Secular Buddhists represents scientism

I belief that for a Buddha and others re-birth is not an opinion nor a view, but it is seen directly as truth of life. I think that needs attention.

The idea behind the need for right mundane worldview is, i belief, that without right understanding of this world, one does not think, speak and act in a way which conforms with how life is. That mismatch is the basic of inner conflict. It causes suffering.

So even in a mundane way one really needs right views to not make a mess of life. For example,
If i have the care for animals or humans and have wrong views about what leads to their welbeing, i create a mess. I nead some right understanding, right view to work for their welbeing.

Anyway, I cannot belief the Buddha did not care about mundane views at all because also in a mundane way suffering and the end of suffering, or welbeing and the path to welbeing is connected with right understanding, with right views.

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Yes, but i think…Noble Right View, or the view of a Noble. This is different from the series mundane right views. (MN117).For example, you en I can and might belief in rebirth but that does not mean we have noble right view.

Mundane right views (like there is an afterlife), just like good choices (or meritorious intentional formations), do not lead to the end of suffering. At least that’s how i have understood this.
It does not break the bond with samsara. One can say both merit and demerit are bonds. The bond of the heavenly realms and the bond of lower realms. Results of both are also impermanent. Some texts from Dhammapada (translation Sujato):

One whose mind is uncorrupted,
whose heart is undamaged,
who’s given up right and wrong,
alert, has nothing to fear.

Here one sees that it also talks about giving up right, not only wrong. In my opinion it comes down to seeing that also right or wholesome or moral intentions are not really pure behaviour.
I have also seen an interpretation that ones right views and intentions become really no bond when those are connected with an understanding of anicca, dukkha and anatta. I like the interpretation that what comes straight from your heart, and goes as it were beyond your disposition, does not become a bond. But maybe this is a kind of idealistic and romantic. I like it.

But one living a spiritual life,
who has banished both merit and evil,
who wanders having assessed the world,
is said to be a mendicant.

They’ve given up human bonds,
and gone beyond heavenly bonds;
detached from all attachments:
that’s who I call a brahmin.

Regarding deep states of samadhi. I have understood one does not have to have the ability to enter arupa jhana’s and the cessation of perception and feeling to have noble right view and realise Nibbana.
At this moment i cannot provide the exact sutta.

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@Green ,

The canon is very inconsistent on the role of samadhi. I think that may have a lot to do with what version of self a convert was enamored of.

I think that Brahmins with their belief in an unchanging Atman needed a different technique that would demonstrate impermanence of all five aggregates.

I think the “person in the world” version I picked works best for me as a westerner. SA301 is the Chinese version of the variant I chose and it uses that “person in the world” phrase.

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Hi @Donabedian, thank you for your reply

I must say upfront that your replies to the criticisms from the mentioned 3 types of people are not adequate and not convincing.

  1. For the kings, billionaires: They, by definition, already solved your proposed type of suffering in this life. You don’t understand yet the implication in the definition of this type of people so your argument about “bandage lacks adhesive” is totally missing the point. In this life, their power and wealth, by definition, are guaranteed to solve your proposed type of suffering. You are the one who is silly under their eyes and also a coward without courage to pursue wealth and power to solve the dukkha as you proposed. Their so-called bandage does not lack adhesive at all, it sticks very well until their life ends. Without the rebirth case referring to the next life, you have literally nothing to reply to their criticism. The kings can even execute you for being a pathetic fool and for defying their power.

  2. For the ascetics: They, by definition, already exceeded your proposed way of solving such type of suffering in this life. With their practice, they can abide in such sphere of neither perception nor non-perception without experiencing a slight trouble with your proposed type of suffering until the end of this life. Again, you don’t understand yet the implication in the definition of this type of people so your argument about “fighting another MMA match” is totally missing the point. They, by definition, no need to fight any more match of MMA, they are already uncontested champions who experience very high bliss in this life, until their death. With their practice, they can see their previous lives and also can see your previous lives while you are here denying rebirth. With their practice, they can also read your mind and see clearly that you are still full of fetters while boasting that your way is better than theirs. They also know about the existence that does not require physical body and abiding in that sphere daily while you are asserting that an untrained/unenlightened person goes poof after the physical body is destroyed. Meanwhile, what kind of super power do you have or can show them? You are like a totally naked amateur in front of them while trying to persuade them that your proposed solution is better. Again, without the rebirth case referring to the next life, you have literally nothing to reply to their criticism. The ascetics will look with contempt at your way as an amateur and can even wreak their rage on you for looking down to their practice.

