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philosophical, what are your thoughts on this?

 
 
Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Sat 3 May, 2014 07:30 am
The objection i have to that concept of self is that after the birth of a child, the mother and father have each their senses of self, and so does the child. As far as i can see, a new self has been created. I diverge from the concept of rebirth in that the matter that makes up the new being is not that which made up the old (unless we have to do with cannibals), so i am still left with the question of what has been reborn.

By the way, before Siddhartha was even born, the Hindus came up with the concept of duality. I consider it a dodge. One can dismiss any assertion that another makes about the nature of reality by calling it dualism, and defining every thing in terms of "is" and "not is." That's at the core of my objection to a concept of non-self. I consider it an intellectual dodge.
FBM
 
  1  
Reply Sat 3 May, 2014 07:48 am
@Setanta,
So you deny the conservation laws of physics? What new was created, exactly?
Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Sat 3 May, 2014 10:56 am
@FBM,
That's a a straw man. What i deny is that there was any rebirth, in that any new entity born cannot contain exactly the same matter and energy which had previously been born. So it cannot hvae been a rebirth.
FBM
 
  1  
Reply Sat 3 May, 2014 08:45 pm
@Setanta,
I don't see how it's a straw man. Rather, it seems that you're begging the question, assuming there is a "new entity" in this context, when the question is precisely whether or not, strictly speaking, such a thing can be observed. What is new about the bundle of matter and energy that comes out of the mother? Scientists tell us that everything is equally +/- 13.7 billion years old.
Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Sun 4 May, 2014 01:30 am
@FBM,
If it's not a new entity, why would one say "reborn?" If it is a new entity, by the way, what is its nature, given that you specify a non-self entity? To say reborn, one implies that what ever is now born, was born once before. If you deny that it is a new entity, then surely it has not been reborn.

EDIT: Sorry, it's the middle of the night here, and my head piece is not warmed up. If it is not a new entity, then to say it is a reborn is reasonable, but then you must be making the claim that it is comprised of the same matter and energy of which it was comprised when it had been originally born.
FBM
 
  1  
Reply Sun 4 May, 2014 01:40 am
@Setanta,
Are phenomena entities or people? According to the scholarship I read, the Buddha cast that doctrine as a pointed reaction against the Hindu concept of reincarnation, just as he recast kamma to mean "volitional action" instead of "proper observance of ritual duties." There are many examples of how he took pre-existing terms and redefined them in order to demonstrate flaws in the originals.

Quote:
Now though Buddhism and Hinduism share the concept of rebirth, the Buddhist concept differs in details from the Hindu doctrine. The doctrine of rebirth as understood in Hinduism involves a permanent soul, a conscious entity which transmigrates from one body to another. The soul inhabits a given body and at death, the soul casts that body off and goes on to assume another body. The famous Hindu classic, the Bhagavad Gita, compares this to a man who might take off one suit of clothing and put on another. The man remains the same but the suits of clothing are different. In the same way the soul remains the same but the psycho-physical organism it takes up differs from life to life.

The Buddhist term for rebirth in Pali is "punabbhava" which means "again existence". Buddhism sees rebirth not as the transmigration of a conscious entity but as the repeated occurrence of the process of existence. There is a continuity, a transmission of influence, a causal connection between one life and another. But there is no soul, no permanent entity which transmigrates from one life to another.


http://www.budsas.org/ebud/ebdha058.htm
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FBM
 
  1  
Reply Sun 4 May, 2014 01:41 am
@Setanta,
Setanta wrote:

...

EDIT: Sorry, it's the middle of the night here, and my head piece is not warmed up. If it is not a new entity, then to say it is a reborn is reasonable, but then you must be making the claim that it is comprised of the same matter and energy of which it was comprised when it had been originally born.


Why is that? It's only an entity at all in the conventional sense, not the strict sense.
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FBM
 
  1  
Reply Sun 4 May, 2014 01:43 am
I'll be void123 never foresaw this happening to this thread. Laughing
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FBM
 
  1  
Reply Sun 4 May, 2014 03:08 am
This is long, but it is a lecture by a leading scholar of Buddhism who is not himself a Buddhist. Gombrich will do a much better job of explaining his ideas that I am, Set:

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Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Sun 4 May, 2014 03:14 am
It's going to be a while before i devote nearly two hours to a video. However, i suggest that references to the age of the cosmos, as it is currently understood, and reference to the conservation of matter and energy are justifications after the fact. Is one to accept that Siddhartha knew, more than 2000 years ago, the age of the cosmos? That he understood the concept of the conservation of matter and energy? All without a theoretical underpinning, without the instrumentation to search for the event horizon of the singularity? The only explanations for that surely would involve the supernatural.
Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Sun 4 May, 2014 03:16 am
Sorry, i see no distinction between entity in a conventional sense and in a strict sense. This still doesn't answer the question of what is reborn, if the self is to be excluded. That also makes the concept of karma very problematic.
FBM
 
