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I was just wondering what peoples thoughts are on reincarnation. Do you believe in it? How do you think it works. I've always held this believe a little bit, but I'm not sure.

 

Just looking for imput.

 

Mousie

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My humble opinion, no such thing.

 

We've discussed this here before, do a search.

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Yep, I remember a thread, I think in Lion's Den, about this.

 

Have to say I don't really buy into it. I think when you die that's all there is.

 

But, if after you die something does happen then all bets are off and then, sure, why not? Going onto this path though why would I want reincarnation? My afterlife is whatever I want it to be then and so it's going to have to be something great (better than what anyone's come up with so far...I'm just not sure what that is myself).

 

mwc

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I was just wondering what peoples thoughts are on reincarnation. Do you believe in it? How do you think it works. I've always held this believe a little bit, but I'm not sure.

 

Just looking for imput.

 

Mousie

 

Mousie, I think reincarnation is a wonderful "what if." We are able to learn so little in our brief stay here. Imagine, to quote John Lennon, if our "core essence" or "soul" or "consciousness" or "whatever" returns again and again. That would mean that I have been here through the centuries and I have been male, female, transgender, gay, straight, rich, poor, master, slave, Jew, Gentile, Buddhist, Muslim, Atheist, Black, White, etc. I know all the languages of the world and have lived through so much history. I think it's a terrific idea. The historian in me loves the concept.

 

I also think it would mean that we would have to lay down our prejudices about "others." If we have been the "other" in a past life or might be the "other" in a next life, prejudice would make no sense at all. I also think we would have to lay down our anger at others, since we may have been the other just one life ago. The White man today may have been a slave in 1845 and the Black man today may have been his master.

 

Reincarnation also would rid us of the question about those who do not even hear the name Jesus. If reincarnation is so, perhaps we just keep coming back until we find union with God, a salvific union. Then we've learned all we can in the life and move on to another planet or time continuum?

 

Of course all of this is speculation so let me quote Oscar Wilde: "Not that I agree with everything that I have said in this essay. There is much with which I entirely disagree."

 

While I don't "accept" reincarnation as true, I think it's a lovely idea.

 

Probably everyone here knows the name Brian Weiss. He's a graduate of Columbia University and Yale Medical School and former Chairman of Psychiatry at the Mount Sinai Medical Center in Miami. He certainly has the academic credentials to be given the time of day. He has written several books about past-life regression, etc. Here's a link to Brian Weiss's home page.

 

-CC in MA

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Reincarnation would require a "soul." But since there can be no such thing as a "soul," reincarnation cannot exist.

 

Probably everyone here knows the name Brian Weiss. He's a graduate of Columbia University and Yale Medical School and former Chairman of Psychiatry at the Mount Sinai Medical Center in Miami. He certainly has the academic credentials to be given the time of day. He has written several books about past-life regression, etc. Here's a link to Brian Weiss's home page.

 

As an Australian, I wouldn't know him from a bar of soap. I read through his website, what a load of *#@$^. I would suspect that he is intelligent enough to tell the time himself. Academic credentials mean nothing. If he WANTS to believe it, he will believe it and he will try to convince others that he is right.

 

Here's another of the same ilk - http://paranormal.about.com/library/blstory_january04_10.htm

and another - http://aliensandchildren.org/InterviewwithProf.htm

and another - http://www.psychics.co.uk/realghostpictures/

and another - http://www.lochness.co.uk/fan_club/thisyr.html

 

And it wouldn't be complete without every Xtians favourite - http://paranormal.about.com/od/iconsthatweep/

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I find the idea of reincarnation beginning from very much the same place as believing there is another life with streets of gold that people walk on after death. A human desire to understand what happens to our conscious mind after we are physically no more. Since there is nothing in this world that tells us about these ideas, i.e., we don't find blobs of protoplasm on top of graves where the departed minds ascended from their temporal husks, the only source of knowledge of these things comes from human imagination and speculation.

 

All tales of afterlives have only one source, man's mind. From there, man's emotions kick in and he looks for conformation of what has emotional appeal to him. He then takes the "revelations" of others about these "places" as a form of special knowledge by special people who in the past were assumed to be crossing over to these "realms (as opposed to today where we recognize it differently and prescribe medication).

 

Culture spreads these appealing “revelations” of the “afterworld” by their mystics to others, who themselves report experiences of special knowledge of these "realms", which then serves as a self-reinforcing belief system, whose actual origins began back in the desires and imaginations of humans. Each culture has these same truths about the "afterworlds", with their respective gods and leaders standing there for them to help them "pass over".

 

Religion is a self-reinforcing system of beliefs born out of speculation, whose continued power in people's life is dependent on the absence of critical examination. This theme is repeated regularly in the praise of faith over reason.

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I think that there is a general misunderstanding of reincarnation. It is not suppose to be something to look forward to. It is something to get out of. The extinguishment of the self is the goal. If anything reincarnation is analogous to Hell, not to Heaven.

 

Fortunately for us all, death is extinguishment -- Nirvana. You don't have to fight for it, 'cause it is part of life. Everyone gets it on the first try.

