Reincarnation

Discussion in 'Buddhism' started by intrepidlover, Oct 11, 2010.

  1. intrepidlover

    intrepidlover Melchizedek

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    I know that some Buddhists and probably a larger proportion of Hindus, believe that humans can reincarnate as an animal or even an insect. This information I have got from Buddhists and Hindus who I know personally.

    It seems a strange notion to me, but I would like to know whether this is taught in any schools of Buddhism.
     
  2. Snoopy

    Snoopy Active Member

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    This is the six realms of rebirth, common in Buddhism and often depicted artistically as "the wheel of life." From the bottom up, it goes: hells, animals, ghosts, titans, humans and heavens. In total there are 31 destinations in this office block of life. But since all beings are subject to change, residence at any level is a temporary thing (temporary as in not forever).

    Strange huh? But since all matter and energy is endlessly recycling it's not so crazy is it? I don't worry that if I step on an ant I may have just killed my dear old grand dad. But when he died, his molecules have gone somewhere haven't they? And the ants molecules haven't constituted that ant FOREVER have they? They've always come from somewhere else...


    s.
     
  3. Nick the Pilot

    Nick the Pilot Well-Known Member

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    Intrepid,

    I have encountered this idea in more than form of Buddhism, so I think it is fairly widespread throughout Buddhism. (I do not think humans reincarnate as animals, so this is one point where Buddhism and I disagree.)
     
  4. citizenzen

    citizenzen Custom User Title

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    It might help to think of awareness that exists "outside" (but not outside) the body. This awareness finds expression (at least one way) through life. When I die, this awareness persists and it will find another way to express itself, hence rebirth.

    While we understand that living beings are aware, I suspect that there are more ways for awareness for be expressed. Who knows how many different forms it might take?
     
  5. intrepidlover

    intrepidlover Melchizedek

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    I have come to this forum specifically to learn about Buddhism as I know very little about it. So to me, yes, it is very strange to think a human could reincarnate as an insect.

    Although you have answered the question, the answer doesn't mean much to me as you are apparently assuming I am familiar with certain Buddhist concepts which are in fact quite new to me.

    I do know from some parable of the Buddha that he did not consider insects to be incarnations of humans. There was a group of monks walking about intellectualizing. Buddha chastised them saying: "Do you realize that while you are intellectualizing you were trampling on countless insects?"

    If he considered the insects to possibly be humans I think he would have given a different answer. I think he was just displaying a reverence for all life, no matter how seemingly insignificant.
     
  6. Nick the Pilot

    Nick the Pilot Well-Known Member

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    "I think he was just displaying a reverence for all life, no matter how seemingly insignificant."

    --> I agree.

    "I do know from some parable of the Buddha that he did not consider insects to be incarnations of humans."

    --> I also believe that Buddha did not consider insects to be incarnations of humans, and that this idea was changed by Buddhists after Buddha died. I think you can rest assured that Buddha did not consider insects to be incarnations of humans.
     
  7. intrepidlover

    intrepidlover Melchizedek

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    It seems to me (at this early stage in my study of Buddhism) that huge amounts of dogma have grown up after his death, and I doubt very much that Buddha would have been pleased with this. I think he was very much against dogma.
     
  8. Nick the Pilot

    Nick the Pilot Well-Known Member

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    Intrepid,

    The key issue here is dogma vs. doctrine. (Buddha certainly taught doctrine, for example, reincarnation and karma.) Closed-minded religious leaders want us to blindly believe their dogmas, while other, open-minded religious leaders encourage us to explore their ideas with a critical-thinking mind. I believe Buddha wanted us to have an open mind to what he taught, while later Buddhist leaders took such things and started teaching them in a dogmatic way. (And this has happened in every major religion since.) Have you heard of the Kalama Sutra in Buddhism, which challenges us to have an open mind towards religious doctrine and dogma?
     
  9. citizenzen

    citizenzen Custom User Title

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    It seems to me that this is the problem with any religion.

