Discussing and sharing our experiences of rebirth has another couple of benefits, which are related to each other. These are found in the EBTs, and, just as importantly, in the hearts of those who have been writing (and hopefully reading) this thread.
It gives us a chance to have discussions about the Dhamma, it gives us a chance to dwell on the Dhamma because Rebirth is such a crucial, central aspect of the Dhamma.
This in turn fulfills the requirement to deliberately choose to condition ourselves with Right View; in preparation for it being the cause of becoming the Right View of the Stream Winner.
Thus we are creating a View which generally dwells somewhere in the background of our minds, not often thought about or dwelt on, just there, quietly informing how we perceive and think. We continue, for most our time as Buddhist Practitioners, to cultivate metta and mindfulness, present moment awareness. Most of the time we don’t go around worrying about past lives or future lives or 3 life dependent origination or whatever. Most of the time we cultivate kindness and presence and awareness.
But every now and then, it’s good and useful to come together and share like this and also to listen and read the Dhamma. Especially when the contemporary, popular conditioning of the day doesn’t encourage or support us in such endeavours.
For me it’s not about reifing blind belief or hopeful imagination or cosy over-optimism. The Buddha’s teachings on rebirth are too coarse, too frightening, to hair raising for that. So it’s not about a blind faith.
Rather it’s - at least partly - about recognising the various mental gymanastics open to us. One of them, as I’ve mentioned, is conditioning Right View so that when we do die or have a profoundly deep meditation, we have the natural inclination to turn to look at and investigate Rebirth and find out for ourselves; and to make a habit even of this, perhaps even over lifetimes, so that we can have the best possible chance of Enlightenment. Or alternatively, the teaching on Rebirth helps us - as some of you have already pointed to - a deeper understanding of what it means to let go; and thus it prepares you for this in those incredibly important life moments - death and deep meditation.
The other, and certainly not the only other, mental activity where this sort of discussion comes in handy is in the development of a type of faith or confidence which we recognise as a strategy, a mental construct, an emotional tool. Which we can deliberately apply - as if it were an ointment - in our toolkit of skillful means. One which has the capacity to energise and fuel our practice in an extraordinary way. I am sure some of you are feeling this or have felt this while reading some of what has been written in this topic; you know what I mean.
@samseva’s new thread made me think about the story of Dhamma Ruwan and how I first came to find out about it. Dhamma Ruwan, now an adult, is one of the speakers in the Global Conference video I posted on Samseva’s new topic. It’s also interesting to hear what Ajahn Brahm says about his chanting at around the 1 hour mark.
Anyway, this is how I first heard about him:
I happened to be strolling along one evening when I heard this melodious chanting. I got close enough to hear, though indistinctly. I’d never heard the melody before. I closed my eyes and stood still. I suddenly “saw” a temple in Sri Lanka, the ground (which is common in Sri Lankan temples) generously covered in beach sand and the buildings whitewashed. It seemed to be a full moon night - with the moonlight reflecting off the sand and the white buildings. It felt intensely peaceful and pure. And I knew - like I know with certainty that 1 plus 1 is 2 - that what I was seeing was something from a distant past. It was gone in a few moments, but it was so powerful that I feel its echoes now as I write this.
Later I found out that the chanting I was hearing had been done by a little boy of 3 years, who spontaneously chanted in a style that had long, long since dropped out of fashion.