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I think that there is a general misunderstanding of reincarnation. It is not suppose to be something to look forward to. It is something to get out of. The extinguishment of the self is the goal. If anything reincarnation is analogous to Hell, not to Heaven.

 

Fortunately for us all, death is extinguishment -- Nirvana. You don't have to fight for it, 'cause it is part of life. Everyone gets it on the first try.

 

That is indeed true. Interesting that in Hindu and Buddhist religions escaping the cycle of reincarnation is the goal, yet I think for many Westerners, perhaps fearing that death is it and having it so well here (compared to the rest of the world), reincarnation is a hoped-for event. Definitely a different perspective that that of the traditional adherents of the idea.

 

-CC in MA

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I think that there is a general misunderstanding of reincarnation. It is not suppose to be something to look forward to. It is something to get out of. The extinguishment of the self is the goal. If anything reincarnation is analogous to Hell, not to Heaven.

 

Fortunately for us all, death is extinguishment -- Nirvana. You don't have to fight for it, 'cause it is part of life. Everyone gets it on the first try.

 

That is indeed true. Interesting that in Hindu and Buddhist religions escaping the cycle of reincarnation is the goal, yet I think for many Westerners, perhaps fearing that death is it and having it so well here (compared to the rest of the world), reincarnation is a hoped-for event. Definitely a different perspective that that of the traditional adherents of the idea.

 

As an ordained Zen priest, I often lecture on this very topic.

 

BUDDHISTS DO NOT BELIEVE IN REINCARNATION.

 

"Religious" Buddhism (Pure land, Vajrayana....etc) believes in REBIRTH (punarbhava) of the consciousness. It's NOT reincarnation. And only "religious" Buddhists "believe" in supernatural things like rebirth.

 

Anyhow, the Buddha was reflecting on the worldview of his time. In common with Indian tradition, he maintained that the aim of life is to attain freedom from the anguished cycle of compulsive rebirth. This view has been endorsed by subsequent generations of "religious" Buddhists. The Buddha found the prevailing Indian view of rebirth sufficient as a basis for his ethical teaching. Why change an already accepted belief if it can be used to expound your teachings? It is still there to colour the teachings, to add a mythical flavour.

 

Subsequently, "religious" Buddhism stated erroneously that denial of rebirth would undermine that basis of ethical responsibility and the need for morality in society.

 

Similar fears were expressed at the time of the Enlightenment by the Christian churches, who feared that loss of faith in heaven and hell would lead to rampant immorality.One of the great realisations of the Enlightenment was that an atheist could be just as moral a person as a believer.

 

It is claimed by "religious" Buddhists that one cannot be Buddhist if one does not accept the doctrine of rebirth. But if we follow the Buddha's own teaching to not accept things blindly, then orthodoxy should not stand in the way of forming our own understanding.

 

In accepting the prevailing Indian belief in rebirth, the Buddha set up his own paradox. Central to the teachings of Buddhism is the idea that there is no intrinsic self to be found through analysis or realised in meditation. Our deep-seated sense of personal identity is a fiction. So how does this square with rebirth, which necessarily entails the existence of something that not only survives the death of the body and brain but somehow traverses the space between a corpse and a fertilised ovum?

 

The idea of rebirth is meaningful in "religious" Buddhism only in that it provides a vehicle for the key Indian metaphysical doctrine of actions and their results - karma. While the Buddha accepted the idea of karma as he accepted the idea of rebirth, when questioned on the issue he emphasised its psychological rather than its accepted cosmological implications. "Karma is intention," He said. A movement of the mind that occurs each time we think, speak or act. By being mindful of this process, we come to understand how intentions lead to habitual patterns of behaviour, which in turn affect the quality of our experience.

 

In contrast to what has become accepted by "religious" Buddhists, the Buddha taught that karma alone was NOT sufficient to explain the origin of individual experience.

 

Al the ideas we entertain of heaven and hell or cycles of samsara (rebirth) serve to replace the unknown with an image of what is already known. To cling to the idea of rebirth deadens questioning.

 

When we die we are dead, dead, dead. We do not come back.

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I think that there is a general misunderstanding of reincarnation. It is not suppose to be something to look forward to. It is something to get out of. The extinguishment of the self is the goal. If anything reincarnation is analogous to Hell, not to Heaven.

 

Fortunately for us all, death is extinguishment -- Nirvana. You don't have to fight for it, 'cause it is part of life. Everyone gets it on the first try.

 

That is indeed true. Interesting that in Hindu and Buddhist religions escaping the cycle of reincarnation is the goal, yet I think for many Westerners, perhaps fearing that death is it and having it so well here (compared to the rest of the world), reincarnation is a hoped-for event. Definitely a different perspective that that of the traditional adherents of the idea.

 

As an ordained Zen priest, I often lecture on this very topic.

 

BUDDHISTS DO NOT BELIEVE IN REINCARNATION.

