Is rebirth idea of any effect?

Discussion in 'Buddhism' started by Hamid, Dec 22, 2004.

  1. Hamid

    Hamid New Member

    Dec 19, 2004
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    Buddhists and Hinduists believe in rebirth. But as far as I know, they can't answer this question:

    When in your future life you can't remember this life, it doesn't matter what the consequence of your acts are in your future life. you will be born totally a different person with no recall of the past. So why should you do something which you get its result in the next life?

    Without recalling the past lives, the idea of rebirth is useless.
  2. Fayebelle

    Fayebelle Member

    Dec 16, 2004
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    You can notice patterns in your current life that reflect the Karma of a past life.

    Example- People who seem to do nothing at all in this life and yet $ just falls in their lap- you can bet they were extremely charitable in a past life.

    If you work hard at having happy relationships and keep being betrayed- you can bet that you were a betrayer in your past life- Therefore you should double your effort to be trustworthy to negate that negative Karma

    Furthermore- the idea is NOT to set up for a cushy situation in your next life- the idea is to escape Samsara as a result of Enlightenment in THIS life.

    There is no guarantee what type of being you will come back as so you want to reach Enlightenment in this life while you have been blessed w/a human form that can concentrate on the path to Enlightenment.

    Again- I'm new to Buddhism so purhaps someone else can explain this better- but this is the general idea I have gleaned so far. I hope it helps
  3. Vajradhara

    Vajradhara One of Many

    Jul 10, 2003
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    Namaste and Salaam Hamid,

    thank you for the post.

    Sanatan Dharma (Hindu) and Buddha Dharma (Budhdist) do not believe in the same thing. reincarnation is different than rebirth. reincarnation is what the Sanatan Dharma teaches, predicated on the teaching of Atman whereas Buddhism teaches rebirth predicated on the teaching of Anatman.

    so, rebirth and reincarnation are different. reincarnation denotes that there is an unchanging self or soul (mover) that transmigrates from one existence to the next.

    in Buddhism, this is not so. there is no unchanging self or soul (mover) that moves. in Buddhist teachings of rebirth, it is aspects of consciousness that are reborn.

    and therein lies the difference.

    in any case, recollection of past lives is entirely possible. in the Digha Nikaya (The Long Discourses) teachings, Sutta #14 is called Mahapadana Sutta and this Sutta has the Buddha describing some of the previous Buddhas that have arisen and he describes how he has arisen in this fortunate eon as well.
  4. Enkidu

    Enkidu Member

    Jan 30, 2005
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    I think that there is a fundamental misunderstanding implicit in your question. Religions (or spiritual traditions) attempt to provide frameworks for existential questions, which allow you to conduct your life in a meaningful way.

    I guess, if I'm reading what you're asking correctly, that you're saying that if you don't remember past lives, then they are meaningless, therefore the idea of reincarnation is meaningless as it doesn't offer any real guidance to people. You don't see the consequences of your actions, therefore you can do whatever you like, therefore there is no moral compass provided by reincarnation.

    However, my take on this is that you need to step back a bit to see what the doctrine of reincarnation is intended to do.

    Reincarnation is telling you what is fundamentally happening, albeit a step or two removed from your daily direct experience. In most religions, once you get past the surface layer of good/evil, heaven/hell, god/satan, whatever, you get to the insight that 'hell' is separation from God. Reincarnation is an explanation of how, and why, you are separated from God. It also offers a way of rejoining God.

    The ultimate prize in reincarnation is not about creating a better next life, or even doing good deeds; it is to end the separation between 'you' and God. Once you are aware of this separation, then you realise the hollowness of pursuing material ends, whether they manifest in this life or the next; the rewards, the gains, are transitory and unreal.

    By understanding this, and working toward the 'real' goal, you obtain spiritual contentment. In fact, once you understand the real goal, and believe in it, and work towards it, karmic effects and rewards become completely meaningless, as you are effectively operating outside of their bonds.
  5. Awaiting_the_fifth

    Awaiting_the_fifth Where is my mind?

    Mar 30, 2005
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    Even if you know you won't remember your dreams, you still don't want to have nightmares.

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