  3. For the common people who use drugs: They, by definition, already thought that they got the better solution for your proposed type of suffering in this life: drug. Their solution is simple, no need to waste time to study and practice as you do. Again, you don’t understand yet the implication in the definition of this type of people so your argument about “not always a reliable solution” is totally missing the point. Their solution works every time, everywhere for everyone. Again, without the rebirth case referring to the next life, you have literally nothing to reply to their criticism. Word of caution: if you displease them while replying to their criticism, they can give you your own jab of lethal drug while yelling “Let me help you firstly to solve your problem of suffering in the much better sure fire way”. You on the other hand, by definition of your proposed solution to such type of suffering, can’t refuse their “help”.

Finally, you missed the Pali text in my post and denied that the Buddha claimed that he is the best in the world (teacher of man and gods, knower of the world, the World-honored one, etc.) when he persuaded all kinds of people. As shown above, without the rebirth case referring to the next life, thinking of persuading these types of people by “eradicating self view in its entirety” as you said, will only bring upon yourself: humiliation, futility and danger. With your limited understanding of rebirth, you are bringing down the Buddha’s teaching to an embarrassing situation when confronting with such criticisms: That is a terrible mistake that deeply affects your spiritual growth, I must tell you so. No one claims being a Buddhist can distort the Buddha’s teaching as such.

Lastly, with metta :pray:, I would like to recommend that you should stop denying right away rebirth and should stop distorting the Buddha’s teaching by saying that he only taught rebirth in psychological sense. Instead, you should remain agnostic on rebirth and refer to your understanding of rebirth as psychological sense as yours alone, NOT of the Buddha.

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I have not ad hominemed anyone and I ask you to retract that accusation.

An ad hominem is when one says another is wrong because they are “x” or “Y” or makes some insult. There is no insulting that has taken place.

Secular humanists include those who would identify as skeptics and those skeptical of religion or religious or supernatural claims. Yes, not all secular people are skeptics. Some are materialists but many are indeed skeptics and not materialists.

The “evidence” for rebirth from the links you cited is not conclusive. You remain fixated and fettered on the view that 1) those children in the studies recall past lives and 2) those past lives were real.

  1. and 2) both may be false.

Those children may instead be hallucinating, creating false memories, or making up stories, much in the same way children do. I have younger cousins and they make up imaginary friends and stories all the time. Those children may have been taught or instructed to say certain things to the researchers by their parents. People, including children and parents, lie all the time for $ and attention.

Or 1-2 may be true, I’ll give you that. I need not cling to one view over the other, then long to get others to accept my view.

Also, I know you want to believe that your hypothesis is correct, but skeptics are not so eager to jump and believe in one hypothesis over others. After all, dozens of people each year claim to be the rebirth/reincarnation of Jesus, Gotama Buddha, and other historical figures. People are always making things up. I’ve encountered people who have said I was such and such in a past life- usually they want something from you.

Here are what some skeptics write about Stevenson.

http://skepdic.com/stevenson.html

One person online who is familiar with Stevenson’s work writes that the strongest argument against his research is the fact that…

“in the vast majority of these cases, the kid was already in contact with the family he was related to in the past life. There are few, if any, instances where people immediately picked up the phone to call him and have him verify the information himself, of course. But it does make it impossible to know for sure what the kid himself remembers, and what he learned while in contact with the family.”

So some kid claims to be the reincarnation of person X, but it’s found out that the kid and the kid’s family is already close to and in contact with the family of person X. That’s a big red flag right there. The family of person X would obviously talk about Person X and all the details would be passed onto the kid.

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Please keep in mind that you all should agree to disagree at some point in your debate.
From our FAQ…

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Hi @Gabriel, thank you for your reply.

I interpret your answer as: you don’t state your personal view about rebirth (in conventional sense, not only psychological sense as Donabedian proposed). However, you still agree that the Buddha himself did teach about problem with rebirth and also how to deal with that problem.