 

"Religious" Buddhism (Pure land, Vajrayana....etc) believes in REBIRTH (punarbhava) of the consciousness. It's NOT reincarnation. And only "religious" Buddhists "believe" in supernatural things like rebirth.

 

Anyhow, the Buddha was reflecting on the worldview of his time. In common with Indian tradition, he maintained that the aim of life is to attain freedom from the anguished cycle of compulsive rebirth. This view has been endorsed by subsequent generations of "religious" Buddhists. The Buddha found the prevailing Indian view of rebirth sufficient as a basis for his ethical teaching. Why change an already accepted belief if it can be used to expound your teachings? It is still there to colour the teachings, to add a mythical flavour.

 

Subsequently, "religious" Buddhism stated erroneously that denial of rebirth would undermine that basis of ethical responsibility and the need for morality in society.

 

Similar fears were expressed at the time of the Enlightenment by the Christian churches, who feared that loss of faith in heaven and hell would lead to rampant immorality.One of the great realisations of the Enlightenment was that an atheist could be just as moral a person as a believer.

 

It is claimed by "religious" Buddhists that one cannot be Buddhist if one does not accept the doctrine of rebirth. But if we follow the Buddha's own teaching to not accept things blindly, then orthodoxy should not stand in the way of forming our own understanding.

 

In accepting the prevailing Indian belief in rebirth, the Buddha set up his own paradox. Central to the teachings of Buddhism is the idea that there is no intrinsic self to be found through analysis or realised in meditation. Our deep-seated sense of personal identity is a fiction. So how does this square with rebirth, which necessarily entails the existence of something that not only survives the death of the body and brain but somehow traverses the space between a corpse and a fertilised ovum?

 

The idea of rebirth is meaningful in "religious" Buddhism only in that it provides a vehicle for the key Indian metaphysical doctrine of actions and their results - karma. While the Buddha accepted the idea of karma as he accepted the idea of rebirth, when questioned on the issue he emphasised its psychological rather than its accepted cosmological implications. "Karma is intention," He said. A movement of the mind that occurs each time we think, speak or act. By being mindful of this process, we come to understand how intentions lead to habitual patterns of behaviour, which in turn affect the quality of our experience.

 

In contrast to what has become accepted by "religious" Buddhists, the Buddha taught that karma alone was NOT sufficient to explain the origin of individual experience.

 

Al the ideas we entertain of heaven and hell or cycles of samsara (rebirth) serve to replace the unknown with an image of what is already known. To cling to the idea of rebirth deadens questioning.

 

When we die we are dead, dead, dead. We do not come back.

 

I enjoyed reading this essay -- twice, actually. Still not sure I followed it well -- not because it's not well written, but because some of the ideas are unfamiliar to me so there was a lot of new learned required on my part.

 

May I ask a few questions for clarification:

 

1. What is the difference between rebirth and reincarnation?

 

2. I know, or I think I know, that there are two major "schools" of Buddhism: Mahayana and Theravada. Mahayana is more "religious," with Buddha elevated to a godlike status, etc. Yes? Do those of that school believe that something about us goes somewhere at death, or do they believe that all that we are is material and all that we are ceases to be when the body ceases to be? How does the Theraveda branch view the effect of death?

 

3. When you write that "when we die we are dead, dead, dead," is that your view, the view of one or both of the branches of Buddhism, or a combination of the two?

 

Thanks so much, if you get the time, for answering these questions. It's very interesting.

 

-CC in MA

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My family and I have had experiences that could be taken as pointing to the reality of reincarnation. I once believed in the Western version of reincarnation, but now I am skeptical of it. I hold out some slim hope that it might be true, but I emphasize slim since I lack belief in a soul. The only hope that I see is that life is energy and energy can neither be created or destroyed. It just changes form, which would be reincarnation. But, I could be wrong in my thinking, of course.

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All life ends eventually. That includes us.

 

At the outset, returning to nonexistence is most unpalatable. It is, however the correct answer. IMO.

 

The article below addresses "past life regressions" and other drivel espoused by "spiritual" folk.

 

 

Mind-brain dependence as two-fold support for atheism

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I enjoyed reading this essay -- twice, actually. Still not sure I followed it well -- not because it's not well written, but because some of the ideas are unfamiliar to me so there was a lot of new learned required on my part.

 

May I ask a few questions for clarification:

 

1. What is the difference between rebirth and reincarnation?

 

2. I know, or I think I know, that there are two major "schools" of Buddhism: Mahayana and Theravada. Mahayana is more "religious," with Buddha elevated to a godlike status, etc. Yes? Do those of that school believe that something about us goes somewhere at death, or do they believe that all that we are is material and all that we are ceases to be when the body ceases to be? How does the Theraveda branch view the effect of death?

 

3. When you write that "when we die we are dead, dead, dead," is that your view, the view of one or both of the branches of Buddhism, or a combination of the two?

 

Thanks so much, if you get the time, for answering these questions. It's very interesting.

 

I can't speak for Jun, and I won't pretend to. But he is correct. Buddhism does not have a teaching about reincarnation. No school will teach reincarnation.

