SuttaCentral

Can reincarnation be scientifically proven?


#123

Beliefs are still important I think. Perhaps the two options you gave of belief and witholding judgment are morally equivalent given e.g. the Kalama Sutta. But rejecting rebirth is clearly stated as a wrong view, holding wrong view is an unwholesome mental action (i.e. bad kamma), and unwholesome actions lead to a bad rebirth.

And how is unprincipled and immoral conduct threefold by way of mind? It’s when a certain person is covetous. They covet the wealth and belongings of others: ‘Oh, if only their belongings were mine!’

They have ill will and hateful intentions: ‘May these sentient beings be killed, slaughtered, slain, destroyed, or annihilated!’

They have wrong view. Their perspective is distorted: ‘There’s no meaning in giving, sacrifice, or offerings. There’s no fruit or result of good and bad deeds. There’s no afterlife. There’s no obligation to mother and father. No beings are reborn spontaneously. And there’s no ascetic or brahmin who is well attained and practiced, and who describes the afterlife after realizing it with their own insight.’ This is how unprincipled and immoral conduct is threefold by way of mind.

That’s how unprincipled and immoral conduct is the reason why some sentient beings, when their body breaks up, after death, are reborn in a place of loss, a bad place, the underworld, hell.

-MN 41

I’m quite sure you know all this so this post is meant for more general consumption. :slight_smile:


#124

Love your honesty, but surprised that you somehow justify your irritation/anger. Why bother? Not trying to be a smart ass. But I thought we were instructed by Buddha to examine our own suffering, not that of others who are confused?
Serious Metta


#125

I did not say “XYZ made me angry”. That would be a false statement - blaming others for my emotions. But I think it is correct to say “I am angry about XYZ”. (It’s taken me a while to get to this stage.) To phrase this using the Abhidhamma psychological model, XYZ is the object of consciousness, and the mental factor of ill-will is associated with that moment. So I don’t think my statement is a “justification” of my anger, simply a statement of my experience.

I don’t think it is necessarily useful to keep quiet about such experiences - right speech is the critical factor. In this case it worked out fine - we had a private conversation and then we continued our conversation on good terms.

Would I do better to examine my own suffering, and just let go of my ill-will? - surely that is true. But I am the first to admit that I am not a Buddhist saint. It was actually progress for me to resolve the differences and move on, rather than just leave the thread in a huff.


#126

Serious congratulations on your progression. I was born pissed off so it never occurs to me that other people have a different experience with anger.

This is a thing? I have so much to learn. If I search for this model will it show up? I too nurture grievance, and would appreciate a clearer understanding of how this relates to my defilements. Thanks for your honesty, which allows me the same freedom.

Apparently, I had thought…erroneously…that the method you described-of examining and letting go- was not only optimal but existed as the only option . So I should allow myself to justify anger, and then express it?

I had no idea.
Thank you greenTara for expanding my view. With Metta of course


#127

Directing metta is another option.


#128

Assume I am dense and please explain. I direct Metta to everyone…including you.


#129

Justify? No, I don’t advocate that. Acknowledge, investigate - yes. Express - perhaps :wink: that’s highly dependent on the situation, and what form the expression takes. And metta - yes, especially to oneself.


#130

I occasionally find myself doing metta “at” an individual I am annoyed with (usually, a particular client).


#131

Once again, Tony, it’s interesting to see similar thoughts and reasoning in another member of the community. When I contemplate and try to reason out rebirth, I tend to think of the first law of physics, too, especially that energy cannot be created nor destroyed, only transformed.

However, from there, I tend to infer that awareness cannot be created nor destroyed either, only transformed. That conclusion is based on the the sense that awareness also seems to be a universal element of the universe like energy. And that awareness might be subject to at least some of the same natural laws. That said, seems like there’s a lot of room here to explore and investigate.

with metta,


#132

maybe some day the Science will validate rebirth, although only in an inferential way. Never in an empirical one. Because the issue goes beyond the scope of the nature of scientific knowledge, which has the limitations of a needed -self to exist.

Although after some thousand years, probably everybody can accept the human being should manage different type of knowledges for different issues, instead just one.

The Rebirth issue finally force us to consider the existence from a metaphysical perspective. The best way to confront this possibility of rebirth, is not by thinking in further lives but looking at the very moment. And from here consider the nature of the Reality at the instant, and how oneself and the world both arise in a constant way.

From that constant generation of this World and oneself, the issue of the continuity and death appears just as a natural consequence. As happens with the sleep and the awakening at morning.

The Budda said:
“What is the All? Simply the eye & forms, ear & sounds, nose & aromas, tongue & flavors, body & tactile sensations, intellect & ideas. This, monks, is called the All.”
SN 35.23


#133

@ the Original Post (sorry, unable to read entire thread at this time): is consciousness scientifically proven?

I don’t think it really has been, as it might not be possible for scientific definition to be made.


#134

Trying to put this succinctly :wink: , one cannot have unwavering confidence in the Buddha, his doctrine and also not take on rebirth as a necessary accompaniment. Otherwise, all beings either overcome suffering at death in the annihilationist veiw and the doctrine is false and Gotama a fool; or all beings are rewarded/punished forever after death in the eternalist view. There are few other options.