Is my interpretation correct? If not, please rephrase your answer more clearly.

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That is a problem of semantics. A truth is still a view, at the end of the day.

And as pointed out elsewhere, there are early suttas that claim right view is actually holding to no views or doctrines at all, not adopting or putting down any view, being completely detached.

In any case, for all intents and purposes, I believe the ‘rebirth’ of “I” “me” and the self can end in this very life, that is possible to experience it in this very body, that is to say quenching and the state of peace when

"being a thinker, he would put a stop to the whole root of what is called diversification, “I am” " - Snp 4.14

When that occurs no more "me"s or “selves” are reborn or re-arise in the mind of the arahant. There is no more rebecoming in the mind. Those processes have been blown out and the mind is liberated.

Perhaps indeed, this process leads to an end of literal rebirth (if it exists), but if rebirth is understood in terms of the arising of self-concept and identity view, then the literal view is not needed or can be rephrased as.

There are countless beings in whom selves and "I"s arise. There are beings in the past in whom selves and "I"s arose. There will be beings in the future in whom selves and Is will arise. But here, in the mind of arahant, there is no further birth of selves and Is. That process has ended and the self has been blown out.

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Perhaps this should be stickied with each post, but the suttas are a not a homogenous collection and, as a result, one is bound to encounter contradictions. There are suttas where the Buddha is portrayed as claiming he is best in the world and there are suttas where Gotama claims the arahant, the sage, does not engage in that sort of behavior and has abandoned all forms of conceit. Consult the atthakavagga for the emphasis on how the awakened sage does not claim to be better than anyone or equal or lesser than anyone in the world. They don’t engage in those sorts of processes that create rather than quench a self.

  1. Perhaps there is a lack of familiarity with kings or billionaires, but many of them are indeed miserable. They chase sensual highs and pleasures and then crash. Depression is at an all time high in the western, industrialized, wealthy world. Their bandage does indeed lack adhesive, as if it didn’t, they would all be perfectly content. They’re not. They suffer in this very life because they have not put an end to the canker that is “I am”. They have not blown out the self, and allow "me"s and “identity view” to arise again and again. Because they allow "me"s to arise, they begin to crave states of existence. And because they crave states of existence, they suffer.

They worry about what will happen after the body decomposes. They form views about what happens and that causes them anxiety and worry. They are so worried about the future and the next life or lacktherof, that they fail to realize the cessation of suffering and the quenching of self can occur within this very life.

  1. You assume ascetics can abide in that sphere without experiencing trouble. That simply is not always the case. These meditative attainments and states are temporary. If the ascetic can maintain it, they feel relieved, but the moment that ability goes away and they are unable to, suffering resurfaces. I assure you that starving the body like a Jain is not a blissful activity. It is incredibly painful. Let them execute this body, it won’t bring about the cessation of dukkha or help them.

With their practice, they can see their previous lives and also can see your previous lives while you are here denying rebirth.

If one has memories of lives, be real memories or fake memories, if they cling to those lives and say “mine”, they have not put an end to “me-making”. Rebirth/rebecoming is still taking place in their minds, whenever they say this was me or I was this. Memory is a sankhara. When one clings to a sankhara as self, including past self, or as belonging to oneself they have not attained quenching.

The memories, thoughts, feelings, whatever arises in the body are not “one’s memories” or “your memories”. They are inherently selfless, and belong to no one even if they are clung to or claimed as “mine”.

With their practice, they can also read your mind and see clearly that you are still full of fetters while boasting that your way is better than theirs. They also know about the existence that does not require physical body and abiding in that sphere daily while you are asserting that an untrained/unenlightened person goes poof after the physical body is destroyed. Meanwhile, what kind of super power do you have or can show them? You are like a totally naked amateur in front of them while trying to persuade them that your proposed solution is better. Again, without the rebirth case referring to the next life, you have literally nothing to reply to their criticism. The ascetics will look with contempt at your way as an amateur and can even wreak their rage on you for looking down to their practice.

Let them attempt to read minds. The knowledge of what arises in this mind won’t bring them any closer to quenching. It won’t bring them any closer to dukkha’s cessation. I do not crave any super power or state of existence with a superpower. Many crave that, but that craving is not helpful. Instead I point out the arising of self in the mind, in this very life, and the problems it causes. There is no needed to be so fixated on the theory or idea of rebirths in the next life if the self is constantly being reborn and is experiencing becoming and stress and death in this very life. Here. Now.