 

Rebirth is different in many important but subtle ways. I'll try to give an example -- it will be a bad one but you'll have to bear with me. Imagine a cart made out of wood. A man may use this cart for many months until one day a rock slide on the road destroys the cart and leaves him stranded. He takes the bits of wood from the cart and builds a fire. The fire heats his meal and gives him strength. That strength gives him the ability to get to help. And he later goes on to perform many other actions. The cart is reborn several times here... first as fire, then as strength and then as the further dependent actions of the man. Wow, that's a shitty story. But rebirth is like that... it's the dependent arisings of previous states. And it happens to all the different parts that make up a being differently (imagine the cart had metal nails which were melted down to make a pail to bring water to people after the man had left it... the cart would be reborn as a pail as well as being reborn in the actions of the man). This is a hard thing to explain.

 

Rebirth is impossible to ignore and happens every moment of every day. Your mind, body, senses, etc. are reborn into a new form dependent on previous action. But unlike reincarnation, there is no "you" that stays constant and can be tracked. In the story with the man, there was no cart there inside him as he performed further actions which were only possible because of the cart's previous rebirth. Each part and action goes on to further impact the world but none of it is "you". There is rebirth and a continuation of what you have done in your life but you are gone.

 

And when I say it happens every moment... that is because things you do are reborn even while your "self" continues. If I am having a bad day and someone comes to talk to me and I am short tempered with them... that action might be reborn later as they mistreat someone else because of the mood I have put them in. It's all about dependent arisings.

 

As to which branch teaches this, you'll find it present in both (and the other offshoots). Not all schools of Buddhism teach rebirth as a complete ending of consciousness (mind) but those that do aren't limited to Theravada or to Mahayana.

 

I can't speak for Jun and what he meant with the "dead dead dead" comment but there is no "we" in Buddhism to continue to exist. So in essence I believe he was sharing a very universal Buddhist teaching that the "self" as you imagined it is no more.

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What is the difference between rebirth and reincarnation?

 

Reincarnation implies that there is an unbroken continuity of existence between lifespans, i.e., that the same person (however defined) was formerly a particular person and is now a different person (with the possibility of there being memories from the past life).

 

Rebirth, as I understand it in "religious" Buddhism, implies that the remaining impure collections of skandhas reform consciousness into a new form. No possibility of there being a "memory."

 

There goes Tibetan Buddhist beliefs. :rolleyes:

 

I know, or I think I know, that there are two major "schools" of Buddhism: Mahayana and Theravada.

 

There are in fact three - Theravada, Mahayana and Vayrayana. Vajrayana is secret and magical, dealing with esoteric incantaions. Arguably it is a magical offshoot of Mahayana to some, but is so distinct that it can be considered another branch. Theravada is the oldest surviving and original school. And then there's Mahayana.

 

Mahayana is more "religious," with Buddha elevated to a godlike status, etc. Yes?

 

Yes, and no. It could be argued that Theravada is more religious in its strict adherence to scripture and rites. Zen is a branch of Mahayana, and is the furthest from "religion" one could get.

 

What you describe is what I term "religious" Buddhism. If you travel to China, Japan, Tibet, or any Asian country, you will encounter temples that look just like churches or abbeys, being run by monks and priests, and revering statues. THIS IS NOT BUDDHISM. This is the reduction of the teachings into a "religion."

 

It is this "religiousity" that the school I practice has been trying to stamp out for more than 400 years now. A return to the original teachings.

 

Do those of that school believe that something about us goes somewhere at death, or do they believe that all that we are is material and all that we are ceases to be when the body ceases to be? How does the Theravada branch view the effect of death?

 

Zen is a branch of Mahayana, and I've stated the teachings of my school above.

 

Actually, it's not all that clear cut. Different traditions have practiced differently over the last 2,500 years, often altering their views about what the Buddha taught and which parts to emphasise. The three schools weren't all that distinct in the first 800 years or so either, with many practicing both forms. Even today, there are practitioners who practice several forms and refuse to be swayed by the "religious" doctines and influences that have crept in.

 

I might add here that what we call "Buddhsim" is not a strict dogam or set method of practice. It is able to adapt and adopt as necessary the beliefs of the individual. As it has spread throughout the world it has absorbed some folk-beliefs, religious beliefs, and cultural trappings. It is often hard to see where cultural trappings end and the bare bones teachings of the Buddha start.

 

Rituals, ceremonies and foreign outfits are inevitable but they cannot express the heart of what the Buddha taught.

 

There are four forms of Buddism - 1) "Religious" Buddhism (which my teacher prefers to call "Bastardised Buddhism") 2) Buddhism as a destructive cult 3) Buddhism as little more than a phillosophy to be studied in college and 4) the original unadulterated teachings.

 

Like all pursuits of man, even Buddhism is open to corruption and missrepresentation, and missunderstandings.

 

When you write that "when we die we are dead, dead, dead," is that your view, the view of one or both of the branches of Buddhism, or a combination of the two?

 

It is the view of Zen Buddhism, and the original teaching of the Buddha.

