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Re: are karma and rebirth for real? (#p62566)


bySherabDorjeMonOct24,201110:46am

Ethics and morality have a social and historical development. Somebody that is an atheist
and does not believe in an afterlife may have a strong ethical/moral code, but that code
didn't just spring out of nowhere now did it? (well, at the relative level at least)
And if you take a look at countries where the underlying social (and thus moral) and legal
fabric has been destroyed then you can see that punishment and reward (physical or
metaphysical) actually play a major role in human behaviour. I'm not out to clearly define the
effects, just to take them into account.
But this (and the whole argument around rebirth and afterlife) is irrelevant within the
context of the above quoted teaching by the Buddha. Wouldn't you agree?

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Re: are karma and rebirth for real? (#p62569)


byAlexanderSMonOct24,201111:10am

Did you watch the interview on link I put out on NDEs?


Doing your own research on these topics, perhaps in conjunction with some buddhist practice
will open your mind to such things. Also reading about and meeting highly reliased beings
might spark your interest. The existence of siddhi's(supranormal abilities) of course does not
equate that rebirth is true, but it can prove that many people's cynical materialistic view on
reality and the mind, does not correlate with everything we know and experience.
Of course getting clear cut evidence on this is hard, which is why personal experience is
invaluable. I have personally witnessed what we would call a miracle/supernatural event,
which went on for 23 hours right before my own eyes by a great bodhisattva. I have never in
my life witnessed anything, beyond what we usually experience in our mundane lives. Of
course I am just some guy in the internet, so my word probably doesn't mean much.
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Re: are karma and rebirth for real? (#p62571)


byedearlMonOct24,201111:27am

gregkavarnos wrote:
Ethics and morality have a social and historical development. Somebody that is
an atheist and does not believe in an afterlife may have a strong ethical/moral
code, but that code didn't just spring out of nowhere now did it? (well, at the
relative level at least)
And if you take a look at countries where the underlying social (and thus moral)
and legal fabric has been destroyed then you can see that punishment and
reward (physical or metaphysical) actually play a major role in human
behaviour. I'm not out to clearly define the effects, just to take them into
account.
But this (and the whole argument arounf rebirth and afterlife) is irrelevant
within the context of the above quoted teaching by the Buddha. Wouldn't you
agree?

Yes, I agree.
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Re: are karma and rebirth for real? (#p62574)


byedearlMonOct24,201111:49am

AlexanderS wrote:
Did you watch the interview on link I put out on NDEs?

I did watch and responded.

AlexanderS wrote:
Of course I am just some guy in the internet, so my word probably doesn't mean
much.

I try to follow the Right Way, to see things as they are, which means to me I must see (i.e.,
sense) and see (i.e., understand) what I have seen, heard, felt, etc. Though, third person
accounts are often helpful as a guide.
Currently, my inclination is to study Zen, wherein reincarnation is not a pivotal belief.
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Metta
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Re: are karma and rebirth for real? (#p62577)


bySherabDorjeMonOct24,201112:26pm

Currently, my inclination is to study Zen, wherein reincarnation is not a pivotal


belief.

Not pivotal? It's not really pivotal in any system. Right Action though... Now that is pivotal!

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Re: are karma and rebirth for real? (#p62578)


byedearlMonOct24,201112:33pm

gregkavarnos wrote:
Currently, my inclination is to study Zen, wherein reincarnation is not a
pivotal belief.

Not pivotal? It's not really pivotal in any system.

It seems very much encouraged, though.


gregkavarnos wrote:
Right Action though... Now that is pivotal!

Yes!
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Re: are karma and rebirth for real? (#p62625)


byKyosanMonOct24,20118:15pm

gregkavarnos wrote:
Currently, my inclination is to study Zen, wherein reincarnation is not a
pivotal belief.

Not pivotal? It's not really pivotal in any system. Right Action though... Now
that is pivotal!
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I agree with that. Some people say that not believing in reincarnation hinders your Buddhist
practice, but I don't think so. I have never really believed in reincarnation and have made
progress in Buddhism. I don't see any connection at all between the doctrine of emptiness,
which is the essential Buddhist doctrine, and the belief in reincarnation. Understanding
emptiness doesn't dependent on belief in reincarnation. I think that persons who sincerely
practice Buddhism and try to be good and compassionate advance in the way regardless of
whether they believe in reincarnation or not.
In the sutras, you see mention of past lives. Some people might say that you should believe
every word you read in the sutras. Well, I don't take every word literally. Much of it is
metaphorical and part of it may not be true at all. In some people, that might shake their
faith in Buddhism. To me it doesn't, because I understand it well enough that I am convinced
that the essential Buddhist doctrine is of tremendous value. I'm sure that even if I knew for
sure that reincarnation does not happen, that wouldn't shake my faith in Buddhism.