It’s better to deal with the problems one is facing right now, in the present, than theorize about problems of the future or worry about problems in the past. And the ascetic way of dealing with those problems is flawed, but experience itself is enough of a teacher in this regard.

Let them wreak their rage, it won’t bring them any closer to ending dukkha.

  1. Have you taken drugs? I assure you the solution is not reliable and works everytime. I’ve worked with and befriended addicts. I’ve seen people who are high on this drug or high on that drug. They don’t always experience a “good trip”. Some go mad or suffer anxieties. Others suffer pains or begin seeing things that aren’t there. It’s not always a pleasant experience. It’s incredibly inconsistent. The solution to use drugs to end dukkha is not reliable.

If they are displeased and wish to jab the lethal drug into this body, just know that their act will not bring upon the cessation of dukkha.

Indeed, we have some suttas where Gotama is portrayed as the best in the world, and suttas where Gotama is portrayed as failing to convince people and one who doesn’t boast or create any form of self view “I’m the best or I’m better”, none of that. The sutta pitaka is not the work of a single author.

Let humiliation and futility fall upon me. Praise and humiliation are temporary and should not be craved or feared. If one doesn’t put an end to self view in its entirety, one will never be quenched and experience the state of peace known as quenching.

Samana ORsEnTURVI, I will have to agree to disagree about your appraisal of my spiritual growth or your opinions about what my understanding of rebirth is or your accusations that I distort Gotama’s teaching.

The understanding of rebirth as a psychological process, as a process of me-making, rather than literal comes from my own study of the suttas and practice. Even if both literal and psychological interpretations end up true, the latter is more important than the former for quenching in this life.

Did I deny rebirth? There is a difference between denial and non-adoption of doctrines, dogmas, and views. If you wish to understand the position I hold, I kindly ask you consult the suttas of the atthakavagga. Shaking off views and doctrines, one can focus on ending craving, me-making, and reaching the far shore of peace.

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That’s right. I’m not even myself interested in my personal view about rebirth.

That’s the conclusion from my research so far. The issue of rebirth, aka the first truth, would be the same for most religious professionals in Magadha/Kosala. I can even well imagine that truths 2-3 were not particularly unique, many ascetics were targeting their desires at that time. Truth 4 would be specifically Buddhist, but not something that the Buddha would just teach anyone and everyone.

As I understand it, he wouldn’t tell everyone to end rebirth and the path to it, but only/mostly the talented individuals who then became monastics.

Culturally, I didn’t grow up with the rebirth belief. And I’m not an aspiring monastic. So I don’t see why I should burdon myself with a religious dogma I’m not intrinsically convinced of. And I find the proselytizing mindset irritating - why convince people of one’s ‘truths’? I have no problem with someone interpreting the Buddha’s teaching differently. If they have taken sufficient sources as the base for their interpretation I like when someone comes to a different conclusion.

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I think the Pali Canon should be thought of as the Pali Canons. The problem is that they are presented as one. Its like the Christian Bible. In one gospel Jesus keeps the Old Testament laws and one he does not. They even differ on the day he died. It is a monument to cognitive dissonance that fundamentalist can’t see the contradictions. Proof texting across the many Pali Canons is tricky business.

I often compare it to going to a garage sale and buying a puzzle and discovering someone just dumped pieces from many puzzles into one box. Some people notice that pieces vary in thickness and approximate size and others don’t.

I think subconsciously people realize this and stick to the suttas they think are genuine and just ignore the rest or they jump though hoops to harmonize them. I personally stick to suttas the I think best illuminate the Eightfold Path. I look for consistency and coherence.
That is not to say I disregard the rest. I just treat them differently.

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https://discourse.suttacentral.net/t/secular-buddhists-represents-scientism/23654/59?u=ngxinzhao

I think it’s better to make a new topic for this super long reply, can put like essay category?

I am still halfway through it, so far it’s very good. I doubt if anyone had read it fully, unless they tell you they did. It does addresses a lot of the issues, but too long.