 

I can't speak for Jun and what he meant with the "dead dead dead" comment but there is no "we" in Buddhism to continue to exist. So in essence I believe he was sharing a very universal Buddhist teaching that the "self" as you imagined it is no more.

 

:goodjob:

 

Rebirth is different in many important but subtle ways. I'll try to give an example -- it will be a bad one but you'll have to bear with me. Imagine a cart made out of wood. A man may use this cart for many months until one day a rock slide on the road destroys the cart and leaves him stranded. He takes the bits of wood from the cart and builds a fire. The fire heats his meal and gives him strength. That strength gives him the ability to get to help. And he later goes on to perform many other actions. The cart is reborn several times here... first as fire, then as strength and then as the further dependent actions of the man. Wow, that's a shitty story. But rebirth is like that... it's the dependent arisings of previous states. And it happens to all the different parts that make up a being differently (imagine the cart had metal nails which were melted down to make a pail to bring water to people after the man had left it... the cart would be reborn as a pail as well as being reborn in the actions of the man). This is a hard thing to explain.

 

Very well put.

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I can't speak for Jun, and I won't pretend to. But he is correct. Buddhism does not have a teaching about reincarnation. No school will teach reincarnation.

 

Rebirth is different in many important but subtle ways. I'll try to give an example -- it will be a bad one but you'll have to bear with me. Imagine a cart made out of wood. A man may use this cart for many months until one day a rock slide on the road destroys the cart and leaves him stranded. He takes the bits of wood from the cart and builds a fire. The fire heats his meal and gives him strength. That strength gives him the ability to get to help. And he later goes on to perform many other actions. The cart is reborn several times here... first as fire, then as strength and then as the further dependent actions of the man. Wow, that's a shitty story. But rebirth is like that... it's the dependent arisings of previous states. And it happens to all the different parts that make up a being differently (imagine the cart had metal nails which were melted down to make a pail to bring water to people after the man had left it... the cart would be reborn as a pail as well as being reborn in the actions of the man). This is a hard thing to explain.

 

Rebirth is impossible to ignore and happens every moment of every day. Your mind, body, senses, etc. are reborn into a new form dependent on previous action. But unlike reincarnation, there is no "you" that stays constant and can be tracked. In the story with the man, there was no cart there inside him as he performed further actions which were only possible because of the cart's previous rebirth. Each part and action goes on to further impact the world but none of it is "you". There is rebirth and a continuation of what you have done in your life but you are gone.

 

And when I say it happens every moment... that is because things you do are reborn even while your "self" continues. If I am having a bad day and someone comes to talk to me and I am short tempered with them... that action might be reborn later as they mistreat someone else because of the mood I have put them in. It's all about dependent arisings.

 

As to which branch teaches this, you'll find it present in both (and the other offshoots). Not all schools of Buddhism teach rebirth as a complete ending of consciousness (mind) but those that do aren't limited to Theravada or to Mahayana.

 

I can't speak for Jun and what he meant with the "dead dead dead" comment but there is no "we" in Buddhism to continue to exist. So in essence I believe he was sharing a very universal Buddhist teaching that the "self" as you imagined it is no more.

 

Thank you, fallenleaf, for taking the time to respond with such an easy-to-get explanation of the differences between rebirth and reincarnation. I got it! Your cart story was a great parable. Loved it. Rebirth, as you expressed it, is quite a powerful teaching, and especially your application to everyday life -- paying it forward, so to speak, with our actions/thoughts/attitudes.

 

I really appreciate your words. Let me read them again before I submit this. (I have read them again and no further question arises!)

 

-CC in MA

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Reincarnation implies that there is an unbroken continuity of existence between lifespans, i.e., that the same person (however defined) was formerly a particular person and is now a different person (with the possibility of there being memories from the past life).

 

Rebirth, as I understand it in "religious" Buddhism, implies that the remaining impure collections of skandhas reform consciousness into a new form. No possibility of there being a "memory."

 

There goes Tibetan Buddhist beliefs. :rolleyes:

 

I know, or I think I know, that there are two major "schools" of Buddhism: Mahayana and Theravada.

 

There are in fact three - Theravada, Mahayana and Vayrayana. Vajrayana is secret and magical, dealing with esoteric incantaions. Arguably it is a magical offshoot of Mahayana to some, but is so distinct that it can be considered another branch. Theravada is the oldest surviving and original school. And then there's Mahayana.

 

Mahayana is more "religious," with Buddha elevated to a godlike status, etc. Yes?

 

Yes, and no. It could be argued that Theravada is more religious in its strict adherence to scripture and rites. Zen is a branch of Mahayana, and is the furthest from "religion" one could get.

 

What you describe is what I term "religious" Buddhism. If you travel to China, Japan, Tibet, or any Asian country, you will encounter temples that look just like churches or abbeys, being run by monks and priests, and revering statues. THIS IS NOT BUDDHISM. This is the reduction of the teachings into a "religion."

 

It is this "religiousity" that the school I practice has been trying to stamp out for more than 400 years now. A return to the original teachings.