    They start with an individual's revelation that then becomes institutionalized. The key for any single follower is to focus on the revelation that inspired the religion and not the institution that followed.
     
  10. Nick the Pilot

    Nick the Pilot Well-Known Member

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    CZ,

    I agree. All organized religions eventually become ossified and corrupt. This is why great religious leaders must reappear from time to time, challenge the old religions for being ossified and corrupt, and re-teach the original teachings. Along the same line, members of these old religions must be ready to stand up and confront their religious leaders along these lines. (Sadly, most people are not willing to do this.)

    I believe that 'Jesus' taught reincarnation and karma, and I believe that Buddha taught reincarnation (not the modern Buddhist concept of rebirth). I believe these and other teachings have been intentionally and blasphemously removed from these religions. It is our job to point out (to those people who will listen) that we feel this way about these religions.

    You said,

    "The key for any single follower is to focus on the revelation that inspired the religion and not the institution that followed."

    --> Sadly, I believe that the original texts in many religions (including Christianity and Buddhism) have been re-written, so we cannot depend on the written forms as they exist today to be a source for the 'revelation' that we are looking for.
     
  11. citizenzen

    citizenzen Custom User Title

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    That's okay. All you need to do is become perfectly enlightened.

    Don't worry... you'll know it when it happens.

    Until then, keep trying. :D
     
  12. Bhaktajan II

    Bhaktajan II Hare Krishna Yogi

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    99% of a sentient beings (conscious sense possessing living beings) are using their life in a life-long process of spiritual suicide ---ergo, the Buddhist maxim: Samsara [cycle of birth and death].

    Insects are sentient beings living-off their accumulated karma. All sentient beings are striving for "enjoyment" ---yet sins cause the sentient beings to travel birth after birth among the various species of life inorder to enjoy according to their best suited preferences ---these preferences are often sub-consciously pursued, but will manifest in full-force as a future body.

    At the moment of death the mind goes hay-wire and thus the last thoughts along with accumulated karma will determine the next birth.

    Only Human birth allows for accumulating [or desolving] future karma.

    The karmic-debt that the soul pays for during a birth as a sub-human or even a celestial birth is to re-form and to similarly force the Individual to reconcile the experience that such mundane births allow to experience. These experiences cultivate the desire to live the Good-Life amongst the Higher stratums of Living entities [Hey, "No pain not Gain" is really an absolute maxim].

    Noblesse Oblige is given to the soul that takes finally takes a birth in a Human-Body Species ---to waste it means to spend more future time taking future re-births.

    The First Noble Truth:
    "Life is Sufferring" ---Buddha
    Four Noble Truths - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    In the event of suicide, what reward does the so-called courage of suicide reap for its preformer?

    What is consciousness?
    What is Karma?
    What is Suffering?
    What is real?
    Waht is illusion?
    What are the 24 elements that comprise Cosmic phenomena?
    What is duty?
    What are forbidden action?
    Ahimsa [non-violence] is a prime teaching of the Buddha ---What is it's ramifications?
    Sitting Silent meditation* is a prime teaching of the Buddha ---What is it's ramifications?
    * http://www.interfaith.org/forum/classical-silent-mantra-meditation-12727.html#post227325



    ::::::::::::::::::::::::
    There are 3 checks to verifiy truth:
    1. Guru = a Mentor
    2. Sadhu = a Mentor's contemporaries.
    3. Sastra = Scripture

    these 3 items coorespond to:
    1 A Doctor
    2 A Doctor's National Professional's Association
    3 The Medical Text books.

    These 3 items must be conferred with and any knowledge sought to be verified must be agreed upon by all three parties inorder for something to be a truth.


    The Souls' Hero is the path undertaken to reach salvation.
    Refer to:
    Noble Eightfold Path - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    Refer to:
    Ashtanga-yoga
    Ashtanga Yoga Background
    [FONT=Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif]Ashtanga yoga literally means "eight-limbed yoga," as outlined by the sage Patanjali in the Yoga Sutras. According to Patanjali, the path of internal purification for revealing the Universal Self consists of the following eight spiritual practices:[/FONT]​

    Bhagavad-gita chap 2 verse 29:
    Some look on the soul as amazing, some describe him as amazing, and some hear of him as amazing, while others, even after hearing about him, cannot understand him at all.
     