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That reply is an uncredited copy and paste of Ajahn Geoff’s book, which @Tusbuddha did put in a new topic here

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Hi @Donabedian

Suppose you have children. I do not know, but suppose you have. Is that in the end of the day just a view? Is it really questionable, or do you, at that point, begin to deceive yourself and others and become a sceptic, a philosopher? In denial? Lost in concepts, words, phrases, logic, reaonings, an imagined world, escaping reality, evasive by means of reasonings?

I think such reactions are really nonsense and damaging too.

I read Ajahn Mun, a Theravada Thai forest teacher, like the Buddha also had contacts with others beings than humans and animals. For him this was normal. I feel the risk in your way of thinking is that one becomes judgemental and will start doubting all, and at that same time making such persons suspicious. Like they are sick people. Deluded. And like I am the only person who knows what is real and unreal. Like I am the true knowledge-judge. I see this as problematic mentallity. Very conceited, closed fist. I do not say you have, but do you see this too?

Yes, that is called Noble right view and is very different from mundane right views like ‘there i an afterlife’, ‘there are arahant who know this and the other world’, ‘there is kamma and result of kamma’ etc.

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For me this is about letting go. For a deluded mind, a sense of ‘I am’ exist and is based on what is being experienced, and also vice versa. The mind works as a mirror. In the morning you see your own face and the reflection in the mirror confirms ‘I exist’. In the same way there is an inner mirroring. "There are perceptions, so ‘I exist’ and also ’ I exist’ because there are perceptions’. 'There are feelings, so “I exist” and vice versa.

When with progressive cessation reflections of mind cease also progressively, it is not that one ceases progressively too. Impossible! That is our fear rooted in delusion.

But i belief that when the reflections or formations of mind end progressively, one becomes more and more oneself. All what is alien ends. What remains is the mirror without reflections. This is also called the knowing aspect of the mind.

Now one really sees that "this is not mine, this is not me, this is not myself’ in regard to all what is being experienced (all reflections) is not a theory, is not some skillful means, but it is seen as truth now.

But it is very hard to see this truth, Dhamma, because we are so afraid loosing ourselves when mind becomes progressively still, subtle, unburned. We fear it. Really. In a strange way we fear Dhamma, Buddha, Sangha. We fear being unburdened because since time without discernable beginning the burden is felt as Me and mine. We are identitief with the burden, with pain. It is like our sense of existence is most felt when body and mind is burdened.

Therefor, loosing the burden is for us like loosing ourselves.

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I think this is very true. We might differ on the why. I have a naturalistic world view so I see this in evolutionary terms. Conscious organisms in a hostile environment/world do not see the world objectively. Everything is valued in terms of its potential impact on the organism’s ability to survive and pass its genes onto future generations. These values are expressed in terms of shades of pleasant and unpleasant. There is even a mental object representing the organism. We call it a “self”.

Metaphorically speaking, evolution does not want organisms to be happy. It wants organism/selves to survive and pass on their genes. I think that fear we sometimes get when entering samadhi is a defense mechanism to prevent a conscious organism from seeing through the illusion of self in the world. Organisms in a hostile environment cannot afford to be indifferent.

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Yes, in your approach it is not skillfull, wise at all, to to see rupa, vedana, sanna, sankhara and vinnana as not Me and not mine.

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Hi @Donabedian, thank you for your reply.

I really don’t understand why you keep changing the definitions of the 3 types of people in our discussion to suit your own arguments. First time that happens, I can say that it’s because you don’t have the knowledge to understand the definitions. But after the 2nd time, when I have already pointed out explicitly with the bold highlighting in my post, you still attempt to change the definition and go ahead to give arguments for something else totally different. In the case anyone wants to change any definition (to something broader, narrower, etc.) then we need to mutually agree on that first, don’t you think that way should be done for a meaningful discussion?

Because you gave arguments on your own definition of the terms in discussion, I maintain that your replies are off the points.