 

Do those of that school believe that something about us goes somewhere at death, or do they believe that all that we are is material and all that we are ceases to be when the body ceases to be? How does the Theravada branch view the effect of death?

 

Zen is a branch of Mahayana, and I've stated the teachings of my school above.

 

Actually, it's not all that clear cut. Different traditions have practiced differently over the last 2,500 years, often altering their views about what the Buddha taught and which parts to emphasise. The three schools weren't all that distinct in the first 800 years or so either, with many practicing both forms. Even today, there are practitioners who practice several forms and refuse to be swayed by the "religious" doctines and influences that have crept in.

 

I might add here that what we call "Buddhsim" is not a strict dogam or set method of practice. It is able to adapt and adopt as necessary the beliefs of the individual. As it has spread throughout the world it has absorbed some folk-beliefs, religious beliefs, and cultural trappings. It is often hard to see where cultural trappings end and the bare bones teachings of the Buddha start.

 

Rituals, ceremonies and foreign outfits are inevitable but they cannot express the heart of what the Buddha taught.

 

There are four forms of Buddism - 1) "Religious" Buddhism (which my teacher prefers to call "Bastardised Buddhism") 2) Buddhism as a destructive cult 3) Buddhism as little more than a phillosophy to be studied in college and 4) the original unadulterated teachings.

 

Like all pursuits of man, even Buddhism is open to corruption and missrepresentation, and missunderstandings.

 

When you write that "when we die we are dead, dead, dead," is that your view, the view of one or both of the branches of Buddhism, or a combination of the two?

 

It is the view of Zen Buddhism, and the original teaching of the Buddha.

 

I can't speak for Jun and what he meant with the "dead dead dead" comment but there is no "we" in Buddhism to continue to exist. So in essence I believe he was sharing a very universal Buddhist teaching that the "self" as you imagined it is no more.

 

:goodjob:

 

Rebirth is different in many important but subtle ways. I'll try to give an example -- it will be a bad one but you'll have to bear with me. Imagine a cart made out of wood. A man may use this cart for many months until one day a rock slide on the road destroys the cart and leaves him stranded. He takes the bits of wood from the cart and builds a fire. The fire heats his meal and gives him strength. That strength gives him the ability to get to help. And he later goes on to perform many other actions. The cart is reborn several times here... first as fire, then as strength and then as the further dependent actions of the man. Wow, that's a shitty story. But rebirth is like that... it's the dependent arisings of previous states. And it happens to all the different parts that make up a being differently (imagine the cart had metal nails which were melted down to make a pail to bring water to people after the man had left it... the cart would be reborn as a pail as well as being reborn in the actions of the man). This is a hard thing to explain.

 

Very well put.

 

Thank, Jun, so much for your time. I really enjoyed reading your lecture (in the best sense of that word). It's interesting (and very normal) that we take original teachings and add to them our culture, our religion, our beliefs, etc. and the original teaching is reborn (so to speak) as something altogether new. As you know, the same happened to the teachings of Jesus. Would he recognize himself suspended from a crucifix in a modern cathedral? WWJD?!

 

So Zen Buddhism is a reform movement seeking to restore the original teachings of the Buddha, which were not religious (in terms of spirits, souls, gods, etc.), but philosophical, mindful, awake. (I've always loved the story about Buddha being quizzed as to if he were a god, an angel, a spirit, and he answered quite simply that he was none of these things: "I am ... awake.")

 

Is your ex-timony on this forum somewhere, Jun. I'd like to read it.

 

-CC in MA

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Thank, Jun, so much for your time. I really enjoyed reading your lecture (in the best sense of that word). It's interesting (and very normal) that we take original teachings and add to them our culture, our religion, our beliefs, etc. and the original teaching is reborn (so to speak) as something altogether new. As you know, the same happened to the teachings of Jesus. Would he recognize himself suspended from a crucifix in a modern cathedral? WWJD?!

 

Is your ex-timony on this forum somewhere, Jun. I'd like to read it.

 

Thank you for your kind words.

 

I will be blunt and admit that I don't believe that a "Jesus" ever actually existed, and that I sincerely believe that the teachings of "Jesus" are gleaned from various earlier sources, some of which are still extant today in their original form. The bible in my opinion is nothing more than the adoption of earlier pagan gods and their teachings.

 

My brief "ex-timony" here http://www.ex-christian.net/index.php?showtopic=11295

 

So Zen Buddhism is a reform movement seeking to restore the original teachings of the Buddha, which were not religious (in terms of spirits, souls, gods, etc.), but philosophical, mindful, awake. (I've always loved the story about Buddha being quizzed as to if he were a god, an angel, a spirit, and he answered quite simply that he was none of these things: "I am ... awake.")

 

Er, no. Zen itself is not a reform movement. I suppose I should have worded my post properly, I was however pressed for time when I posted that. You have however sumed up generally what Zen is about - not religious (in terms of spirits, souls, gods, etc.), but philosophical, mindful, awake.

