Rebirth PART ONE: evidence in young children (Agnosticism)

by xeno6696 @, Sonoran Desert, Tuesday, May 14, 2024, 16:01 (30 days ago) @ dhw

Always great to hear from you too! =-)

I remember that in our past discussions on this subject, we talked about the nature of “Nirvana”, which has always bugged me. One website defines this as “the highest state that someone can attain, a state of enlightenment, meaning a person's individual desires and suffering go away. The origin of the word nirvana relates to religious enlightenment; it comes from the Sanskrit meaning "extinction, disappearance" of the individual to the universal.” It means no more rebirth as well as no more self, and hence no more suffering or pleasure. To me, this means nothing more or less than our eternal death. Can you enlighten us?

Well, not exactly. Enlightenment is a personal practice ;-)

I have learned more since we last talked about this, maybe a contrast with Hindu thought would help.

In meditation, there's a space you can pass through, that begins with what can best be described as light--we call them nimitta's, St. John of the Cross called it "Holy Spirit Descending" and in traditions in Hinduism it's called "Brahma's Gate."

IN the Upanishadic traditions that teach this, it's considered the "highest state," "merging with God," and "becoming your true self, or "atman."" "Atman" is a pretty good word for "soul" in Christianity. In Hindu traditions, they view this with some extra dogma--this atman is "unchanging, unconditioned, indestructible etc."

The insight of the Buddha was strictly that even THAT state, the one that Hindus call the ultimate is ALSO fully conditioned, and that there are several more states a person can attain.

So here's some definitions direct from scripture for the states:

1. "...and abides in the first jhana, which is accompanied by applied and sustained thought, with rapture and pleasure born of seclusion. He makes the rapture and pleasure born of seclusion drench, steep, fill, and pervade this body, so that there is no part of his whole body unpervaded by the rapture and pleasure born of seclusion."

2. "...and abides in the second jhana, which has self-confidence and singleness of mind without applied and sustained thought, with rapture and pleasure born of concentration." Important note, the word that usually gets translated as "concentration" is better translated as "stillness."

3. "Again with the fading away as well of rapture, a bhikkhu abides in equanimity, and mindful and fully aware, still feeling pleasure with t he body, he enters upon and abides in the third jhana, on account of which noble ones announce: 'He has a pleasant abiding who has equanimity and is mindful.'

4. "Again, with the abandoning of pleasure and pain, and with the previous disappearance of joy and grief, a bhikkhu enters upon and abides in the fourth jhana, which has neither-pain-nor-pleasure and purity of mindfulness due to equanimity.

5. "It is possible here that with the complete surmounting of perceptions of form, with the disappearance of perceptions of sensory impact, with non-attention to perceptions of diversity, aware that 'space is infinite,' some bhikkhu enters upon and abides in the base of infinite space."

6. "It is possible here that by completely surmounting the base of infinite space, aware that 'consciousness is infinite,' some bhikkhu enters upon and abides in the base of infinite consciousness...."

7. "It is possible here that by completely surmounting the base of infinite consciousness, aware that 'there is nothing' some bhikkhu enters upon and abides in the base of nothingness."

8. "It is possible here that by completely surmounting the base of nothingness, some bhikkhu enters upon and abides in the base of neither-perception-nor-non-perception."


The next stage after that last one is "Nibbana," which is "extinction," which in Pali means the same thing as putting out a candle. So this gradual training demonstrates an individual reaching finer and finer stages of consciousness until anything remotely like thinking or concepts totally vanishes. You're still very much alive, but your mind is permanently changed. The reason why this breaks the cycle of rebirth is that a person who achieves nibbana is utterly incapable of engaging in impure acts, and can no longer generate kamma. (kharma) When you die, you will simply not be reborn, but given what I talked about above, it's clear to me that your consciousness doesn't get destroyed, the consciousness being that place where all your memories and seeds were stored, only without a future rebirth, it isn't clear to me what this means other than possibly just returning to the primordial stuff of the universe. It reminds me a bit of the Jewish Sheol, except that you're already purified. And to be frank, there is no actual answer to the question, "what happens after parinibbana?" (final death on this life)

To the extent that there is a final mystery in Buddhism, it's this.

--
\"Why is it, Master, that ascetics fight with ascetics?\"

\"It is, brahmin, because of attachment to views, adherence to views, fixation on views, addiction to views, obsession with views, holding firmly to views that ascetics fight with ascetics.\"


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