You are thinking that you are not holding any view but you are actually AT LEAST clinging 4 below views very dearly:

  1. You hold the view that the Buddha taught about rebirth only in a restricted psychological sense.
    Why? Because: when you are under rightful criticism by other people and scholars such as @Gabriel also gave the conclusion of his research, you still cling so much that you can’t let that view go but instead choose to change the definition in the discussion to evade the rightful criticisms.
  2. You hold the view that there is no literal rebirth.
    Why? Because: you have not seen for yourself your own literal death. Instead, you only fantasize such an idea without directly experiencing it. You don’t know the how part, the why part and the why not part.
    For a person who directly sees for himself previous lives through meditation: that person does not hold a view on literal rebirth because he already directly seen it, he understands the how he sees part, the why he sees part and the why others not see part.
    For a person who has faith in the Buddha who taught rebirth in literal sense: that person does not hold a view on literal rebirth because he understands the how he believes part, the why he believes part and the why he believes not part.
  3. You hold the view that you are currently have no view whatsoever when you are hypnotizing yourself with “no-I”, “no-mine”, “no-self”, “no-me making”, “no-I am”, etc.
    Why? Because: you think that approach alone in this life is enough to end rebirth but you forgot that particular knowledge is reserved only at the arahant level. Again, sadly another fantasy from your side that you can fake the arahant level until you make it.
    On the way to your fantasized arahant level, how did you miss the other stages of stream-entry, once returner and non-returner? If you didn’t miss those 3 stages, how did you forget that those 3 stages all involve rebirth?
    So, you are actually only faking the knowledge at the arahant level while you yourself are not even a stream-entry and still miserably lost in the wild ocean.
  4. You are holding the view that “rebirth in conventional sense” and “not-self” are mutually exclusive while they are NOT mutually exclusive.
    Why? Because you are ignoring available sources of knowledge out there to upgrade yourself and you can’t let that view go while you are too busy faking the arahant level.

I repeat for the 2nd and also the last time: I strongly recommend you should remain agnostic on rebirth and refer to your understanding of rebirth only as psychological sense as yours alone, NOT of the Buddha. In that way, you let go of your 1st clinging view and therefore you can work to remove the other 3 clinging views, you will still have the chance to see for yourself the direct knowledge of rebirth through meditation following the Buddha’s teaching.

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Funny, I actually had a similar conversation lately.

The view or statement “I have children” is indeed a view.

It can be broken down. The first component is the generation of self or self concept, manifested in the arising of the I.

The second component is the generation of possession of the concept of possession, manifested in the have.

The third component is the generation of the concept of children. Indeed, the concept of children is still a concept.

The arahant works to end the generation of these concepts in order to bring upon mental tranquility. The thought “I am” does not arise. The arahant does not possess anything or claim as “mine”. And the concept of children are understood to be impermanent sankhara, an abstracted construct that arise and fades in the mind. Abstraction is process by which impermanent phenomena, things, forms etc. are given a sense of separateness, a sense of self or “thing in of itself”, and a name or qualities. The Arahant works to end abstraction, but understands how conventional society is always engaged in it. Indeed, in certain deep states of Samadhi, one may experience an end of abstraction where things feel non-dual, empty even. For example, in those states one could look upon what would be normally called a book but the sense or discernment, that is a book, doesn’t arise or take place. Things feel more “flowey” without strict boundaries to separate some forms from others. I’m sorry if this is difficult to put into words, but it points to the cessation of concepts, words, phrases, etc.

Lost in concepts, words, phrases, logic, reaonings, an imagined world, escaping reality, evasive by means of reasonings? I think such reactions are really nonsense and damaging too.

This isn’t escaping reality, but rather demonstrating how reality is largely in part a constructed process. The goal isn’t to doubt or to affirm, neither to put things down as false or take things up as true but rather to experience the arising and cessation of sankharas, whilst working to quench them.

In that sense, the Therevada monk whose philosophy this resembles is Buddhadasa, who also observes or defines rebirth to be psychological process by which selves/Is are generated rather than a literal process of transmigration. I am less familiar with Ajahn Mun’s teachings.

Indeed, it is possible to interact with the world and what one might abstract as animals or other beings without a sense of "I"s and "you"s beyond what is needed for conventional conversation.

And like I am the only person who knows what is real and unreal. Like I am the true knowledge-judge. I see this as problematic mentallity. Very conceited, closed fist. I do not say you have, but do you see this too?

You are 100% right to see this as a danger. Fortunately it can be remedied by the removal of the I. If one removes the I and I am, who is there to know truth? No one. That process has been blown out.