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Re: are karma and rebirth for real? (#p62637)


byDechenNorbuMonOct24,20119:42pm

I think nobody should force himself to believe in anything. It shouldn't work that way and I
have some doubts that such line of action bares good fruit. If we deal with ideas that seems
strange or difficult to accept, we can consider them as working hypothesis or put them in the
shelf until we find important to analyse them. What I don't find productive is dismissing them
without serious reasoning, study and practical investigation. If we recognize our
unenlightened stance and still start picking apart a tradition in order to choose what best
suits our preferences, we risk throwing away the baby with the bath water and losing what
makes it work. Sometimes an honest "I don't know" is enough. And if we don't know, what's
the problem? This is not about beliefs, but about ripening the fruits of Dharma practice.
Beliefs don't cut it. Forcing ourselves to believe doesn't seem to work because we won't act
upon the ideas we forced upon ourselves. Denying them because they contradict another set
of metaphysical beliefs doesn't help either. I think the best to do is going through the hard
work of knowing why such ideas are accepted, which means study, and then hitting the
cushion to really find out.
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Re: are karma and rebirth for real? (#p62643)


byThug4lyfeMonOct24,201110:12pm

Also another point, "doing good deeds" and even following the 5 precepts is the bare
minimum requirement for a human rebirth. Hence it's not a case of you being better than
other people, rather a case of you doing what your suppose to be doing as a human. Everyone
who is doing otherwise are already accumulating junk in their system.

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Re: are karma and rebirth for real? (#p62656)


byKyosanMonOct24,201111:03pm

Dechen Norbu wrote:


I think nobody should force himself to believe in anything.

If we do, we are probably not being honest with ourselves.

Dechen Norbu wrote:


If we deal with ideas that seems strange or difficult to accept, we can consider
them as working hypothesis or put them in the shelf until we find important to
analyse them. What I don't find productive is dismissing them without serious
reasoning, study and practical investigation.

I think it is reasonable to put ideas such as these on the shelf and later you might find good
reason to either believe or disbelieve them. You don't have to believe all the doctrine and
you can still be a good Buddhist. I'm sure there are some people who consider being Buddhist
but reject it because they don't believe in reincarnation. I think that is unfortunate, because
had they become Buddhists, they may have been very good Buddhists and Buddhism may have
been very beneficial to them. It has been very beneficial to me even though I neither believe
nor disbelieve in reincarnation. You might say that they had thrown away the baby with the
bath water by rejecting Buddhism.

Dechen Norbu wrote:


If we recognize our unenlightened stance and still start picking apart a tradition
in order to choose what best suits our preferences, we risk throwing away the
baby with the bath water and losing what makes it work.

I think you are being somewhat condescending which I don't like. If I believed that tradition
should always be followed I wouldn't be a Buddhist, I would be a Christian as I was brought up
to be. I rejected Christianity because what they were saying didn't make sense to me. Now I
am saying that a certain part of the Buddhist doctrine doesn't make sense to me but am not
outright saying it's false. It is not a matter of "preference"; it's what makes sense to us. We all
have to practice the way in a manner that makes sense to us.

Dechen Norbu wrote:


I think the best to do is going through the hard work of knowing why such ideas
are accepted, which means study, and then hitting the cushion to really find
out.

I'm not convinced that the answer will be found that way. And as I said above, I've come
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pretty far in Buddhism without believing in reincarnation, and as far as I can tell that belief is
not essential to Buddhism.

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Re: are karma and rebirth for real? (#p62658)


byKyosanMonOct24,201111:21pm

Food_Eatah wrote:
Also another point, "doing good deeds" and even following the 5 precepts is the
bare minimum requirement for a human rebirth. Hence it's not a case of you
being better than other people, rather a case of you doing what your suppose
to be doing as a human. Everyone who is doing otherwise are already
accumulating junk in their system.

Are you saying that Buddhists who don't believe in reincarnation don't behave well?

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Re: are karma and rebirth for real? (#p62660)


byThug4lyfeMonOct24,201111:52pm

Kyosan wrote:
Food_Eatah wrote:
Also another point, "doing good deeds" and even following the 5
precepts is the bare minimum requirement for a human rebirth. Hence
it's not a case of you being better than other people, rather a case of
you doing what your suppose to be doing as a human. Everyone who is
doing otherwise are already accumulating junk in their system.

Are you saying that Buddhists who don't believe in reincarnation don't behave
well?

