[Buddha-l] Everybody on vacation?

Erik Hoogcarspel jehms at xs4all.nl
Sat Jun 13 13:49:40 MDT 2009

Hi Joanna,

jkirk schreef:
> Things really are quiet here these days. Hope this bit might
> generate a few comments......
> I've been re-thinking the idea of rebirth.....I don't really
> think it's possible nor do I place much credence in the stories
> of people who say they've seen their past lives via some process,
> such as meditation or past-life channeling or whatever it's
> called. Still, there is one aspect to the Buddhist idea of
> working to avoid rebirth that doesn't initially make sense. This
> is the idea that desiring rebirth is a source of dukkha. 
We know that rebirth is a story that grew slowly in the upani.sads and 
that it supports the idea of an unchanging self. The Buddhist idea that 
only karma returns is not very convincing and rather confusing. But of 
course what is convincing and what not? Do you demand falsifiability or 
just confirmation by an authority? Do you want a story to put your mind 
at ease or do you like to think and keep asking yourself questions which 
probably will never be answered? Nietzsche said that most people don't 
want truth but just convenient illusions. On the other hand life would 
be impossible if we would demand scientific evidence for every fact in 
our lifeworld. I sometimes get the feeling that most peole believe in 
reincarnation because they want to be someone who believes in reincarnation.
> There's one motivation in favor of rebirth that strikes me as
> constructive, not a potential source of dukkha, and that is the
> desire to learn more about the phenomenal world (the only
> world?), to increase one's knowledge, understanding of and thus
> enjoyment of the world in an innocent (i.e. not for profit) way.
> I was just looking at my book shelf today-- came across three old
> Gujarati readers that I've had for umpteen years from my late ex,
> a Gujarati himself. Always wanted to learn it so I could visit
> that part of India and be able to communicate, maybe even see the
> ancestral village (if it's still there). However, it's probably
> too late now, considering the age I'm at, so rebirth would
> provide another opportunity. However, alas.....I guess the dukkha
> of the idea rests in the claim that one cannot control how one is
> reborn nor into what sort of being --thus the future being might
> turn out to be a (perish the thought) bimbo, businessman, or
> politician! So much for learning Gujarati down the road.
Even if you could control it, what good would it do if you wouldn't be 
able to remember your last life? You would be a Gujarati businessman, 
probably by the name of Patel, and you would consider the ease with 
which you would speak Gujarati as quite normal and not being worth a 
second thought.
You would however probably take evening class to improve your English. :-)


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