 

Where the European term "Buddhism" suggests another belief system, another -ism, the Buddha preferred "Dharma pratice" to refer to what he taught (And all through Asia "Buddhism" as a term doesn't exist). Dharma practice suggests a course of action, the four ennobling truths are not commandments or propositions to believe, they are challenges to act. Zen is action.

 

Zen provides a way of living in the moment, in every moment. Zen does not require you to believe anything, or to wear funny costumes or speak another language. It only requires that you notice all around you, be attentive, and know what you are doing in a full and conscious manner.

 

Some general background here - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zen - 90% accurate, but not complete, I have contributed to the history section on this page.

 

The Zen tradition that I practice is I suppose what you called a "reform movement."

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Thank you for the link to your ex-timony. I read it and all the posts that followed it. So sorry for the attack against you. Can't imagine how terrible that would be. Sorry too that medical science was given no credit for bringing you through and that God was given the blame for the attack.

 

Do you believe that the Buddha was a literal flesh-and-blood person? What about the Dhammapada, which I love to read...is it in your view an authentic representation of the fundamental teachings of the Buddha?

 

Let me read the link to wikipedia and get back to you with any questions.

 

Many thanks.

 

CC in MA

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........medical science was given no credit for bringing you through and that God was given the blame for the attack.

 

Actually it was assumed that I would never recover, so medical science had already given up. And as for "God" being blamed, it's the Catholic way - if shit happens to you, you deserved it.

 

Do you believe that the Buddha was a literal flesh-and-blood person? What about the Dhammapada, which I love to read...is it in your view an authentic representation of the fundamental teachings of the Buddha?

 

There is some evidence outside of Buddhist scripture to indicate that the Buddha may have been a prince of the Shakya tribe. Whether or not he existed as a real person I don't know, and it doesn't matter. It is not the life and personality of the Buddha which is important, it is his teachings. Dharma (the teachings of Buddhism) exist regardless of whether there was a Buddha. The Buddha discovered and shared the teachings. He is neither the creator of such teachings nor the prophet of an almighty "God" to transmit such teachings.

 

As for the Dharmapada, it is a text. Zen is not concerned with textual theories or methodologies. No dependence upon letters or words is a common teaching in Zen.

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Hi Jun,

 

What's your view of the Buddha, the Gospel? Does it fairly accurately represent the teachings of the Buddha? I visited it from a link in wikipedia and found it very nice. Here's a good lesson form it, a lesson that transcends all religions and is compatible with the core of all religions/wisdom traditions:

 

AVOIDING THE TEN EVILS

 

THE Buddha said: "All acts of living creatures become bad by ten things, and by avoiding the ten things they become good. There are three evils of the body, four evils of the tongue, and three evils of the mind.

 

"The evils of the body are, murder, theft, and adultery; of the tongue, lying, slander, abuse, and idle talk; of the mind, covetousness, hatred, and error.

 

"I exhort you to avoid the ten evils: 1. Kill not, but have regard for life. 2. Steal not, neither do ye rob; but help everybody to be master of the fruits of his labor. 3. Abstain from impurity, and lead a life of chastity. 4. Lie not, but be truthful. Speak the truth with discretion, fearlessly and in a loving heart. 5. Invent not evil reports, neither do ye repeat them. Carp not, but look for the good sides of your fellow-beings, so that ye may with sincerity defend them against their enemies. 6. Swear not, but speak decently and with dignity. 7. Waste not the time with gossip, but speak to the purpose or keep silence. 8. Covet not, nor envy, but rejoice at the fortunes of other people. 9. Cleanse your heart of malice and cherish no hatred, not even against your enemies; but embrace all living beings with kindness. 10. Free your mind of ignorance and be anxious to learn the truth, especially in the one thing that is needful, lest you fall a prey either to scepticism or to errors. Scepticism will make you indifferent and errors will lead you astray, so that you shall not find the noble path that leads to life eternal."

 

-CC in MA

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........medical science was given no credit for bringing you through and that God was given the blame for the attack.

 

Actually it was assumed that I would never recover, so medical science had already given up. And as for "God" being blamed, it's the Catholic way - if shit happens to you, you deserved it.

 

Do you believe that the Buddha was a literal flesh-and-blood person? What about the Dhammapada, which I love to read...is it in your view an authentic representation of the fundamental teachings of the Buddha?

 

There is some evidence outside of Buddhist scripture to indicate that the Buddha may have been a prince of the Shakya tribe. Whether or not he existed as a real person I don't know, and it doesn't matter. It is not the life and personality of the Buddha which is important, it is his teachings. Dharma (the teachings of Buddhism) exist regardless of whether there was a Buddha. The Buddha discovered and shared the teachings. He is neither the creator of such teachings nor the prophet of an almighty "God" to transmit such teachings.

 

As for the Dharmapada, it is a text. Zen is not concerned with textual theories or methodologies. No dependence upon letters or words is a common teaching in Zen.

 

Thanks!

