[quote=“gnlaera, post:1, topic:5547”]alternative interpretations of the terms jāti and maraṇa.
In my reading, what results in alternative interpretations is the definitions of these words ‘jati’ & ‘marana’ in SN 12.2, MN 9, DN 22, etc, include the word ‘beings’ or ‘sattanam’, as follows:
And what, bhikkhus, is birth? The birth of the various beings (sattānaṃ) into the various orders of beings (sattanikāye), their being born, descent into the womb, production, the manifestation of the aggregates, the obtaining of the sense bases. This is called birth.
Now, in the suttas, it appears to primary definition of the word ‘a being’ or ‘satta’ is found in SN 23.2, which does not appear to define ‘a being’ (‘satta’) as a ‘living & breathing organism’ (similar to the Mahayana term ‘sentient being’) but, instead only appears to define ‘a being’ as a psychological state of bound to craving & attachment, as follows:
Any desire, passion, delight, or craving for consciousness, Radha: when one is caught up there, tied up there, one is said to be ‘a being.’ SN 23.2
SN 23.2 then gives a clear metaphor describing ‘a being’ as something built up in the mind:
Just as when boys or girls are playing with little sand castles: as long as they are not free from passion, desire, love, thirst, fever, & craving for those little sand castles, that’s how long they have fun with those sand castles, enjoy them, treasure them, feel possessive of them. But when they become free from passion, desire, love, thirst, fever, & craving for those little sand castles, then they smash them, scatter them, demolish them with their hands or feet and make them unfit for play.
"In the same way, Radha, you too should smash, scatter, & demolish form, and make it unfit for play. Practice for the ending of craving for form
This psychological interpretation appears to also be supported by SN 5.10, for example, which appears to state ‘a being’ is merely a ‘wrong view’:
Why now do you assume ‘a being’?
Mara, is that your speculative view?
This is a heap of sheer formations:
Here no being is found.
“Just as, with an assemblage of parts,
The word ‘chariot’ is used,
So, when the aggregates exist,
There is the convention ‘a being.
Then SN 22.81, for example, also uses the term ‘jati’ to refer to the birth of a psychological ‘self-view’:
… regards form as self. That regarding, bhikkhus, is a formation. That formation—what is its source, what is its origin, from what is it born and produced? When the uninstructed worldling is contacted by a feeling born of ignorance-contact, craving arises: thence that formation is born
Then MN 86, for example, refers to Angulimala’s new social identity & virtuousness as a monk as a ‘jati’:
Angulimala, go to that woman and on arrival say to her, ‘Sister, since I was born I do not recall intentionally killing a living being. Through this truth may there be wellbeing for you, wellbeing for your fetus.’"
“But, lord, wouldn’t that be a lie for me? For I have intentionally killed many living beings.”
“Then in that case, Angulimala, go to that woman and on arrival say to her, ‘Sister, since I was born in the noble birth, I do not recall intentionally killing a living being. Through this truth may there be wellbeing for you, wellbeing for your fetus.’”
Responding, “As you say, lord,” to the Blessed One, Angulimala went to that woman and on arrival said to her, “Sister, since I was born in the noble birth, I do not recall intentionally killing a living being. Through this may there be wellbeing for you, wellbeing for your fetus.” And there was wellbeing for the woman, wellbeing for her fetus.
Then MN 38 gives the impression ‘birth’ & ‘death’ end while the mind is conscious:
On seeing a form with the eye, he does not lust after it if it is pleasing; he does not dislike it if it is unpleasing. He abides with mindfulness of the body established, with an immeasurable mind, and he understands as it actually is the deliverance of mind and deliverance by wisdom wherein those evil unwholesome states cease without remainder. Having thus abandoned favouring and opposing, whatever feeling he feels, whether pleasant or painful or neither-painful-nor-pleasant, he does not delight in that feeling, welcome it, or remain holding to it. As he does not do so, delight in feelings ceases in him. With the cessation of his delight comes cessation of clinging; with the cessation of clinging, cessation of being; with the cessation of being, cessation of birth; with the cessation of birth, ageing and death, sorrow, lamentation, pain, grief, and despair cease. Such is the cessation of this whole mass of suffering.
Then suttas such as MN 140 & Dhp21 state an arahant is not born or does not die:
Bhikkhu, ‘I am’ is a conceiving; ‘I am this’ is a conceiving; ‘I shall be’ is a conceiving; ‘I shall not be’ is a conceiving; ‘I shall be possessed of form’ is a conceiving; ‘I shall be formless’ is a conceiving; ‘I shall be percipient’ is a conceiving; ‘I shall be non-percipient’ is a conceiving; ‘I shall be neither-percipient-nor-non-percipient’ is a conceiving. Conceiving is a disease, conceiving is a tumour, conceiving is a dart. By overcoming all conceivings, bhikkhu, one is called a sage at peace. And the sage at peace is not born, does not age, does not die; he is not shaken and does not yearn. For there is nothing present in him by which he might be born. Not being born, how could he age? Not ageing, how could he die? Not dying, how could he be shaken? Not being shaken, why should he yearn? MN 140
Heedfulness is the path to the Deathless. Heedlessness is the path to death. The heedful die not. The heedless are as if dead already. Dhp21
In my experience, it is sutta interpretation such as above that result in alternative interpretations of the terms jāti and maraṇa.