  1  
Reply Sun 4 May, 2014 03:52 am
@Setanta,
Setanta wrote:

It's going to be a while before i devote nearly two hours to a video. However, i suggest that references to the age of the cosmos, as it is currently understood, and reference to the conservation of matter and energy are justifications after the fact. Is one to accept that Siddhartha knew, more than 2000 years ago, the age of the cosmos? That he understood the concept of the conservation of matter and energy? All without a theoretical underpinning, without the instrumentation to search for the event horizon of the singularity? The only explanations for that surely would involve the supernatural.


No, I did not state nor intend to imply that the Buddha knew any of those things; only that his teachings do not contravene them, as do the teachings of theisms. Again, he was only interested in human experience, not cosmology, questions about which he refused to answer. I mentioned earlier that the term "omniscient" in the Western definition does not apply to the Buddha's knowledge, which was simply "to see things as they really are." Nothing supernatural required.

As I also mentioned earlier, I find nothing surprising nor disconcerting about the fact that he spoke of a cosmology contemporary with his time, and that is simply because I do not see anything supernatural about his teachings. In the same way that I can accept Newton's (and all the other theists who who are/were scientists) physical laws without accepting his religion, I can accept the Buddha's teachings on the pragmatic relief of existential suffering without adopting an archaic cosmology. Newton didn't teach theology and the Buddha didn't teach cosmology.
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FBM
 
  1  
Reply Sun 4 May, 2014 04:10 am
@Setanta,
Setanta wrote:

Sorry, i see no distinction between entity in a conventional sense and in a strict sense. This still doesn't answer the question of what is reborn, if the self is to be excluded. That also makes the concept of karma very problematic.


It does answer it. This post suggests to me that either you are not reading or perhaps not particularly paying attention to my earlier post(s) which addressed exactly these questions. (I don't doubt for a moment your intellectual capacity to understand them.)

Look, no offense and I don't mean this as an insult, but if you're really dead-set on believing that supernaturalism is a neccesary component of Buddhist philosophy and practice, and if you're willing to ignore contemporary scholarship on the subject to the contrary, then I see no way to productively proceed. The best I can do is suggest some reading by leading scholars that I have read. If you're not really interested in it, that's up to you:

Richard Gombrich:
What the Buddha Really Thought
Therav├ąda Buddhism: a social history from ancient Benares to modern Colombo.
How Buddhism began: the conditioned genesis of the early teachings.


Adrian Kuzminski:
Pyrrhonism: How the Ancient Greeks Reinvented Buddhism.

Sue Hamilton:
Early Buddhism: A New Approach: The I of the Beholder (Routledge Critical Studies in Buddhism)

And, of course, the Pali Canon, of which I have collected all except parts of the apocryphal Abhidhamma, which I find largely useless, and of which I have read about 80% to date.

Best of luck to you and I apologize for my shortcomings as a representative of what the above scholars have published.
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void123
 
  1  
Reply Sun 4 May, 2014 06:09 am
go to my other threds and discuss, want to hear your thoughts
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Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Sun 4 May, 2014 07:54 am
You know, FBM, you keep harping on supernaturalism, but you ntroduced that discussion. I have been pointing out that if you believe in something for which you can provide no evidence, you are indulging superstition. What evidence do you have that rebirth takes place? What evidence do you have that there is a type of human understanding which can be called enlightenment which is different than and superior to ordinary human understanding? When you indulge beliefs without evidence, and believe simply because you want to believe, that is superstition. Stories such as the circumstances of Siddhartha's birth and stories of demons certainly do constitute supernaturalism, but if you reject them, that's OK by me. As i said earlier and more than once, i'm not out to beat up on you. However, unless and until you can demonstrate that rebirth actually occurs, and that there is a special type of understanding which one might call enlightenment which is different from and superior to ordinary human understanding--you are indulging superstition.
FBM
 
  1  
Reply Sun 4 May, 2014 04:05 pm
@Setanta,
I neither believe nor disbelieve in either enlightenment or rebirth. I've already explained my understanding of them in perfectly mundane terms. Please carefully read what I've already written. Failing that, please consider reading the works of the experts I've brought to bear on the subject. As it is, I'm the only one bringing relevant scholarship into the discussion. Please forgive me if I'm disinclined to continue being the only one to do so.
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