 

-CC in MA

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What's your view of the Buddha, the Gospel? Does it fairly accurately represent the teachings of the Buddha? I visited it from a link in wikipedia and found it very nice. Here's a good lesson form it, a lesson that transcends all religions and is compatible with the core of all religions/wisdom traditions:

 

That text seems to have a slight Christian bent to it in regards to writing style. Buddhism as a whole transcends religions and is compatible with all of man's endeavours. Unlike Christianity the teachings of the Buddha are grounded in reality. It is not pie in the sky, or wishful thinking, or denial of what human life is. There's no attempt to cover up, to gloss over, or to reinterpret the facts. The Buddha warned strongly against blind faith and encouraged the way of truthful inquiry.

 

These are the 10 prohibitive precepts of Zen Buddhism which I am encouraged to uphold -

The Ten Prohibitive Precepts:

 

1. Do not take life unnecessarily.

 

2. Do not steal others' property.

 

3. Do not misuse sexuality.

 

4. Do not tell lies.

 

5. Do not use intoxicating drinks excessively, nor use narcotics.

 

6. Avoid speaking of other people's faults or shortcomings.

 

7. Do not praise yourself and blame others.

 

8. Do not begrudge giving charity, material or spiritual.

 

9. Do not harbour anger or ill will.

 

10. Do not speak ill of or abuse the Three Treasures.

 

 

 

It is the taking and upholding of these 10 prohibitive precepts that makes me Buddhist, this is it, the nuts-and-bolts of the entire teachings. Nothing mystical or otherwordly about it. Plain and simple. I'm sure a good many Atheists on this very board do their utmost to uphold these very same values. It has nothing to do with "religion."

 

But how many can actually live their entire lives adhering to these 10 simple precepts?

 

And I think we have gone far enough with redirecting this post away from it's original question.

Reincarnation - doesn't happen. When you die, you die. Dead as a dodo. Kaput. Dust.

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I think the notion of reincarnation is incoherent. What makes you "you" is the stream of experiences which in memory forms a narrative of a life and a self. Even if we imagine there is some spiritual substance that survives the death of the body and later goes into another body, the memory and mind of the new person (or creature) will be a stream of new experiences unique to that person alone. So that will be a second person. The soul without memory of a lifetime is not a person; if it retains that memory and life narrative in its mind, then why isn't it uniformly carried forward from the past life into the new one? If my memory, mind, etc. are totally erased, and I wake up and start all over again, it's not meaningful to say it's the same person, even if in the same body. So much the more across a supposed gap between bodies.

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What's your view of the Buddha, the Gospel? Does it fairly accurately represent the teachings of the Buddha? I visited it from a link in wikipedia and found it very nice. Here's a good lesson form it, a lesson that transcends all religions and is compatible with the core of all religions/wisdom traditions:

 

That text seems to have a slight Christian bent to it in regards to writing style. Buddhism as a whole transcends religions and is compatible with all of man's endeavours. Unlike Christianity the teachings of the Buddha are grounded in reality. It is not pie in the sky, or wishful thinking, or denial of what human life is. There's no attempt to cover up, to gloss over, or to reinterpret the facts. The Buddha warned strongly against blind faith and encouraged the way of truthful inquiry.

 

These are the 10 prohibitive precepts of Zen Buddhism which I am encouraged to uphold -

The Ten Prohibitive Precepts:

 

1. Do not take life unnecessarily.

 

2. Do not steal others' property.

 

3. Do not misuse sexuality.

 

4. Do not tell lies.

 

5. Do not use intoxicating drinks excessively, nor use narcotics.

 

6. Avoid speaking of other people's faults or shortcomings.

 

7. Do not praise yourself and blame others.

 

8. Do not begrudge giving charity, material or spiritual.

 

9. Do not harbour anger or ill will.

 

10. Do not speak ill of or abuse the Three Treasures.

 

 

 

It is the taking and upholding of these 10 prohibitive precepts that makes me Buddhist, this is it, the nuts-and-bolts of the entire teachings. Nothing mystical or otherwordly about it. Plain and simple. I'm sure a good many Atheists on this very board do their utmost to uphold these very same values. It has nothing to do with "religion."

 

But how many can actually live their entire lives adhering to these 10 simple precepts?

 

And I think we have gone far enough with redirecting this post away from it's original question.

Reincarnation - doesn't happen. When you die, you die. Dead as a dodo. Kaput. Dust.

 

Dear Jun, We have strayed far from the original question. You are right. But please allow me a final stray by saying that the ten precepts do transcend Buddhism, as you wrote, and are approved certainly by Christianity and I would think by the core teaching of most of the world's wisdom traditions. (Even if none of us seem to quite make the stretch of living up to them!) There is a core the seems to reveal itself at the heart of much of the wisdom traditions. Please, without being argumentative, let me also say that in my practice of Christianity, I do not find the teachings of Jesus to be "pie in the sky" or a gloss over of reality. Yes, there is pie in the sky, but there's also rough and hard teachings that can transform our life down here in our right-here and right-now experience.

 

Thank you for your teaching today. With your assistance, I have grown!

 

-CC in MA

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