  13. Snoopy

    Snoopy Active Member

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    I'm sorry about that. :eek:

    If you are interested to find out about rebirth then you are bound to come across these "concepts" such as realms of existence and wheel of life. I was only trying to give you some brief information.

    Your interpretation may be correct but I do not think you can draw this conclusion from the "parable" such as you have said it. Do you have a reference?

    s.
     
  14. intrepidlover

    intrepidlover Melchizedek

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    Alas no. It was many years ago, but one of those things that stuck in my mind.
     
  15. Nick the Pilot

    Nick the Pilot Well-Known Member

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    Intrepid,

    In Buddhism they are not called parables or scriptures, they are called sutras or suttas.
     
  16. intrepidlover

    intrepidlover Melchizedek

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    Are you splitting hairs or trying to educate me?
    One of my favourites is the parable of the raft.

    For what it's worth, you will find more entries at Google if you search for "Parable" than if you search for sutra or sutta in this particular instance.
     
  17. Snoopy

    Snoopy Active Member

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    Perhaps he's taking his cue from you saying "I have come to this forum specifically to learn about Buddhism as I know very little about it." :rolleyes:

    What about the sutta of Jesus turning water into wine??

    s.
     
  18. intrepidlover

    intrepidlover Melchizedek

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    I see it as just semantics -- nothing to make a big fuss about. If the two words mean the same thing, what does it matter which you use?
     
  19. Bhaktajan II

    Bhaktajan II Hare Krishna Yogi

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    Sutra = String

    I carry a sutra in my Back-sack and read it each morning.

    A 'Sutra' [made famous by Buddhists], as I learnt during my career as a kid, was a "Very Short Concise Sanskrit text Booklet" meant for easy memorisation by those 'on the move'.

    [Did I invent the following? Did I read this in 'Black Belt' Magazine? Did I read this in TD Sazuki's books?]: A Monk would assign a Sutra to a warrior as a gift and as means for the Warrior to reflect on the divine whenever the warrior could afford a moment's peace-full refuge ---this was done as an act of compassion by the monk.
     
  20. Vajradhara

    Vajradhara One of Many

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    Namaste all,

    thank you for your OP intrepidlover.

    perhaps you will find this of some interest:

    Fundamentals of Buddhism: Rebirth

    Finally, I would like to distinguish rebirth from transmigration. You may have noticed that in Buddhism, we consistently speak of rebirth and not transmigration. This is because in Buddhism we do not believe in an abiding entity, in a substance that trans-migrates. We do not believe in a self that is reborn. This is why when we explain rebirth, we make use of examples which do not require the transmigration of an essence or a substance. For example, when a sprout is born from a seed, there is no substance that transmigrates. The seed and the sprout are not identical. Similarly, when we light one candle from another candle, no substance travels from one to the other, and yet the first is the cause of the second. When one billiard ball strikes another, there is a continuity, the energy and direction of the first ball is imparted to the second. It is the cause of the second billiard ball moving in a particular direction and at a particular speed. When we step twice into a river, it is not the same river and yet there is continuity, the continuity of cause and effect. So there is rebirth, but not transmigration. There is moral responsibility, but not an independent, permanent self. There is the continuity of cause and effect, but not permanence. I want to end with this point because we will be considering the example of the seed and the sprout, and the example of the flame in an oil lamp next week when we discuss dependent origination. And with the help of the teaching of dependent origination, we will understand better how dependent origination makes moral responsibility and notself compatible.


    i would suggest that one of the main difficulties for understanding the Buddhist teachings is that they are grounded in a radically different ontological paradigm than what is promulgated amongst most beings outside of the Dharma traditions which is to say, in a long winded way, that one needs to have an understanding of the Buddhist philosophical tradition to determine if it is consistent. it is rather like mathematics in that way :)

    metta,

    ~v

     

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