity to "get it" until we get it and there`s heavens and hells somewhere in between, whereas Christians may have not much to say about something other than one lifetime, and heaven and hell. Not much point in discussing who is right, about that.

    I hope I didn`t sound too much of a wise ass but I spend much time between East and West, and am glad to help.
     
  16. Nick_A

    Nick_A Interfaith Forums

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    Hi TK

    You're not being a wise ass at all. You're trying to understand something without being sarcastic, arrogant, or dismissive. Nothing wrong with that.

    I believe that all the sacred traditions beginning with a conscious source that gradually devolve into various societies radiate from the same objective truths. The more it devolves into what we know of as paths, the more they differ. Naturally I try to compare Buddhism and Christianity in ways that would reveal the deeper truths behind how we normally perceive them.

    While Christianity is concerned with one lifetime as pertaining to the Kingdom, The "good seed" is preserved for an eternity as "salvation." Of course it is pursuit of the Kingdom that can result in either heaven or hell. IMO only a few are worth either since the necessary consciousness has not been acquired. How could an automaton be worth either heaven or hell. Heaven is an attribute of consciousness and hell, an attribute of corrupted consciousness that cannot cleanse itself.

    My gut feeling is that Buddhism doesn't deny conscious evolution but rather knows that we won't understand it so it is better to just work on the basics. Probably true.

    My intellectual difficulty with Buddhism deals with as you say getting it. Why are we here to begin with that requires getting it? If once we get it, why would it be any different from the initial reason we are here on this plane of existence?

    So where Buddhism, or at least what is normally eccepted as soul, doesn't exist, it doesn't deny the seed of the soul and its potential but just doesn't want to discuss it.

    Christendom asserts a fully developed soul and Buddhism asserts no soul. My belief is in-between them both and asserts the seed of a soul which answers a lot of questions about human meaning and purpose the others fail to do.
     
  17. Nick the Pilot

    Nick the Pilot Well-Known Member

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    Earl,

    I see that people do not agree with me that some Buddhist traditions do not teach rebirth. Allow me to offer one small piece of evidence to the jury. Here is a quote from a Higashi Honganji webpage.

    Some Common Misconceptions About Buddhism....
    All Buddhists believe in reincarnation.

    "...Shin Buddhists generally treat belief in reincarnation in the same way we treat belief in a god: We don't give it much thought."

    Common Misconceptions About Buddhism

    --> I think what Shin Buddhism is saying is they don't believe in rebirth/reincarnation, and they do not feel they have to be defensive about it. Good for them!

    You said,

    "...in most schools of thought that embrace rebirth/reincarnation, including Buddhist ones one is reborn/reincarnated not because the individual is found "worthwhile," but because they didn't "get it yet" and got more learnin' to do."

    --> I think it is fascinating to consider what causes a person to go through rebirth after rebirth. Many people have an opinion as to what types of changes occur to a person as they go through multiple rebirths. I also find it fascinating to speculate on what conditions finally allow a person to end the cycle of rebirths, and move on to the next level. And, as you probably know, Mahayana Buddhism teaches that some people choose to be reborn even after they are no longer required to be reborn.

    It is good for all of us to pause and consider the issues that face these three groups of people. I think a person evolves to a higher level of consciousness as he or she moves through multiples births. But I suppose some people think that something else is happening.
     
  18. Nick the Pilot

    Nick the Pilot Well-Known Member

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    Nick A,

    You said,

    "Christendom asserts a fully developed soul and Buddhism asserts no soul. My belief is in-between them both and asserts the seed of a soul...."

    --> Boy, you have hit the nail on the head. I agree completely. The purpose of being born is to give us the opportunity to develop and evolve our souls — what other purpose could there be? Souls go through rebirth after rebirth in order to develop. Once they have developed all they can at the human level, they move on to the next level.

    "Why are we here to begin with that requires getting it?"

    --> That is an important question. What is your answer?

    "If once we get it, why would it be any different from the initial reason we are here on this plane of existence?"

    --> Because there is a benefit in developing our souls while we are in human form. There is also a huge difference between an underdeveloped human being and a fully developed human being. Do you disagree?
     
  19. earl

    earl ?

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    I intensively studied Shin not long ago. It is a rather unique approach to Buddhism. Like all Buddhists, they seek enlightenment. But more precisely, they seek a particular form of rebirth- to be "reborn" in Amida's pureland realm upon death. From there and proximity to Amida, enlightenment is said to be assured-not in their current lifetime in the human realm. At least some schools of Tibetan Buddhism speak of various pureland realms oriented to different Buddhas. In other words, these approaches then believe that there are various post-mortem realms of "higher learning" available to beings on a path. Reasonable to speculate any number of realms exist to which one might gravitate upon death dependent upon the degree of "wisdom & compassion" one has developed in human life. earl
     
  20. Joedjr

    Joedjr A Sometimes Member

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    Hi Nick the Pilot,
    Interesting. Armed with my childish insight, this supposes the creation of souls for some purpose. If the soul did not exist, the challenge would not. If the soul and the challenge to it to attain a higher presence were never created, then there would be no explanations for the hardships and suffering of this world. IE: Adam sinned so we get to work the fields and woman have pain in childbirth. If you stay the path through this you will be rewarded. (heaven) Then we have rebirth, "souls go through rebirth after rebirth in order to develop". Again if you stay the path through this you will be rewarded. (next level) So do we have a creator, challenger (G!D) and earthly existence is schooling for some other place, or do we have thoughtful attempts at explaining our existence on this sometimes not so great planet?

    I agree, a good question!
    .02
    Joe
     

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