My friend is struggling with his meaning of life due to his view as nothing remains after death and people’s births are just random event. So, I tried to persuade him about the existence of rebirth. However, I couldn’t do so even when I used the Name-Form-Consciousness approach of the Dependent Origination . Note that, logically speaking, if he himself experiences his own past lives then matter is solved but he didn’t have such experience. I wonder if anyone here can help to counter his arguments logically or philosophically sound below?
So, he admits that he doesn’t know what goes back beyond his current birth. However, that does not prevent him from explaining his current situation as:
When the embryo develops maturely enough inside the mother’s womb, the consciousness will “emerge” from the physical state of the embryo. (This is a kind of view from Emergent Materialism or Biological Naturalism for anyone who goes into Philosophy of Mind)
Then, this consciousness will in turn cause the other mental factors like Feeling, Perception, Volition, etc. to come into existence.
After that, we can have the usual Name-Form-Consciousness in daily life experience as we have in Buddhism.
But, when the sentient being dies, the physical brain does not have what it takes to support the consciousness. So along with his reasoning: As for birth, Material comes so Consciousness comes. As for death, Material goes so Consciousness goes.
About his thinking that the Consciousness can come from Material alone, does it corresponding to the case of the Gods in the Non-Recipient realm? If that’s the case, his thinking is actually valid from Buddhism’s point of view?
Also, he relates to the case of people (e.g. Martin Pistorius) who wakes up from coma to support his argument that Consciousness can come from Material alone.
I understand that it’s more important to practice than engaging in logical or philosophy discussion but he refuses such practice as redundant because he needs to clear the obstacle about rebirth first to even have a motivation to do practice .