I'd say they are definetly more influenced by other people than vice versa.
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Re: are karma and rebirth for real? (#p62662)


byKyosanTueOct25,201112:37am

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byKyosanTueOct25,201112:37am

Food_Eatah wrote:
Kyosan wrote:
Food_Eatah wrote:
Also another point, "doing good deeds" and even following
the 5 precepts is the bare minimum requirement for a
human rebirth. Hence it's not a case of you being better
than other people, rather a case of you doing what your
suppose to be doing as a human. Everyone who is doing
otherwise are already accumulating junk in their system.

Are you saying that Buddhists who don't believe in reincarnation don't
behave well?

I'd say they are definitely more influenced by other people than vice versa.

Certainly desire for a good rebirth will motivate some people, but not everyone needs that
motivation. Some people might be good because they believe it will benefit themselves and
others. Or they might be good because it helps one advance in the dharma. Some might
believe in that part of the Buddhist Dharma (the part that says we should be moral and care
about others) but still not believe in reincarnation.

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Re: are karma and rebirth for real? (#p62664)


byThug4lyfeTueOct25,201112:48am

I failed to see how one can advance in the Dharma when they refuse to believe one of the
most basic teaching of rebirth.
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Re: are karma and rebirth for real? (#p62668)


byDechenNorbuTueOct25,20111:17am

If we do, we are probably not being honest with ourselves.

We lie to ourselves many times, unfortunately. There are reasons for us to act like that, fear
being one among them. The fear of death can lead to denial: people end up needing to
believe in rebirth and actually skipping the part where they should try to understand the
rationale supporting it. As I said above, beliefs don't cut it, but at least if someone acts
morally because of fearing a bad rebirth that's better than nothing, I guess. Still, morality
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based on compassionate wisdom seems more solid, but not all people are alike, so I won't be
judging.

I think it is reasonable to put ideas such as these on the shelf and later you
might find good reason to either believe or disbelieve them. You don't have to
believe all the doctrine and you can still be a good Buddhist. I'm sure there are
some people who consider being Buddhist but reject it because they don't
believe in reincarnation. I think that is unfortunate, because had they become
Buddhists, they may have been very good Buddhists and Buddhism may have
been very beneficial to them. It has been very beneficial to me even though I
neither believe nor disbelieve in reincarnation. You might say that they had
thrown away the baby with the bath water by rejecting Buddhism.

Well... I don't really know what to say to this comment, I mean... what is a good Buddhist? I
think we could find a lot of answers depending to whom we ask. Is it someone who accepts
the doctrine hypocritically? Is it someone who acts with compassion towards the fellow
beings? Is it a mix of both, at some extent? It's hard to define. People need to be honest and
investigate why they think the way they do. When we face new ideas that go against our
preconceived worldview, a clash is to be expected. We need to leave our comfort zone
sooner or later. If we don't, we are kidding ourselves and paying lip service to the teachings.
Of course one can practice while rejecting (yes, rejecting, not simply being agnostic) the
theory of rebirth. That, per se won't be the problem. The problem lies deeper and is
entangled with the whys of such rejection. Now, I assume we shouldn't label others as good or
bad Buddhists. We just need to be honest and admit our discordance with the teachings. I
remember when I encountered Dharma 15 years ago or something, I had to struggle with a
few concepts and ideas. It was a very nice challenge which I embraced gladly. I can say that if
I had swallowed hook, line and sinker without investigating the reasons supporting the
teachings more exotic to my culture, I would have suffered a great loss. It's a bit as it is said:
"great doubts, great realizations; small doubts, small realizations". If we just accept the
teachings blindly, we will miss a lot. We may also end up mistaking the cup with the water.

I think you are being somewhat condescending which I don't like. If I believed
that tradition should always be followed I wouldn't be a Buddhist, I would be a
Christian as I was brought up to be. I rejected Christianity because what they
were saying didn't make sense to me. Now I am saying that a certain part of the
Buddhist doctrine doesn't make sense to me but am not outright saying it's false.
It is not a matter of "preference"; it's what makes sense to us. We all have to
practice the way in a manner that makes sense to us.

Am I? I'm sorry if it sounded that way. It wasn't meant like that. I wasn't talking about you in
particular. I was just speaking of. The thing is, if we start picking apart a tradition according
to our own likes and dislikes, can you imagine what a, let's say, "Paris Hilton" would do to
Dharma?
I doubt it would worth a dirty dime after she was finished with it according to her
own tastes. There are reasons for our experience being samsara. We need to investigate
them. Not always we like what we see and then we go to the first paragraph. People
sometimes lie to themselves. Notice that I am not saying you do. I'm saying it happens.
And you are right, we need to practice in a manner that makes sense to us. But perhaps we
should investigate why there are parts that don't. Some really don't make sense and are more
cultural ornaments than anything else. But we need to be careful before throwing away main
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tenets like rebirth. I don't think it is wise.


