Rebirth

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  • Jundo
    Treeleaf Founder and Priest
    • Apr 2006
    • 39446

    #31
    Originally posted by HezB
    What's so wrong with being wrong anyway?

    To me Zazen is largely about accepting that we are oh so very wrong.

    If we want 'Right' we should look to gurus who put on a better stage show.

    Regards,

    Harry.
    You're right! :-)
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

    Comment

    • Eika
      Member
      • Sep 2007
      • 806

      #32
      Amen Jundo!

      Seems to me many of these discussions stem from our tendencies to want perfect or omniscient teachers so that we can avoid the messiness of dealing with reality ourselves. Brad Warner wrote something to this effect in Hardcore Zen I think when he said our desire often is to have someone else take responsibility for our lives. Placing unquestioned faith in another's view of something is, in a way, doing that. It relieves us of the responsibility of thinking about difficult things.

      Thanks,
      Bill
      [size=150:m8cet5u6]??[/size:m8cet5u6] We are involved in a life that passes understanding and our highest business is our daily life---John Cage

      Comment

      • paige
        Member
        • Apr 2007
        • 234

        #33
        Originally posted by Mr Walker
        Jundo,
        I think Gudo-san may have misunderstood... "Soul" is not a buddhist concept at all, hence Dogen's answer.

        Whatever.

        Gassho
        W
        I obviously can't speak for Nishijima Roshi. but I have heard a few Buddhist teachers equate the "soul" with the 8th consciousness of the Yogacara. I think that they may not have a very complete understanding of the Judaeo-Christian concept of soul.

        Comment

        • helena
          Member
          • Oct 2007
          • 43

          #34
          Originally posted by Jundo
          So, they are not 'wrong' any more than a poem can be 'wrong'.
          This is the crux of the matter for me. I think many religious text should be read this way, and that the fact that we treat every text as a scientific textbook causes many problems.

          Comment

          • Mr Walker
            Member
            • Oct 2007
            • 29

            #35
            Harry, there you go - we're all Buddhas! And we're Dogen too! Rebirth or not (although the Buddha's are out of the rat race anyway...)

            Gassho
            Walker
            In every walk with nature one receives far more than he seeks.
            - John Muir

            Comment

            • BruceS
              Member
              • Aug 2007
              • 59

              #36
              I'm still debating with myself about rebirth. The one thing I keep coming up against is the bodhisattva vow to not enter final nirvana, and to keep coming back into the world, until all beings are liberated. I understand that a bodhisattva is an enlightened being, and according to the teachings isn't subject to the sufferings ordinary beings are with regard to birth and death and everything in between, but it seems clear that they are "reborn" into the world. Seems to me that this is a central tenant of Mahayana Buddhism.

              OK, so assuming the traditional notion that when a regular being dies and that being's karmic tendencies are reborn in another being, would it be the same for a bodhisattva (ie, that consciousness is not the same, but is not entirely different either from the past life)?

              Despite me telling myself that whether or not I believe in the traditional Buddhist notion of rebirth doesn't matter, I can't stop thinking about it. While some writers say that rebirth isn't discussed in Zen, there seem to be Zen masters who do talk about it in the traditional Buddhist sense.

              I don't mean to obsess over this question as I do believe that what matters is right here, right now - but for the notion of the bodhisattva who vows to keep coming back, that idea being so central to the Mahayana path. Maybe this is just one of those things one has to decide for themselves whether or not they want to believe. I think I'm swinging back to the believer camp.

              Gassho,
              Bruce
              The best thing I ever do is sit and do nothing.

              Comment

              • Mr Walker
                Member
                • Oct 2007
                • 29

                #37
                Thank you Bruce, I'm of the same opinion.
                In every walk with nature one receives far more than he seeks.
                - John Muir

                Comment

                • Rev R
                  Member
                  • Jul 2007
                  • 457

                  #38
                  Hey Bruce,

                  The problem with knowing the truth about rebirth is that none of us are dead. I'm not in a big hurry to test the theory either.

                  You'll come to the conclusion you come to, but here is my current take. If it helps, great. If it doesn't help forget I said anything on the subject.

                  Maybe it's not the bodhisattva him/herself that is being reborn, but rather it is the ideal of the bodhisattva that keeps being reborn generation after generation through people taking the vows and upholding them.

                  Apologies if someone else has said this earlier.

                  Rodney

                  Comment

                  • BruceS
                    Member
                    • Aug 2007
                    • 59

                    #39
                    Hi Rev,
                    Like you said, none of us will know until we're dead, or become a Buddha. How many Buddhas are you absolutely sure you've known. I guess we don't know that either unless we're one of them.

                    I might only question your notion by asking how just the idea of a bodhisattva helps to liberate, to use a Buddhist term, beings? That would seem to me to just be a feel good notion, kinda like Santa Claus. Or, possibly one could think that someone who is compassionate to them in a time of need, or one who is mean to them and makes them have to really use Buddhist principles is a bodhisattva. I don't know mate.

                    Shakyamuni said not to believe him or anyone else without finding out for yourself, but man there's a lot of Buddhism that one seems to have to think about, make some personal judgement on as to reasonability and then just take on faith. Maybe there are higher or more subtle understandings of karma and rebirth, but I've yet to find them described.