Yes, that is called Noble right view and is very different from mundane right views like ‘there i an afterlife’, ‘there are arahant who know this and the other world’, ‘there is kamma and result of kamma’ etc.

I think that distinguishment occurs later in buddhist history and evolution and originally wasn’t present. That being said, the arahants obtain knowledge derived from sense faculties, but that knowledge isn’t geared to find out ultimately what exists or what doesn’t exist. Instead one need not even depend upon knowledge or form views based on what is seen, thought, or heard, beyond that which is necessary for quenching.

Interestingly enough, this notion of not forming views based on what is experienced occurs most commonly in the suttas of the sutta nipata, but is less commonly encountered in the Nikayas. There are few historical debates and explanations for this, regarding the evolution in Sramana culture at the time, but I don’t wish to get into them.

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I do not think I am changing the definitions of the 3 types of people. Rather you are making assumptions about those three types of people or holding premises that I reject.

You assume that billionaires and kings, self mortifiers, and drug users are almost always happy and that their solution works for the rest of their life. From experience, we know that is not the case. They suffer terribly, a lot more than you realize. Their solutions don’t work well.

  1. Indeed, unlike an arahant who clings to no views, I do hold views about what Gotama did and did not teach. The focus on rebirth as something taking place post-mortem completely ignores the rebirth and rebecoming that is taking place, now, in the present, here in this very body. It is like me visiting a doctor and instead of the doctor treating my aching broken leg, he tells me he believes I will develop cancer in the far future.

With establishing mindfulness, one can instead see the generation of the self in here and now and work towards its cessation. If one doesn’t, suffering resurfaces. Why worry and theorize and postulate about past and future and future states of existence when you have a problem to be fixed right in front of you.

There is a difference between saying there is no literal rebirth and I do not hold the view, there is literal rebirth.

Right now, there is no need for me to hold the view, there is literal rebirth. I hold enough views as it is, and I don’t need to possess, grasp, or crave to hold more. The only type of rebirth I experience, right now, is purely psychological. It’s enough of a problem to deal with.

If you experience memories, and you conclude or view that those memories are not illusions or fake memories but instead came from other lives, you may arrive at the view you currently do. But if you cling to those memories from other lives as “me or mine”, then not only is literal rebirth taking place but psychological rebirth too.

As the sutta nipata teaches, there are certainly dangers regarding the formation of views with regards to what is seen, heard, or thought. Imagine, for a moment, I heard a sound and say a vision that no one else heard or saw.

I could form any number of views about that sound and vision. That sound could have come from heavenly beings. Or demons. Or aliens. Or that sound and vision could be of the future. Or that sound and vision could be of the past, from a past life. Or that sound and vision could be an illusion, an imagination. Or that sound and vision is from a different dimension or realm. Or that sound and vision could be a memory from a dream.

There are any number of views one may arrive at. Perhaps some views are true and some views are false. But the formation and adoption of views, speculating, pondering, clinging and craving this to be true and that to be false- this does not lead to dukkha’s cessation. Shaking off views and the processes by which one forms views based on what is experienced, one arrives closer to quenching.

  1. I hold the view that arahants have no view. I am not an arahant. I still engage in views, so your characterization of me is wrong. But for those who observed psychological rebecoming and unbecoming the arising and cessation of self, or “I am”, and know the cessation of I am as “peace”, they know that is a goal to spiritually strive towards. I strive towards that.

Many suttas don’t mention or worry about stream winners or non-returners. Brahmins and ascetics ask Gotama how to bring upon quenching, and he teaches them. He doesn’t focus on putting them into categories. He shows them the path.

  1. When one grasps at the khandhas as self and allows for the generation of self to arise, that is rebirth and rebecoming. A self is reborn and it will die. The “me” and “I” and the “self” that is generated will die. And what happens when it dies or fades? Another “me” or “I” is born moments later. Every morning after waking up, the Is and mes resurface and buzz. This process is samsara. It can be observed.

If unfamiliar memories are to be experienced here, I will not cling to them as me or mine. I will not say they are from “My” past lives. That is unskillful and painful me-making. As the sutta nipata suggests, I will not form a view or opinion in light of what is heard, seen, or thought.

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