Let me tell you why I think this way. It's not a matter of adhering to doctrine or anything like
that. I'm a Dzogchen student, so my own view and practice could be fiercely criticized by
many other schools. A teaching beyond causality? Malediction!
No, my point is that we
should cultivate right view the best we can. This also means not harboring, for instance,
competing metaphysical systems of beliefs, like nihilism. There will come a time when our
practice will be deeply influenced by the view that guided it. If the view isn't constantly
revised and updated, we may end up going astray. Having a nihilist or annihilationist view, for
instance, will seriously hinder one's practice and halting one's progress. This is the reason
where a say we should draw a line somewhere. It's not a matter of judging people as good or
bad Buddhists based in their beliefs. The practitioner himself and himself alone is responsible
for his path. So it's up to him.

I'm not convinced that the answer will be found that way. And as I said above,
I've come pretty far in Buddhism without believing in reincarnation, and as far
as I can tell that belief is not essential to Buddhism.

Well, in Buddhism we talk about rebirth and not reincarnation. It's a crucial difference right
there. Reincarnation assumes that there is a self, which is permanent, going from one body
to the other and so on. That would be eternalism, the opposite of nihilism and an extreme
we should avoid.
The answer, definitively, can only be found that way, through practice. Every other option,
so far, is no more than speculation or hearsay. Now, we can choose to believe people we take
as honest, but that's up to each practitioner. To know for sure, there's only one way and that
way is practice. Of course you are not sure about it, otherwise we wouldn't be having this
pleasant conversation!

Best wishes!
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Re: are karma and rebirth for real? (#p62669)


bycoldmountainTueOct25,20111:29am

Food_Eatah wrote:
I failed to see how one can advance in the Dharma when they refuse to believe
one of the most basic teaching of rebirth.

This may be more or less true, I don't know, since I can't say I've advanced very far in the
Dharma. But the problem here is with your idea that somehow people just 'refuse' to believe
in the teaching of rebirth. That's the same line of thought that other religious sects use.
Belief is not a choice. You're either convinced of something or you're not. I can't make myself
believe in rebirth. The best I can do is remain open to the possibility. I don't reject rebirth, I
can only confess the truth that it at this point presents itself as rather fantastic to my
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sensibilities.
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Re: are karma and rebirth for real? (#p62670)


bycatmoonTueOct25,20111:30am

Food_Eatah wrote:
I failed to see how one can advance in the Dharma when they refuse to believe
one of the most basic teaching of rebirth.

It's simple. There are many things that come before faith in Buddhism. Kindness. Wisdom. The
eightfold path. Eventually the rebirth issue might become a roadblock, but there is enough in
Buddhsim to keep people busy for years before they come to it.
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Re: are karma and rebirth for real? (#p62672)


byJosefTueOct25,20111:33am

coldmountain wrote:
Food_Eatah wrote:
I failed to see how one can advance in the Dharma when they refuse to
believe one of the most basic teaching of rebirth.

But the problem here is with your idea that somehow people just 'refuse' to
believe in the teaching of rebirth.

Thats exactly what they do.


They cling to their refusal/denial of rebirth a thousand times harder than any Buddhist clings
to the rebirth teachings.
No rebirth, no Buddhism, and you know what? Thats totally ok. Not everyone has to be a
Buddhist, but if you dont accept the teachings on karma and rebirth (which are far more
rational than a single life theory) then you are absolutely not a Buddhist.
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Re: are karma and rebirth for real? (#p62673)


byJosefTueOct25,20111:33am

catmoon wrote:
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Food_Eatah wrote:
I failed to see how one can advance in the Dharma when they refuse to
believe one of the most basic teaching of rebirth.

It's simple. There are many things that come before faith in Buddhism.
Kindness. Wisdom. The eightfold path. Eventually the rebirth issue might
become a roadblock, but there is enough in Buddhsim to keep people busy for
years before they come to it.

Kindness and wisdom are not exclusive to Buddhism and you are not following the eightfold
path if you deny rebirth.
Denying rebirth is definitely wrong view.
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Re: are karma and rebirth for real? (#p62674)


byJosefTueOct25,20111:36am

edearl wrote:
Currently, my inclination is to study Zen, wherein reincarnation is not a pivotal
belief.
Metta

Maybe in Americanized Zen, which barely resembles Buddhism.


Dogen would disagree with this rebirth is optional approach that we so often encounter in
American "Zen".
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20111:37am,edited1timeintotal.
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