                    It's quite clear that what was taught was NOT reincarnation of some eternal self or soul, but that of karmic tendencies. Maybe another notion, not in Buddhist lingo, is that the universe is just a field of potentiality and so is karma. Potentiality emerges from itself and returns to itself (suchness, the void, emptiness just to throw in some lingo), and continues to do so until the potential is exhausted at which point it's just the field.

                    Hell I dunno and it's 0115 here so I have to go to bed and stop thinking. :lol:
                    Gassho,
                    Bruce
                    The best thing I ever do is sit and do nothing.

                    Comment

                    • Gregor
                      Member
                      • Apr 2007
                      • 638

                      #40
                      This is a big question; reincarnation, karma, and enlightenment are such big parts of Buddhism right?

                      Hmmmmm. . . Not really, Just the window dressing in my humble opinion. A little embellishment that has been incorporated by some schools, but not the heart of the practice or the Dharma. It's not even a Buddhist concept, Theravada Buddhism borrowed heavily from the Vedic religions.

                      Even from a viewpoint of a more orthodox Buddhism which seeks to cultivate the four noble truths and the eightfold path, the meaning of Karma and outcome of rebirth are secondary to what we do right now in this moment, in this lifetime.

                      Is rebirth a possibility? Maybe so, but of what importance is it? I'm nostalgic for the mysticism and the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow, sure. But, isn't such end-gaining antithetical to the whole of the dharma?

                      In Buddhist practice we find that the notions of Karma, rebirth, enlightenment are all sort of meaningless, or should I say nothingness?
                      Jukai '09 Dharma Name: Shinko 慎重(Prudent Calm)

                      Comment

                      • Rev R
                        Member
                        • Jul 2007
                        • 457

                        #41
                        Hey Bruce,
                        Since it'll be after sleep when you read this, I hope you slept well.

                        Originally posted by BruceS
                        Like you said, none of us will know until we're dead, or become a Buddha. How many Buddhas are you absolutely sure you've known. I guess we don't know that either unless we're one of them.
                        Well the Buddha on my mantle has been rather silent on the issue.

                        I might only question your notion by asking how just the idea of a bodhisattva helps to liberate, to use a Buddhist term, beings? That would seem to me to just be a feel good notion, kinda like Santa Claus. Or, possibly one could think that someone who is compassionate to them in a time of need, or one who is mean to them and makes them have to really use Buddhist principles is a bodhisattva. I don't know mate.
                        You might be onto something there. Maybe the whole bodhisattva deal is a feel good idea, something to aspire to, something to keep us going when the chips are down.

                        Shakyamuni said not to believe him or anyone else without finding out for yourself, but man there's a lot of Buddhism that one seems to have to think about, make some personal judgement on as to reasonability and then just take on faith. Maybe there are higher or more subtle understandings of karma and rebirth, but I've yet to find them described.
                        Perhaps those concepts are not Buddhism. Perhaps they are Buddhism but they are not the wisdom of the Buddha. 2500 years is a long grapevine with countless teachers and thinkers adding their own opinions to the mix. Perhaps the whole thing is corrupt and we need to start over from the foundation.

                        It's quite clear that what was taught was NOT reincarnation of some eternal self or soul, but that of karmic tendencies. Maybe another notion, not in Buddhist lingo, is that the universe is just a field of potentiality and so is karma. Potentiality emerges from itself and returns to itself (suchness, the void, emptiness just to throw in some lingo), and continues to do so until the potential is exhausted at which point it's just the field.
                        Peanut Butter and Jelly Sandwiches


                        Hell I dunno and it's 0115 here so I have to go to bed and stop thinking. :lol:
                        Sounds like the best place to start to me.

                        Gassho to you as well Bruce

                        Rodney

                        Comment

                        • Jundo
                          Treeleaf Founder and Priest
                          • Apr 2006
                          • 39446

                          #42
                          Hi Bruce,

                          I urge folks to avoid "angels on the head of a pin" arguments. Moreover, I urge folks to avoid magical suppositions in our Buddhist Practice. We "just sit" amid this ordinary world (magical enough for being ordinary). Here are my reasons:

                          I tend to doubt (99.9% doubt, pending any reputable evidence otherwise) imagined mechanisms and fantastic stories without the least bit of scientific backing (I have read some of Matthieu Ricard's writings on these subjects, proposing various 'could be' mechanisms, and I find them strange, fantastic, nonsensical) That does not mean I completely rule out the possibility, merely that I have an extremely strong doubt and, thus, reject the idea based on my present experience.

                          However, ultimately, what someone chooses to believe in ... be it UFO or ESP, Santa Claus or a reincarnating Bodhisattva ... is up to that person. Furthermore, our Zen practice can comfortably accomodate any of that. For example, if UFOs are not real ... just sit Zazen. If UFOs are real ... just sit Zazen as the aliens come to eat us.

                          Originally posted by BruceS
                          I'm still debating with myself about rebirth. The one thing I keep coming up against is the bodhisattva vow to not enter final nirvana, and to keep coming back into the world, until all beings are liberated. I understand that a bodhisattva is an enlightened being, and according to the teachings isn't subject to the sufferings ordinary beings are with regard to birth and death and everything in between, but it seems clear that they are "reborn" into the world. Seems to me that this is a central tenant of Mahayana Buddhism.
                          It is some peoples' belief, some folks' "central tenet". Some people also believe in Feng Shui and Big Foot. It need not be the "central tenet" for other people. It is not mine.

                          Here is a riddle: Is there room in the Buddhist pantheon for a creature that is halfway between Bodhisattva and Buddha? And if so, would she come back to this world sometimes, but at other times never again? Might it only come half way down? If so, which half?

                          As I said, "angels dancing on a pin". I think.

                          Despite me telling myself that whether or not I believe in the traditional Buddhist notion of rebirth doesn't matter, I can't stop thinking about it. While some writers say that rebirth isn't discussed in Zen, there seem to be Zen masters who do talk about it in the traditional Buddhist sense.
                          There are some Zen masters who can add to Zen all kinds of things, some silly and some not. Does Big Foot have Buddha Nature?


                          I don't mean to obsess over this question as I do believe that what matters is right here, right now -
                          There, we can find common ground.

                          Like you said, none of us will know until we're dead, or become a Buddha
                          Personally, I reject the idea of Buddha as a creature who no longer reincarnates. Hey, you know what ... if you mean I can hold off on Buddhahood and have another shot at life, I'LL TAKE LIFE EVERY TIME!

                          However, please don't think, based on the above, that I reject the notion of Buddhas and Bodhisattvas. I solidly believe that, when we realize our Buddhanature, we realize that no being in this world is in need of rescue. From the perspective of the Buddha, the world is perfectly what it is, beyond 'good' 'bad' 'this' 'that' and any separate thing in friction. However, despite that, the Bodhisattva works through compassion to aid those in need of aid. That is my interpretation of Nirvana and Samsara. That is the way in which I truly believe in Buddhas and Bodhisattvas.

                          Please pardon me if my tone becomes a little stronger than usual for ol' Jundo. I never claim that my view is necessarily right while others' views are necessarily wrong. Even so, I challenge hard any aspect of Buddhism that strikes me as silly superstition. Other teachers may teach otherwise, but I teach a Buddhism free of unfounded magic and fantastical creatures ... pending evidence otherwise.

                          This ordinary world, of ordinary men and women, is magic just as it is.

                          Gassho, Jundo
                          ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

                          Comment

                          • Ryumon
                            Member
                            • Apr 2007
                            • 1706

                            #43
                            Thank you, Jundo. I think, again, many of these ideas were either grafted onto Buddhism because of their existence in other traditions (as the Catholic church took the idea of Mariolatry from pagan beliefs), or added later. If we strip Buddism down to its basics, we keep coming back to that one thing: just sit.

                            Kirk
                            ---
                            Ryūmon (Kirk)
                            流文

                            SAT/LAH

                            I know nothing.

                            Comment

                            • Mr Walker
                              Member
                              • Oct 2007
                              • 29

                              #44
                              Guys,
                              Not that I want to change direction here in this interesting thread, but I must say that Buddhism is not just sitting. Ethics is a large part of Buddhism as well, as for instance expressed in the precepts - regardless if we talk about the five basic precepts or the Bodhisattva precepts or whatever. Absolutely essential to Buddhism.

                              At least to me, rebirth is an interesting concept but essential? Not sure. The jury is still out on that one...

                              Gassho
                              Walker
                              In every walk with nature one receives far more than he seeks.
                              - John Muir

                              Comment

                              • Jundo
                                Treeleaf Founder and Priest
                                • Apr 2006
                                • 39446

                                #45
                                Originally posted by Mr Walker
                                Guys,
                                Not that I want to change direction here in this interesting thread, but I must say that Buddhism is not just sitting. Ethics is a large part of Buddhism as well, as for instance expressed in the precepts - regardless if we talk about the five basic precepts or the Bodhisattva precepts or whatever. Absolutely essential to Buddhism.

                                At least to me, rebirth is an interesting concept but essential? Not sure. The jury is still out on that one...

                                Gassho
                                Walker
                                Hi Mr. Walker,

                                I agree with you about the Precepts, and this has been discussed quite a bit recently at other places on this Forum. I think about everyone here agrees on the important of the Precepts. Tomorrow, on 'Sit-a-long with Jundo', I plan to start doing a series of short talks on the Four Noble Truths & the Eightfold Path, the latter closely related to the subject of the Precepts.

                                Read an interesting article in the 2006 Summer issue of Buddhadharma Magazine today stating the the concept of Karma and Reincarnation may have been a convenient mechanism of political and social control, and thus maintained for centuries. Basically, you could convince folks that the reason they are poor while others in society are rich is simply due to the working out of past Karma, while any current anti-social behavior (crime, etc.) would result in some cosmic punishment. Certainly, the '10 Commandments' and 'God's Favor' for some over others were used in Europe to like effect of social control for centuries.

                                Gassho, Jundo
                                ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

                                Comment

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