The mistake I see so often, in my opinion, regarding the Kalama Sutta is that many modern people(particularly Westerners) forget or overlook the fact that he was talking to non-disciples whom were severely confused. Buddha Gotama simply gave them solid advice to proceed forward with. Nothing more. He wasn’t addressing it to monks, nuns or supporters. It is a one-off sutta. Let’s remeber that Buddha Gotama encouraged people to have confidence in his words, practice for themselves and through direct personal experience come to know whether or not he was full-of-it. Now this approach appears FAR MORE often in the suttas. Kalama Sutta only applies to non-Buddhists. How many suttas are monks brought before the Buddha for holding or espousing a wrong view and they basically get reamed, either correct their view or leave the community?

Skeptical doubt is a hinderance and Buddha Gotama wasn’t very “down” with the hinderances, since they are the major obstacles to liberation.

Interesting discussion, but unfortunately a fruitless one.
Much mettā :anjal:


#135

I think it is a mistake to think that, if there is no rebirth, everyone “overcomes suffering” at death. That’s a bleak and stupidly negative understanding of the end of suffering. Yes, you are not suffering any more, but you haven’t overcome or transcended it. There is just no longer any experience of anything: either suffering or liberation.

By the same token, it is a mistake to think that the goal of the Buddha’s path is merely to end suffering in this bleak and wholly negative way after many lifetimes of rebirth. People who are practicing with this wholly negative goal in sight are just suicidally depressed, but think that to commit suicide properly they have to pull the plug not just on their current body, but on the whole rebirth engine.

The Buddha taught a path to the peace and supreme happiness of liberation: the freedom of release from attachment to the illusory realm of birth-and-death, a realm that we cling to and impregnate with the sense of an I inhabiting various stations of being. With release there is perfect bliss, but no subjective experiencing ego in contact with the bliss as an object that ego has acquired.


#136

The Buddha’s path is to acknowledge the problem. And work towards a solution. Not wallow in it. The EBTs say in the face of suffering a person can become bewildered or seek a teacher. The latter is a positive response.

At Savatthī. “Bhikkhus, one who does not know and see as it really is aging-and-death, its origin, its cessation, and the way leading to its cessation, should search for a teacher in order to know this as it really is.

“Bhikkhus, one who does not know and see as it really is birth … existence … clinging … craving … feeling … contact … the six sense bases … name-and-form … consciousness … volitional formations, their origin, their cessation, and the way leading to their cessation, should search for a teacher in order to know this as it really is.” SuttaCentral


#137

On the flip side, it makes sense that someone* who delights in and is attached to experience would think that the end of experience seems wholly negative and even suicidal.

But someone* who isn’t attached to or delights in experience would look at its cessation as ‘only a cessation of suffering’.

* I don’t mean to imply anything about you or me here; maybe you don’t delight in experience and aren’t attached to it. I certainly do delight in and am attached to experience, i.e. I’m not trying imply any attainment or whatever.


#138

The Buddha talked about both the gratification and the danger in everyday experience. It contains pleasures, but is also tainted or defiled everywhere by suffering. The individual is addictively attached to the samsaric realm and so is shackled to the suffering that is inevitable in that realm. The Buddha seems to have set out on path to purify his experience completely from the suffering, to liberate himself from it altogether. He tells us he succeeded. And the texts tell us that once he had succeeded, he spent weeks simply enjoying the bliss of liberation.

For some reason, a part of the Buddhist tradition has from early on not really believed in the pure and untainted bliss of liberation. They think the Buddha didn’t achieve perfect happiness - not even for a few weeks or intermittently. They think he only managed to pull the plug on his long existence, and then spent a few years, in relative calm, teaching others how to pull their own plug while he waited around for his body to break down and the awfulness to end. In my view, such a sad and degraded Buddhist practice isn’t really aiming at nibbana anymore, but at a depressive counter-image of it, and the resulting formation is not functionally different from a suicide cult.

A Buddhism that declines to teach the possibility of true happiness in this very life, and a path to it, doesn’t deserve to be supported.


#139

What ‘part of the Buddhist tradition’ are you referring to here? Is it a particular sect?

Edit: To clarify, ‘a part of the Buddhist tradition’ and ‘they’ are really vague. Who are the people who have these views exactly?


#140

I would say that anybody who doesn’t understand the difference between suffering ending in a state of pure felicity and untainted happiness, and suffering simply ending as a result of the termination of all experience, falls into that category.


#141

Interesting stance. I’ll stop here though since further discussion will probably be a bit off topic to this thread, be well :slight_smile:


#142

The Four Nobel Truths pretty much sums up the outlook and path of Buddha Gotama’s doctrine.

The fundamental core is as @Mat said:

Yeah that is a mistake because it would be wrong view at its finest, but lots of people think that. I fortunately don’t count myself among them.

nibbānaṃ paramaṃ sukhaṃ :grin:

There is no lasting happiness other than the quenching of craving, everything else is dukkha and there is only one path to this goal.

If you don’t take-on for yourself Buddha Gotama’s postition on rebirth with confidence and gain conviction you’ll never even have a chance of attaining sotāpanna, forget full liberation. You’re crippled out-the-gate. You’ve shot yourself in the foot with skeptical doubt. You will be solidifing your place in the saṃsāra mental states in perpetuity. Recalling past lives doesn’t happen at sotāpanna stage, but skeptical doubt is eliminated which includes doubt in the teacher and his doctrine, which relies on rebirth as a core mechanism.

People can hide behind the Kalama Sutta all they want and that’s fine. They just aren’t doing themselves any favors.:anjal: