Saturday, January 29, 2011

LITERAL REBIRTH



Here's one of the videos up on the Dogen Sangha Los Angeles page. It's all about reincarnation.

I want to create a brand of Buddhist evaporated milk called Reincarnation Evaporated Milk!

Here is one of the videos that are linked as a related video. This guy's response is based on the notion that if you believe that there is a realm other than the material one, then there is life after death.

Here is a supposed contrast/comparison between the Islamic and Buddhist perspectives that's really long. These guy's understanding of Buddhism is vastly different from mine. So much so that it would take far longer than I care to spend to explain how.

Here is an NBC report on the subject with Deepak Choprah making more money for himself by promising his readers life after death. Sometimes I wonder if I shouldn't just do this myself.

I got this in the email the other day:

"I have studied the Nishijima version of Shobogenzo quite a lot years ago. Master Nishijima's attitude towards rebirth/reincarnation is essentially the same i myself hold, however i took and take objection to his persistent opinion that the teaching of literal rebirth is not Buddhist. I have studied Dogen quite allot and must come to the conclusion that for Dogen literal rebirth is clearly part of his Buddhist view (it has nothing to do with the Senika view of eternalism). Like i said my own opinion about this matter is essentially the same as master Nishijima's but that view should not be forced upon Dogen, it is not appropiate and i feel that master Nishijima does exactly that. When reading Dogen we should try to think like an ancient Japanese monk who viewed the world in a Mahayana Buddhist way and take what we can from it in our modern world without trying to alter aspects of it that seem alien or even superstitious to us.

"Anyway master Nishijima persistence on this view somehow put me off his Shobogenzo, that is just how my flawed mind works. It has been years since i have studied his version of the Shobogenzo and i feel i would like to own the Shobogenzo again so i was really excited about the Kazuaki Tanahshi's version until i read your blog. The same things that bother you about this translation would bother me to! So i'm considering to buy the Nishijima version again instead. It has been so long since i have studied it so:

"My real question is: Does the Nishijima version sneak in some of his what i feel are modern views about rebirth/reincarnation or is the text as literal as possible and reflect Dogen's teachings purely?

"I severely respect master Nishijima and mean no disrespect at all, he is a great teacher."


My reply:

Nishijima Roshi leaves all of Dogen's references to rebirth within Shobogenzo just as they are in the original. People are getting reborn all over the place in that thing! When people questioned Nishijima about this during talks, he always explained that these references were meant metaphorically, not literally. However, within the text of his translation he never alters any of these references, nor does he even add any footnotes saying they are metaphorical.

To me, the more direct questions are 1) What do we today mean by "literal rebirth" and 2) why does it matter if Dogen believed in it or not?

In the case of the questioner, the answer to #2 is he wants to know if Nishijima's translation is reliable. The answer to that is, yes, it is. So is Kaz Tanahashi's fine translation.

But I think for most people #2 is important because we regard Dogen as a religious authority. If Dogen agrees with other religious authorities like Deepak Choprah on the question of literal rebirth, we can feel that much more relieved. As Mr. Choprah has learned, people will pay good money to be told by a religious authority figure that they will live forever. People have paid damn good money to hear that from religious authority figures for a very long time and in cultures across the globe. It is quite a reliable strategy for making a living.

But Deepak Chorpah doesn't know anything more about life after death than you do, dear reader. Dogen didn't know anything more about life after death when he was alive and writing than you do either. I also do not know anything more than you. Unlike the "she" in John Lennon's song She Said, She Said, I do not know what it's like to be dead.

("She" was actually Peter Fonda, out of his mind on LSD who said this to Lennon while they were tripping together in the Hollywood hills. I was once in line at Ralph's grocery store in West Hollywood with Peter Fonda. He was alive. But after Ghost Rider his career was dead. Perhaps that's what he meant?)

I don't necessarily think that Mr. Choprah is cynically exploiting his readers by telling them lies. He says what he says in order to create a reassuring feedback loop from himself to his readership and back again that helps relieve his own fears of death. This is also a time-tested strategy and appears to work for some people.

Onto question #1, what do we mean by "literal rebirth?"

The late e-sangha said this about me in reference to the above: "Brad Warner is a materialist i.e. he denies rebirth; and therefore, the only conclusion he can assert is that the mind is merely an ephiphenomena (sic) of brain activity. That is principally why knowledgable (sic) Buddhists take issue with him. That being so, he isn’t teaching Buddhism, but instead teaching a Worldly dharma that he and his teacher call 'Zen'.”

As I said before (I think), I do believe that the mind is the product of brain activity. That's what epiphenomena (not ephiphenomena) means. But I also believe that brain is an epiphenomena of mind activity. The mutual inter-relationship causes both to appear.

But that's beside the point. The e-sangha guys believed in literal rebirth. For them it was very important that others also believed that. If they thought someone who claimed to be Buddhist denied literal rebirth, they labeled them non-Buddhist and tried to cast doubt upon them by using phrases like, "That is principally why knowledgable (sic) Buddhists take issue with him." There is no evidence I am aware of that any knowledgeable Buddhists (whoever they might be) take issue with me about my stance on rebirth. It's good to be careful of vague unattributed claims like this in general, by the way.

But what in Heck's name is "literal rebirth?" When you really come right down to it I suppose it means, to most people, that someone is telling them they'll live forever. Literal rebirth means that someday I will actually die as a person in some place and I will get reborn in another place as another person, celestial being or animal.

This is not what Buddhism teaches. Well, it's not what the kind of Buddhism I teach teaches anyway. There is no "literal you" to get "literally reborn." This is the heart of the argument.

And Dogen is pretty clear that there is no "literal you." So the idea that he taught anything like what most people in the Western world mean when they use the phrase "literal rebirth" is absurd.

Does that make sense?

You'll forgive me in a year or so, I hope, when you see the above article reworked into part of a book.

243 comments:

1 – 200 of 243   Newer›   Newest»
TerryW said...

1 What ever that means. Brad, i enjoyed reading this article. Safe travels to you as you go out on tour.

Anonymous said...

Darn it Tel!

anon #108 said...
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anon #108 said...

"...Deepak Chorpah doesn't know anything more about life after death than you do, dear reader. Dogen didn't know anything more about life after death when he was alive and writing than you do either. I also do not know anything more than you...I do not know what it's like to be dead."

Yes, that makes sense to me, Brad. And, FWIW, so does "There is no "literal you" to get "literally reborn."

But I can't make so much sense of this:

"I do believe that the mind is the product of brain activity...But I also believe that brain is an epiphenomena of mind activity. The mutual inter-relationship causes both to appear."

The brain results from the mind? Are you playing with the terms "mind" and "brain" Dogen-stylee to point to the non-duality of mind/brain, or are you suggesting that something called (metaphysical) "mind" exists - of which the physical brain is a secondary, resultant phenomenon - like "God"?

Wayne said...

Good article as usual, Brad... seems to me a topic best left to the dead to discuss. ;-)
However, for a guy who uses (sic) a lot re. others' writing, you might be interested to know Choprah is actually spelled Chopra.

Master Huang Po said...

All Buddhas and all sentient beings are no different from the One Mind. In this One Mind there is neither arising nor ceasing, no name or form, no long or short, no large or small, and neither existence nor non-existence. It transcends all limitations of name, word and relativity, and it is as boundless as the great voidte pure source of Mind encompasses all Buddhas, sentient beings and the world of mountains, rivers, forms and formlessness. Throughout the ten directions, all and everything reflects the equality of pure Mind, which is always universally penetrating and void.

Anonymous said...

I don't get how people are into Mr. Ch'Oprah. He seems very bizarre to me.

--matt

Seagal Rinpoche said...

After all, it is no more surprising to be born twice than it is to be born once.

anon #108 said...

- like "God"?

...If you are suggesting that, Brad. I get it. It's cool with me. I won't tell anyone.

**************************************************************************

Hi Mr Po,

Thanks for stopping by.

"All Buddhas and all sentient beings are no different from the One Mind..."

I've always meant to ask you: Are you talking about "God" like Brad (might be), or are you simply saying that everything is phenomenal?

Anonymous said...

dead or alive?

john e mumbles said...

"Literal rebirth means that someday I will actually die as a person in some place and I will get reborn in another place as another person, celestial being or animal."

This "I" you're speaking of here refers to a personality that is supposedly transmigrating, right? Otherwise Mr. Chopra et al might as well say (but no one would pay him for it) that elementally material things seem to endlessly recycle; but the "you" -the ghost in the machine called the body- being a unique construct of varied influences (ie; an illusion of "you"), is never here, there, and everywhere, to again quote The Beatles.

Anonymous said...

Maybe you're believing just as hard that they're all wrong so you don't have to spend eternal damnation with Tim Curry.

FYI, Brad... Did you see what Deepak did to the last guy who made some smart ass remark? He and his thugies will make short work of a gnat like you!

Lauren said...

I've come to believe there is no "spiritual" realm. There is variety in perception. Habits of though and chemical influence in the soup my brain sits in can alter the picture, but there is nothing extraordinary going on beyond the routine banging about of matter and energy that happens to constitute this ugly bag of mostly water.

Often I am sad about this. I'd love for ther to be an abiding me that will pop into another body in 2,000 years to say "good, at least 'I' am still here."

This ain't gonna happen. When I die, this 'me' will dis-aggregate and that will be the end of this particular conscious construct.

Maybe, if I'm lucky, these words will be backed up on a server that some grad student will be sifting through to support their dissertation, and I'll have "life" again for a brief moment. But I sure won't know it.

Mysterion said...
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Mysterion said...
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Anonymous said...

"However, there is enough evidence (e.g. Life before Life) to consider rebirth/reincarnation as one of the remaining possibilities."

The one time I would have liked you to provide a few verifying links you fail miserably.

EternalReturner said...

mysterion must be drunk tonight: who in GOD'S name would want to watch Ronald Reagan's old movies?

Damion said...

There is but a "birthing" taking place. And in the words of Wolverine (The X-Men character), "Nuff said bub"!

Anonymous said...

If it is a birthing you want I have a burlap sack me and the guys can stuff you in and have you fight your way back to life. To add Zen flavour we can hit you with sticks so that you come out with right posture... There will be a waiver of course.

Mr. Reee said...

"Often I am sad about this. I'd love for there to be an abiding me that will pop into another body in 2,000 years to say "good, at least 'I' am still here."

Take heart, sentient being called Lauren--in 2000 years I promise you *will* be able to say "good, at least 'I' am here."

Just drop off the 'still' part. The 'still' is what's causing you the trouble. :)

Mysterion said...
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Mysterion said...
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Mysterion said...
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Jason said...

Does reincarnation exist or not? Who cares?

go wash your bowl.

john e mumbles said...

This was cited somewhere by Charles Tart as well.

It still doesn't make the case for "you" to return. Even Tibetan Buddhists understand that the "return" part isn't the person in toto other than in terms of them remembering certain snapshots of a previous phantasm of a "life."

Its like what you remember about a favorite song or movie you haven't seen or heard for a long time, you fill in the blanks, but its all a false echo, a nesting egg full of someone else's memories.

john e mumbles said...
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john e mumbles said...

My last comment was in reference to Mysterion's at 8:41 PM, and my "This.." refers to his mention of the book Life Before Life.

ER said...

Ronald Reagan's great grandkids receive 1/100th of 1 percent of $0.01 on every dvd by dear old great grandad so in effect, you are supporting his heirs by purchasing his crap movies.

J said...

Literal rebirth-- or "metempsychosis" as Schopenhauer termed it--may seem rather incredible and supernatural to most Americans, but that was ...the traditional Buddhist view, IMHE. Right living and the 8-fold path itself was meant to prepare a person for a "good death", and ...avoiding Naraka (ie. consult the Dhammapada, at least the reliable sections for further details. Which are those? That's left as a koan-like exercise).

Philosophically speaking, Buddhism should not be considered a species of materialism, such as Darwinism. Mind...exists in some fashion, though that does not necessarily imply a Cartesian soul (--or does it). Reason and science may suggest there is no afterlife, at least not one we can detect. However Science has limits as well. Cognitive science cannot tell us much, if anything about our thinking and perception, or memory. Thus, the answer to the "literal rebirth" question is....there is no definitive answer.

Mr. Reee said...

Reincarnation is a fun subject.

I do like the concept 'how can you return if you never leave?' I think that sums it up nicely.

From the perspective of our experience, it's easy to find examples of how this might actually work. Consider this: when you were five, playing in your yard, you suddenly thought a strange thought--I wonder who I will be when I grow up? Will I still be me?

And of course, you did grow up, and you are still you--but you are not the child who asked that question so long ago.

Did the child 'die?' No,it didn't. But the child is not there anymore--so how can that be?

Maybe reincarnation is a little like that?

Mysterion said...
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Glen said...

All of us have had many past lives and we will have future lives. If we look at evolution, all those actions, sufferings of the many billions of beings led to us being born, 'our' life right now cannot be seperated from them.

In his book Beyong the self, Thich nhat hanh tallks about the Samyukta Agama, the sutra on the Middle Way. The Buddha here talks about Right view - avoiding the extreme views of 'exists' 'not exist'. Within this sutra is also co-dependent arising. Thich Hant Hanh then talks about the habits of beings in the past, the sufferings, are still with us today as a human

'The suffering that we have borne in the past is immeasurable. Compared with the suffering of the past, our suffering of today is very small. Why do we continue to make eachother suffer? In the great ocean the big fish are eating the little fish. A baby fish is swimming along and a big fish comes and the little fish becomes its food. There are bears that go down to the river and then catch the big fish in their paws and eat them'

Here TNH is showing that we inherit the past actions and what we might call ignorance of living beings, and their natural instincts and habits - we are not apart from past lives, how can we be? But to think that it is actually this 'self' that had those past lives is absurd. Here is where language can mislead.

flagadabla said...

Hi,

There is a need for clarification about the concepts of "mind" and "epiphenomenon".

In philosophy of mind (which is the subject here), an epiphenomon is a phenomenon that "can be an effect of primary phenomena, but cannot affect a primary phenomenon." (cf the wikipedia page on epiphenomenon).

So when we say that mind is an epiphenomenon of brain activity, we're saying that mind is an effect of brain and cannot affect brain in return. But what are we actually pointing at when using the word "mind"? Is it the faculty of language, of logic reasoning, of feeling, of being conscious, of regulating you're body with the autonomic nervous system (that also is partly an effect of the brain), all of these?

Without doing this homework first, the whole discussion is fuzzy and everybody can interpret it as they like (or don't like).

anon #108 said...

Hi flagadabla,

You wrote: "So when we say that mind is an epiphenomenon of brain activity, we're saying that mind is an effect of brain and cannot affect brain in return."

Thanks for that.

So what do you make of this, from Brad:

"I do believe that the mind is the product of brain activity...But I also believe that brain is an epiphenomena of mind activity. The mutual inter-relationship causes both to appear." (my bold)

- A statement I queried at the top of the thread.

Moon Face Buddha said...

During my short time on e-sangha I got the impression that the whole thing was run by a very sectarian group will highly defined ideas of 'right' and 'wrong' view. In effect the name e-sangha was poorly chosen imho, and it was very far from being an open discussion forum.

If one reads the Pali Canon there does not seem to be much confusion about what Gotama was actually teaching; ripening of kamma gives rise to rebirth.

Of course there is room for much discussion by trying to put your own spin on the term 'literal rebirth', but to imply (as you say Dogen does) that rebirth is not a teaching of the Buddha seems to be either ignorance of, or a misunderstanding of, the teachings of Gotama.

Soulagent79 said...

Rebirth is impossible simply because the world's population keeps on growing. In the year 1900 there were about 1 billion humans on this planet, now there are almost 7 billion... How is that possible if some higher force decides to "recycle" the souls of those who have died? Shouldn't the number of people always stay the same?

anon #108 said...
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Uncovering brad Warner said...

Look at Brad @ 1:29-1:35. Do you believe him? (See also 2:01-2:23, 3:45-3:55)

R to S79 said...

The great majority of humans reincarnate as animals before attaining a human birth.

On the other hand - one normally ceases reincarnation on attaining the way, but that would amount to a very small number, nowadays at least – most insignificant.

anon #108 said...

Hi Soulagent,

A literalist Buddhist/Hinduist rebirthist might explain that the souls/consciousnesses that don't 'come back' to be counted as bodies are the enlightened ones; the snuffed out ones -

"nirvaana -

blown or put out, extinguished (as a lamp or fire)...calmed, quieted, tamed, dead, deceased (lit. having the fire of life extinguished), lost, disappeared...extinction of the flame of life, dissolution, death or final emancipation from matter and re-union with the Supreme Spirit...absolute extinction or annihilation of individual existence..."

- (edited) from the Monier-Williams Sanskrit Dictionary

Where do the fresh souls come from? As Ran reliably informs us, the fresh souls/consciousnesses that fill the fresh bodies must come from animals - or perhaps other 'realms'.

It seems to me there are two different models for, and definitions of the birth/death process in mainstream Buddhism. One model does have a notion of a self-existent self/soul/atman (whatever other euphemistic terms are used to describe it; the mental skandhas are often seen this way), with it's own particular karma, formed from its journey along the path to nirvana. The other model denies a self-existent self/soul/atman and is consistent with the first law of thermodynamics. The first is idealistic; the second, essentially materialistic.

Are either of then 'right'? I very much doubt it. I really don't care. Speculation and theory, whether ancient or modern, is fascinating and sometimes enlightening...but 'true'? Required? Necessary? Not for me.

Shandra said...

I was reminded of a sf book called Probability Moon, in which the alien species in the story had a society utterly dependent on 'consensus reality'.

Going against the consensus of the whole brought on debilitating head pain that only cleared up once the individual adjusted their world-view to match the consensus.

Criminals (rare) were condemned to a form of shunning where they completed their sentence serving the community while being shunned as literally 'unreal' by the rest.

The viewpoint character had some interesting insights as a person who did not exist to others and yet existed to herself. She had to overcome the 'unthinkable' terror of being alone.

If people's belief in society creates society, does society's belief in the individual create the individual? A reciprocal arrangement that would cause more than a few headaches on one side of the argument and threaten the foundation of the (consensus) universe for the other side.

Interesting read, it helped me understand the viewpoints of some devoutly religious relatives who utterly baffle me most of the time. I wonder how 'real' I am to them?

Anonymous said...

5 Reasons You Won't Die:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/robert-lanza/5-reasons-you-wont-die_b_810936.html

An interesting article. :)

Converting Mysterion said...

http://wn.rsarchive.org/Lectures/ManfKarma/ManKar_index.html

anon #108 said...

I wrote:

"Speculation and theory, whether ancient or modern, is fascinating and sometimes enlightening...but 'true'? Required? Necessary? Not for me."

I mean to say: speculation and theorising is necessary for many, if not all of us. But insisting that some particular speculative/theoretical model is true, and must be adopted if we are to be happy - because we need to be right in order to be happy - might only cause more suffering; if not for us, then for someone else. And so I resist the urge to believe.

R said...

I haven’t read the above myself but you can check it up if you’re interested. (before 108’s last, - that is)

Anonymous Bob said...

People never seem to have memories of previous lives lived as animals even though most reincarnations would have to come from these realms due to human population explosion. Even if people regularly report something that appears like past life memories it doesn't mean they are having past life memories. It might just mean they are making shit up which humans have been known to do. That could explain why a lot of reincarnation stories involve having illustrious past lives.

Shandra said...

Get all the Marie Antoinette reincarnations together in a room and get the catfight on camera...

Anonymous said...

In Qabbalah literature three types of reincarnation are mentioned:

1. gilgul, transmigration proper, in which a soul that had previously inhabited one body is sent back to earth to inhabit another body.

2. ibbur, "impregnation," in which a soul descends from heaven in order to assist another soul in the body.

3. dybbuk, a generally late concept, in which a guilt‑laden soul pursued by devils enters a human body in order to find rest and has to be exorcised.

Brad Warner said...

Moon Faced Buddha Said:
"Of course there is room for much discussion by trying to put your own spin on the term 'literal rebirth', but to imply (as you say Dogen does) that rebirth is not a teaching of the Buddha seems to be either ignorance of, or a misunderstanding of, the teachings of Gotama."

I hold that the word "rebirth," as it is understood by the majority of people I have heard defend it, refers to something vastly different from Gotama's teaching.

Brad Warner said...

Anon #108 said:
"The brain results from the mind? Are you playing with the terms 'mind' and 'brain' Dogen-style to point to the non-duality of mind/brain, or are you suggesting that something called (metaphysical) 'mind' exists - of which the physical brain is a secondary, resultant phenomenon - like 'God'?"

The famous line in the Heart Sutra goes "Form is emptiness, emptiness is form." "Emptiness is form" is a comfortable idea for materialistic people because it means that the mind is the product of the action of the physical brain.

"Form is emptiness" is an uncomfortable idea for materialistic people because it implies the opposite. It implies that what we perceive of as physical reality is the product of the immaterial side of reality.

We're raised to believe that this must be an either/or problem. It must be one way or the other. It cannot be both.

I believe that the human brain may be "hard wired" such that it is literally impossible for the brain to deal with the notion that it could be both ways. It is so incredibly important that we differentiate the material realm form the immaterial realm that nature has made this a top priority in our physical construction. This is just speculation on my part, based on my own experience.

But the Heart Sutra and other Buddhist sutras say it is both ways. These writers were not just spinning fancy poetry. They were trying to describe their real experience in zazen.

R to B @ 7:16 am said...

People either reincarnate or they don’t.

Either Gautama what’s-his-name stated that fact or he didn’t.

It’s like one person would say cars are running in the streets and another would says they aren’t.

It’s not open to interpretation.

anon #108 said...

Hi Brad,

I don't hear "Form is emptiness. Emptiness is form" in quite the way you summarised it, but I think I understand what you're getting at.

Thanks for the clarification.

john e mumbles said...

If we have to reincarnate until we get it "right" and enter Nirvana (like Pat Smear?) then those of us alive now (again) must be a bunch of fuck-ups indeed.

C'mon people! Let's get our shit together, practice right and TRANSCEND this mortal coil!

I, for one, am tired as hell...

...Aw crap! I just realized I'll have to come back at least 10,000 more times just to save R...

YKW said...

Based on what, mumbles, based on what?

+ said...

Though you do serve as an example, and I’m not joking.

R to BW @ 7:26 am said...

I can’t really see what does the F-E thing, either in the HS or in general, - [really] have to do with the mind and your physical brain. - Both the mind and this physical tissue are form. This quite obviously isn’t what the Heart Sutra is about. It seems what you are actually about is Sangai-yuishin. Which is not the same as Shoho-jisso.

However - you know perfectly well the physical brain is incapable of thinking, and as Steiner more-or-less once said - it is a mystery how anyone can think otherwise.

john e mumbles said...

This theory is entirely based on Devolution.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jadvt7CbH1o

R said...

Try the residential theory.

Anonymous said...

Half-baked Theosophy is all borrowed from Hinduism. Steiner was a reincarnated Ganges toad.

Lauren said...

Trying to avoid semantic tangels (I doubt I will successful) there is something in the structure of the universe such that aggregations will occur and continue. This continuance can be due to behavior. This concept is contained in "survival of the fittest."

The "I" concept has proven very successful at providing continuance. There is a very strong impetus for the selfish "I" to remain to preserve the body. Strong "I"s have a disposition for "I"-ness that is passed on sociologically (thought) and genetically (matter) so that further "I"s off-spring.

I think the struggle with rebirth for most people is a hope/belief in self-perceived continuity. This, I think, is impossible. For those who truly live in universal mind such that they live themselves as the same as another sentient being (I.e. They have overcome most of their "I"-ness), then "they" are continuing in the person living now as much as the person that may be born in a hundred years, and the topic of rebirth is really moot.

john e mumbles said...

Great band, The Residents! (theory)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ve0XrTiFiwo

Harpo said...

Over at SweepingZen.com, author and senior editor Adam Tebbe responds to criticisms by Zen teacher Brad Warner, wherein Warner states that he is “fighting the good fight against the forces that want to move Zen practice on-line.”

Regarding the idea of online sanghas, or Buddhist communities, Warner writes: “A zendo in Second Life is not a real zendo. Your time spent reading blogs about Zen, including this one, is not real time spent with a Zen teacher. [...] I’m starting to get concerned over what the effects will be of a generation that can’t tell the difference, who are accustomed to sitting in their bedrooms on computers for endless stretches and don’t actually understand how to speak to each other anymore.”

A valid concern, to be sure. But as Tebbe writes in his post, The Online Sangha, “Even when we use a tool like the computer to avoid reality, this presents us with our reality. We face it head-on. So, we cannot escape it even if we wish to. Additionally, and this is key, we do not emphasize the virtual aspect of our encounters in Second Life and we advocate that, when possible, individuals should strive to connect with a physical sangha and/or teacher.”

What do you think? Check out Warner’s post, and Tebbe’s post, and join the conversation. And be sure and tell us how you feel about using online technology as a support for your practice of meditation and/or connection to others who share your interest in Buddhist teachings and practice.

Lauren said...

I wonder re: mind/brain and form/emptiness.... In that classic scene from the movie about Helen Keller where she finally gets the connection between a word (signing in her hand) and the experience of water, do we see her becoming perceptive, or deluded?

R to m @ 8:30 am said...

I think the reason David Bowie used the name “Lodger” for his ?# album is to refer to himself as a lodger of this planet.

The idea of reincarnation is partly included. It was not possible for Bowie not to know of this, though he did not make it evident.

R Admin said...

The last post is not meant exclusively for mumbles.

Damion said...

"If it is a birthing you want I have a burlap sack me and the guys can stuff you in and have you fight your way back to life. To add Zen flavour we can hit you with sticks so that you come out with right posture... There will be a waiver of course."

Why sure! Sounds like a fun game. I think I go through worse than this during my weekly MMA sessions though. Still...could be fun.

Shonin said...

I don't believe in 'literal rebirth' either and broadly agree with your post.

Buddhists have a tendency to interpret the historical Buddha as supporting whatever their view happens to be. It's quite clear that the Buddha taught literal rebirth - rebirth not of a self (atman) but the continuity of a stream of action and consequence. It is states arising as a consequence of our actions that are reborn. Nirvana is the ending of this process. I see this view as problematic and I'll openly admit that I'm unconvinced by it, although I'm no materialist either.

Also, 'form is emptiness, emptiness is form' is not about the realtionship between mind and matter, but about the relationship between the skandhas (form, sensation, perception, volition, discernment - form is just given as an example) and Sunyata (emptiness, absense of intrinsic existence, essencelessness, boundlessness).

However it would toake more time than I have to explain either of these points in detail.

J said...
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OsamaVanHalen said...
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Mysterion said...
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anon #108 said...

Hi Shonin,

"Also, 'form is emptiness, emptiness is form' is not about the realtionship between mind and matter, but about the relationship between the skandhas (form, sensation, perception, volition, discernment - form is just given as an example) and Sunyata (emptiness, absense of intrinsic existence, essencelessness, boundlessness)."

You state that as if it's a well-established and understood principle of Buddhism: Buddhism 101. And it is. But there are other aspects of the same idea which...have been expressed differently - and by Buddhists well-acquainted with the notions of shunyata and svabhava.

Perhaps Brad has never heard of these things. I dunno. I doubt it.

Just sayin ;)

R [Editorial] said...

As for 8:27 [am] and the address I posted earlier, - (I tried to post a link, but it didn’t work) whatever Steiner reports is claimed to be based on his own experience. Things are claimed to be based on his own supersensual perception. You might believe him or you might not. I am quite confident there are things about which he is wrong. It has been argued that clairvoyance is due to mistake. But 8:27 is displaying his ignorance.

Such things can happen though, even @ the HCZ blog.

Rich said...

I inherited a lot from previous lives but it wasn't a self or atman or anything permanent. It came from something called DNA or something which doesn't have a name yet. My future lives are not what I think of as my self, it's something unknown and may not even be consciousness. And frankly my dears, I don't give a damn. -)

PS I think you work thru your bad karma right now, and it starts by taking ownership and responsibility for your thoughts, feelings, words and actions. Else you go straight to hell moment by moment, and will be reborn there for eternity.

Quote of the day:
The mind should become independent of any thoughts that arise within it.

R [Editorial] said...

;) ;)

[Nudge nudge, wink wink, etc. etc.]

R [pfff] said...

The wink relates to 9:57.

Shonin said...

You state that as if it's a well-established and understood principle of Buddhism: Buddhism 101. And it is.

Yes it is.

Sunyata in the Heart Sutra

And as a philosphical principle we need to understand the context of those concepts and the relationship between them in Buddhist thought. It's not just a matter of interpreting 'blind' from a modern perspective and insisting that all interpretations are equally valid.

But really it's something that is experienced rather than just an intellectual notion that is discussed.

There is also no doubt that there are various misunderstandings out there too.

Moon Face Buddha said...

Soulagent79 wrote...

Rebirth is impossible simply because the world's population keeps on growing.

As has been pointed out by others here, this is a wrong view as far as buddhism goes because it does not take in to account the many other realms from which it is possible to rebirth in the human realm.

Rebirth as a human mya be only for 100 years, but rebirth in many of the other realms is considerably longer, so it is not a case of 'one-out-one-in' :)

R said...

I’ve written a long comment referring to Brad’s post, I hope I’ll be able to get it through. I don’t know how much of it may have been said earlier, I guess the most wasn’t; but anyway, - behold - mumbles, here it comes!

Ran K. said...
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Ran K. said...
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proulx michel said...

Just to show the slightly (!) pedantic me, as is my wont, "epiphenomena" is a plural of "epiphenomenon". Just as "phenomena" is the plural of "phenomenon"...

What is taught in the Pali Canon Suttas as well as the Tibetan (although the latter do it in a somewhat florid way which may give to misunderstandings, along with their insistence on litteral rebirth of their "tulkus") is that what is reborn is never "I". There is no continuity, which leaves much to interpretation in all directions.

I am anyway convinced that the hope of an eternal life is indeed the trap into which most tend to fall so deeply rooted is our desire to survive ourselves, and this is probably the biggest pitfall of them all.
However, the sheer number of children demonstrating souvenirs of a previous life is both "proof" of some kind of rebirth, and, to me a good indication that what the Buddha taught was not totally worthless, viz that nothing goes from one being to another, apart some mashed up souvenirs. And just as some false remembrance which would be implanted in your brain (the false remembrance of a past rape, for instance) would surely influence your behaviour, I think such remembrances would as well weigh upon your life, which in itself would be a good reason to try to avoid them taking place.

Jumdo Cohhen said...

I am a real doctor

element said...

@ R

Forget what Rudolf Steiner said.
They are the biggest established cult in germany, they have their fingers everywhere. Most people don't know what this guy thought about Indians and blacks ... they are catched by the romantic picture they display with their lifestyle and thoughts.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anthroposophy#Statements_on_race
They are fucking elitists. They can’t stand critics, mob or process them away with their big influence.
If you are sick now it is because in your former life you did this and that. They explain everything away with their cynical arrogant dogmatic theory.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rudolf_Steiner

Better read Nietzsche, for him, all those spiritual hinterlands stem from a nihilistic worldview.
He is much more compatible with Zen.
Nietzsche idea of eternal return is a wholly other concept.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eternal_return

http://www.waldorfcritics.org/active/articles.html

element said...

I meant that link instead of the wikipedia link concerning statements on race, sorry:

http://www.skepticreport.com/sr/?p=480

Anonymous said...

Brad said...
I believe that the human brain may be "hard wired" such that it is literally impossible for the brain to deal with the notion that it could be both ways. It is so incredibly important that we differentiate the material realm form the immaterial realm that nature has made this a top priority in our physical construction.

FWIW...
It is proposed that DMT and other endogenous hallucinogens mediate their neurological abilities by acting as neurotransmitters at a sub class of the trace amine receptors; a group of receptors found in the CNS where DMT and other hallucinogens have been shown to have activity. Wallach further proposes that in this way waking consciousness can be thought of as a controlled psychedelic experience. It is when the control of these systems becomes loosened and their behavior no longer correlates with the external world that the altered states arise.

Harry said...

Heylow,

Muho posted a slightly back-peddling response to the Brad vrs Muho Bitchfest. Why don't he just state honestly and openly that Brad pisses him off for the obvious reasons and be done with it?...

http://antaiji.dogen-zen.de/eng/201103.shtml

Regards,

Harry.

Anonymous said...

Sometimes I like your posts, sometimes I don't (mostly I do). However, ther last few paragraphs of this post on 'literal rebirth' make a damn good point. I'll remember that.

Anonymous said...

Shandra said...
"I was reminded of a sf book called Probability Moon, in which the alien species in the story had a society utterly dependent on 'consensus reality'. Going against the consensus of the whole brought on debilitating head pain that only cleared up once the individual adjusted their world-view to match the consensus."

Reincarnation in the oligarchy?
My brain hurts.

Anonymous said...

If I have to reincarnate,
please let it be
in a family of
vegan, libertarian, agnostic,
musical, mathematical,
farmer-veterinarians.

Anything less would
sorta suck.

Mysterion said...
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Mysterion said...
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Mysterion said...
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Anonymous said...

What did George Carlin reincarnate as?

Anonymous said...

What do over six million victims
of the American tax-payer
reincarnate as?

Don't be a bully.

Ko Bong Kim said...

If you think you will be reborn, this is the error of eternalism. If you believe that when you die there is just blank nothingness, this is the error of nihilism.

Ran got it when he wrote:

"If there is no shitty “literal you” than there is no question whether it reincarnates or whether it does not."

Anonymous said...

What is that "being-time" stuff
that Dogen was talking about?

Anonymous said...

"Of all the enemies to public liberty, war is, perhaps, the most to be dreaded because it compromises and develops the germ of every other. As the parent of armies, war encourages debts and taxes, the known instruments for bringing the many under the domination of the few. In war, too, the discretionary power of the executive is extended ... and all the means of seducing the minds, are added to those of subduing the force, of the people"
-- James Madison

Angie Clittylitter said...

Name that Zen Master:

Quiz redux. Read the following statements by and about various zen masters and see if you can determine whether the person is a real zen master or poseur.

(A) "I am enlightened in the classic sense," ____ says, but insists, "It's not a big deal. This is not having godlike qualities. . . . I'm a perpetual student of enlightenment. . . . I'm not hung up on myself at all."

(B) ____ prefers to talk about success, about how his book was selected by the Book-of-the-Month Club and the Quality Paperback Book Club, and how rights to his book were sold to 10 foreign publishers. And, yes, he's doing great in the music business too, having just produced two new CDs with his new age group, Zazen. "Have you checked out my new ad in Rolling Stone?" he asks. "It's gorgeous."

(C) The Most Venerable Master, who humbly called himself “a monk amidst the rain and snow”, was voted as one of Taiwan ’s fifty most influential people in the last four hundred years.

(D) These pages were built out of gratitude for ______, radical Zen master, as she calls herself, and also out of excitement to let more people know about her work.

(E) Master _____ had a solid knowledge of the Buddhist canon, but his teaching method was based on his confidence that human beings need only to wake up to their true nature and live as ordinary people. _______ didn’t call himself a Zen master. He called himself a “good spiritual friend,” someone who could help others on the path.

(F) He is a true Zen Master in every sense of the word. I think he breaks all of the conventions of how we think a Zen Master should dress, speak and live just to prove to us that our conceptions of a Teacher are too limited.

(G) "Meditation must not be made into a business.

(H) _____could not cover up the fact that he was still a human being. He had ambitions and desires, sexual and material, just like everyone else. All living enlightened humans have desires. All enlightened men have had public lives that we know about and all have had private lives that remained secret.


****************************************
Answers:
A Frederick Lenz aka zen master Rama
B Zen master Rama
C Master Sheng Yen
D Dolano
E Rinzai
F Zen master Rama
G Osho
H Osho

Anonymous said...

Real Zen Master Jundo'doh said:

Well, I believe in Karma deeply, and I believe in Rebirth.

Anonymous said...

What is that "being-time" stuff
that Dogen was talking about?


Anon, if you're seriously asking, I can tell you it was something that didn't have anything to do with drugs.

If you're not seriously asking, maybe you should find another place to shill for "enlightenment through chemistry."

Mysterion said...
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Mysterion said...

No one really knows
The nature of birth
Nor the true dwelling place.
We return to the source
And turn to dust.

If at the end of our journey
There is no final
Resting place,
Then we need not fear
Losing our Way.

No beginning,
No end.
Our mind
is born and dies:
The emptiness of emptiness!

- Ikkyu








He also wrote (re: Idolatry):
"that stone Buddha deserves all the
birdshit it gets
I wave my skinny arms like a tall
flower in the wind"
— Ikkyu (Crow With No Mouth)

Anonymous said...

Brad, thought you might be interested in the latest news about Genpo Roshi. Got word from a friend who was at his recent retreat in Holland that he announced cheating on his wife for several years with his student (and latest successor) KC Sensei.Apparently the wife found out somehow. Then he said he'd been also havnig an affair with an unnamed third woman, also a student.Pretty good juggling act even for a Zen Master. KC Sensei left the retreat abruptly and went home. Sangha is in an uproar naturally. He had the group at the retreat explore the issue using his Big Mind schtick in ordert to promote healing. is there any end to the bullshit with this guy?

Bizarro Seagal said...

The pen is mightier than the sword but a vagina beats anything you've ever seen.

anon #108 said...

"Great band, The Residents! (theory)," wrote john e mumbles.

I have been unaware of The Residents, john (I had no idea). Thanks!

R said...

Christ!

This is one I used to like said...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tfSEzqX1KxU

R said...

Before the seemingly concerned warning @ 12:18 pm I tried to post the following and it would get deleted.
So here it is: (as it was, I copied it off the screen before it got deleted)





I posted this link some time ago.

Some may not be easy to understand without reading the first part of the book. (which is there too, but I don’t remember [how troublesome this may be] since I read it years ago)

Anyway, - it does not require anyone to believe in anything, - just to think, though not in the mere intellectual way which may be so common today. You might need to use your imagination. To grasp what is said not in a mere rational way.





It may be relevant to OVH @ 9:43 pm & to pm @ 10:10 am.

109 said...

What do you know, there it is. Did I say I don’t believe in mumbles?

(Only there should be a space line before “So here it is”)

I might relate to what e says later.

Seagal D-Check said...

- B-Seagal, - is that from Andrea Dworkin?

element said...

Osho about Steiner

Anonymous said...

@Harry: the link you posted doesn't work.

Harry said...

Hi, Anon, that's because the article has since been removed it seems.

Regards,

H.

anon #108 said...

Yes H...it's gaawn! But I caught it just before it un-manifested. For the disappointed, here's my summary. Do not assume it's reliable -

Muho says:

There's a difference between decriptive and normative (involving value judgements). What Muho wrote about Soto-shu was descriptive; Muho doesn't necessarily approve of all the Soto-shu does, or it's formal path to Inka and beyond - he just told us how it is. Some of what he previously wrote IS normative, though (I can't remember which bits he says ARE good to follow/do).

Re lots of zazen: Lots of zazen is good for the people who need/want to practice lots of zazen (like Muho did when younger...he doesn't feel the need/want to practice quite so much zazen these days, but is happy to do it). Antaiji is a place where such people can practice lots and lots aof zazen. Not everybody has to, or wants to do that. That's OK, says Muho.

Re Brad Warner Muho says: *Brad Warner made some interesting points about setting boundaries. I [Muho] think more in terms of breaking down boundaries...Perhaps that's the only difference between Brad and I.*

Re Muho is a (exemplary?) bodhisattva: Muho is NOT a (exemplary?) bodhisattva - just ask Muho's wife and fellow monks.

- That's how I remember it.

anon #108 said...

See! You can't even delete something (perhaps he didn't) without some smartarse mis-remembering it and plastering it all over the interwebs...

anon #108 said...

"Antaiji is a place where such people can practice lots and lots of zazen. Not everybody has to, or wants to do that. That's OK, says Muho."

Yes, it is OK, said Muho, to do 30 minutes a day of relaxing zazen (he did use the word "relax" in there somewhere), but...that's not the same as devoting your life to (the great matter/the truth/the way...He didn't use those words, but that's what I assumed he meant from the words he did use, which I've forgotten).

captcha = musap. ooowa!

Mysterion said...
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R said...

Completely wrong, fundamentally.

(perhaps could be true of some monasteries, but that is mainly and significantly beside the point)

a few points by R (1/2) said...

- As for what Osho is saying on e’s link @ 3:45 pm, - some of the things are right and some are wrong.


First, - one point O seems to miss completely, - is that the Christ referred to is that which known in Christianity as the Holy Spirit. Steiner refers to it by that name, sometimes at least, - that is what the question is about, though the questioner seems not to be aware of what Steiner is talking about here either; - and it may be that Steiner is wrong in calling the Holy Spirit (which according to him is a great cosmic being) that, but it is quite clear that Osho is talking bullshit.

With all due respect.

Or without.


Second, - a quote:

In a Zen monastery, everything has to be respected absolutely; even rice and wheat, stones, everything has to be respected. One has to be continuously careful and aware. Not even a grain of rice can you find in a Zen monastery Lying here and there. You have to be respectful. And remember, that respect has nothing to do with Gandhian economics. It is not a question of economy, because Gandhian economy is nothing but rationalized miserliness. It has nothing to do with miserliness. It is a simple respect for everything, absolute respect.

This was disrespectful. This is the original idea of the Upanishads where seers have said, "ANAMBRAHMA" -- food is God -- because food gives you life, food is your energy. God comes into your body through food, becomes your blood, your bones, so a god should be treated as a god. When those gods threw rice and wheat on the path where To-san came, he could not believe: "Who has done this? Who has been so careless?" A thought arose in his mind, and the story is that gods could see his face for a single moment, because for a single moment the 'I' arose in a very subtle way: "Who has done this? Something has gone wrong."
”.


- Whoever has been in a Zen monastery can tell how serious this is. - Osho assumes the questioner has not been and spreads Bullshit (and I really don’t like to use the word that much) in what seems to be a usual manner.

a few points by R (2/2) said...

Thirdly, - two quotes:

If logic helps to know matter, something like a Zen koan, something absurd, illogical, will help you to go in: faith, trust, love, maybe; but logic, never. ”.

… and I say, right or wrong, all thinking is wrong. Thinking as such is wrong; no-thinking is right. ”.


- I suppose many know what Dogen, who may be about three to five times more serious that Osho, (or maybe a lot more than that) would say to that. Harry or 108 might go to the trouble of explaining. I won’t.


I also severely doubt Steiner ever said - “By … we are able to lose our egos and find our 'i'”. - It seems like mixing things Steiner says and Eastern teaching. I never recall Steiner anywhere talking about losing your ego. - He may have been wrong about that, but he did not dispense Bullshit as might be claimed.


- This is of course not a complete summery relating to what Osho says, this is just to point to how seriously it can be taken. He also seems to be severely wrong about the circumstances that led to departure of the Anthroposophical movement from the Theosophical movement.

I do not doubt that Osho is a true teacher. But I have often thought that I couldn’t think of one less serious than him.

He seem to have been attracting people like insects, But had he ever been able to have a Dharma heir?

btw said...

In case anyone does know the answer to the last question, I’d be happy to know, (+ a source - if possible) and of course the last [two] is only interesting to whoever is reading e’s link.

kcm said...

Soulagent79 way back up the thread said "Rebirth is impossible simply because the world's population keeps on growing."

Several have already covered the aspect of "new souls", so I won't dwell on that. But there is another possible way in which rebirth/reincarnation could be consistent with an exploding human population ... and that's if the "soul" (or whatever you like to call it which is transmitted onward) isn't transmitted intact; it could divide into a myriad of pieces each of which can seed a new incarnation.

To make it more complex it also seems not inconceivable that a "piece of A" could combine with a "piece of B" when generating the new incarnation. In other words divisible "souls" and re-combinable pieces.

I've never seen this idea discussed anywhere, but intuitively it seems to me a possibility. It would certainly explain the thousands who claim to have been Cleopatra or Henry VIII.

Deeply non-zen, of course!

john e mumbles said...

Ran, As far as I know, Osho had no "Dharma heirs." His was more of a classic Hindu-style enlightenment experience. I suspect when he talked of Zen or Christianity, or whatever, he was speaking from the place of his own unique realization.

I met some disciples in Oregon shortly after his death, and they seemed adrift, without plans.

124 said...

kcm, - the “several” who “have already covered the aspect” were not speculating.

And as for “the thousands who claim to have been Cleopatra or Henry VIII” - that’s a point where a very simple Mysterion style explanation could be right.

Loonies and cons.

e said...

Hi R,
"In case anyone does know the answer to the last question, I’d be happy to know, (+ a source - if possible)..."

If you can read german, then you should look here:
Anthroposophie in Deutschland

page 151

Maybe the details in Oshos talk are not exact, but he smelled what Steiner was about.

Osho doesn't condemm thinking, but you know what he meant, aren't you?

The new anthroposophists in germany are trying to mix it with Wilber and Cohen, thats the people they can relate to, it is all bullshit. Come back on earth.

Anonymous said...

"Deeply non-zen, of course!"

Well sure. But it's all good. Deeply Zen is just an combination of words anyway. Even Muho lets his hair down sometimes.

john e mumbles said...

Here's Osho's account of his enlightenment:

http://www.messagefrommasters.com/Life_of_Masters/Osho/Osho_enlightenment_experience.htm

Still on said...

It’s not about the details in Osho’s talk being exact or not, but about his habit of spreading bullshit. The spirit in which he speaks.

Papa-ji once where there are 500 people there has to be a fraud. - “Where do find 500 people with the will for the truth?” - Well of course you don't. You know how many Osho had. - I think that’s what he was about. Though I don't think he meant that Osho was a fraud.

As for the quotes about which you say - “Osho doesn't condemn thinking, but you know what he meant, aren't you?” - it doesn’t seem like you get what I’m saying. - This is a very shallow silly approach; - with such an attitude it’s not surprising he never had a disciple who became a master.

I can’t read Germen.

And if some stupid Anthroposophist is trying to mix it with Wilber, it might mean he does not know jack shit, it does mean Steiner is wrong.


And I’m not really in to convince you.

As Steiner said, we should not waste time on conflict and argument. He said “we” (- i.e. - he and his disciples) should speak to those who have the heart and mind for Anthroposophy.

You seem to convince me Brad was right. That one can not always present the truth as it is to all. I just hope others don’t follow your ideas about Anthroposophy. I am familiar with it in a way that most of what you might be about is quite meaningless. - In the page you refer to @ 12:27 pm it says Steiner “did not believe in biological Evolution”. - (I did not read much) I suppose “biological Evolution” means the theory of natural choice. - Well, no true teacher would believe in that. - Osho included and brad included. - And your own teacher, assuming you have one, too. - Whatever they may tell you.

And most “Zen” teachers are true teachers. - The notorious “BG” and “Rama” are exceptions. Though your reaction makes it quite clear why they won’t state the fact.

I came across completely different criticism of Steiner on different grounds, which I do take to be true, probably, but that is quite irrelevant to what you are saying. I’m relating to Steiner as a natural scientist, - and though he is likely to be wrong on certain things, most of what O is saying here is irrelevant.

- ? - said...

And I do hope it’s off. I’m not enjoying the conversation. Especially when someone to whom you can’t really clarify what things are about is telling you to “get back to Earth”.

Mysterion said...
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Mysterion said...
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e said...

R,
yeah, whatever.
I don't studied Mr. Steiner. I only read his Philosophy of freedom. But I know some of his followers and visited one of their hospitals as a patient.

For me their Phil is based too much on senseless thinking. They want to understand everything, I'm too, but I know the limits, they not. They want to cross the border. In the moment they cross it, it becomes senseless for me, selfbetraying. I have to know when I don't know. Stop! Don't speculate.
Everything before this border in Steiner is ok for me, there are a lot of great ideas, I like the phenomenical method and other more everyday aspects.

And I think that is what Osho meant, with too much thinking, speculating, in philosophical style, so people think it is serious.

But whatever, I'm not an expert, thats just my impressions.

For me Steiner discredited himself with a lot of bad moves. He stole his theory together from many people and sold it as his own creation.

I'm tired now,
Bye

Mysterion said...
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Mysterion said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

Your over-input ruins this blog comment section, Mysterion. Show some consideration.

Anonymous said...

And all this time I thought that it was the anonymous trolls that were ruining the comment section.

anonymous anonymous said...

M,
Reincarnation is a matter of belief no different in than the Catholic belief in heaven and hell.
There is no serious scientific work being done there. Two or three crackpots and that's it. It's a joke.

Anonymous_Anonymous_Anonymous said...

Anonymous.

Mysterion said...

Anonymous anonymous anonymous said...
"M,
"Reincarnation is a matter of belief no different in than the Catholic belief in heaven and hell."

Some Buddhists think 'hell' is the place of shadow and light while 'heaven - re-branded nirvana/nirbana' is a place of light sans shadow. (e.g. Jodo Shu, Jodo Shinshu)

To date, reincarnation is a possibility that has not yet been eliminated in the thought process. One point being - "If we 'trash the earth' and are reincarnated into our own trash, then you have an argument for cleaning up our own trash."

I would not exactly classify the medical college of the University of Virginia as "Two or three crackpots..."

To begin with, there are more than two or three of them (drumroll, rimshot). And then, there is the catalog of 2,500 investigations.

OBIT

So now he knows (or not) more than you and I.

In scientific terms, there is FAR more historical evidence supporting reincarnation than there is historical evidence supporting the myth of christ.

I believe in neither.

john e mumbles said...

"You'll forgive me in a year or so, I hope, when you see the above article reworked into part of a book."

I don't know whether or not I'll forgive you, Brad, or if you give a single shit about my forgiveness anyway, But...

If you are going to incorporate "Literal Rebirth" (a single snore IMO) into a new book, may I suggest that a 1st person narrative chronicling the last few years jetting around the globe to locales mostly unbeknownst to most of the rest of us here staring at the random wall of our respective abodes, rocking your persona as Zen Master Deluxe would be of waay more sensational interest to the average entertainment starved readership?

Just a thought...

Mysterion said...

p.s. Brad knows that he is free to use my crackpot comments - attributed or otherwise - providing he captures them before I delete the comments.

I like to illustrate and explain the impermanence of everything by deleting all but my most basic comments after they have been aged a week or two.

ga-sho-dang-so
Chas
aged 63 (sigh!)

Khanda six said...

None of you seem to understand litteral rebirth at all.

When the kamma one has accumulated in this lifetime pulls one down into the animal realms one can often experience litteral rebirth.

If one has thought and behaved with feline ferocity towards one's fellow sentient beings, the result will be in attune with the cause. After appropriate time spent in the bardo regions one will be born into a life of preening and licking oneself and chasing vermin such as mice and lizards to eke out your existence. Upon rebirth, you will usually find yourself surrounded by sibling felines. This is the meaning of litteral rebirth as expounded by the ancient ones.

Mysterion said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
john e mumbles said...

Shrubbery! Shrubbery!!

THOMAS AMUNDSEN said...

I'm interested to hear where Dogen claims that reincarnation was not taught by the Buddha and actually injected later. I haven't read all of the Shobogenzo, but the portion of it that I have read makes explicit references to rebirth, past lives, and the intermediate state.

Some of the other commenters here have said things like "who cares." The thing is that while you can say it doesn't matter and you can't know, if you take the stance that rebirth is a fact, it does matter and many people do claim to "know". It matters because you will have to live through the consequences of your karma from past lives, which will cause you suffering. And, whether you believe it or not, other people do claim that they actually do know about the afterlife because of meditative experiences.

So, you can say that people who believe in rebirth are acting out of blind faith, but that is not always the case. There are people who claim to have seen the other realms described in the sutras during meditation. And those who, through meditation, can remember dying and going through the intermediate state, etc.

cabbage said...

The Master gave the following talk:

"There are many people in this world who are desirous of studying the Law, but they stray because they fear that this is the period of the Latter Degenerate Days (mappo), and that people are depraved. Finding themselves unable to practice rigorous religious austerities, they take the easier way of relying on the karmic conditions and expect to attain their satori in the coming reincarnation. This kind of thinking is based on completely mistaken assumptions. <a href="http://www.sp.uconn.edu/~gwang/id117.htm>source</a>

he's not dissing reincarnation, he's dissing errant thinking (e.g. no need to practice "rigorous religious austerities.").

Anonymous said...

Gotama Buddhas stated more than once that his teaching was about ending rebirth.
since there is no real person there is no rebirth. but to the degree we think we are a person there is rebirth.
so Samsara may be an illusion and the seperate individual is an illusion too. but within the delusion of samsara there is a seperate person and an illusion of that person rebirthing. so rebirth is a real or false as this self is. a relative truth, a relative reality.

Anonymous said...

Sorry, you don't come back as Angelina Jolie's underwear.

Mysterion said...

Looking for the tabernacle [body] maker,
through the many cycles of birth.
And in not finding him,
painful are the cycles of birth.

No more, maker of tabernacles [embodiments],
for you [Mara] have been seen.
You shall make my tabernacle [body] no more.

The rafters [ribs] are broken
the ridge-pole [spine] is sundered
the mind [understanding] approaches the Eternal.

[For] I [now] understand peace is the extinction of desire.
Dhammapada - verses 153 & 154

Mysterion said...

Nowhere is it more obvious that Paul is quoting the Buddha than in 2 Corinthians 5:1.

1. For we know that if our earthly house of this tabernacle were dissolved, we have a... house not made with hands, eternal in (nirbana) the heavens.
4. For we that are in this tabernacle do groan (suffer), being burdened (with suffering).

Anonymous said...

"I don't care about the psychological hang-ups of privileged white people."

Barry Graham - 1-2-11

Anonymous said...

I've come back as a comment.

Anonymous said...

anonymous anonymous said...

"Reincarnation is a matter of belief no different in than the Catholic belief in heaven and hell.
There is no serious scientific work being done there. Two or three crackpots and that's it. It's a joke."


...and thus did s/he show total ignorance of noetic research.

anon #108 said...

From Bendowa ("A Talk About Pursuing The Truth") by Dogen (abbreviated):

'[Someone] asks, “It has been said that we should not regret our life and death, for there is a very quick way to get free of life and death. That is, to know the truth that the mental essence is eternal. In other words, this physical body, having been born, necessarily moves toward death; but this mental essence never dies at all...Therefore the body is just a temporary form; it dies here and is born there, never remaining constant. [But] the mind is eternal; it is unchangeable in the past, future, or present...when this body passes, they enter the spirit world...Therefore we should just hasten to understand the principle that the mental essence is eternal....The doctrine I have expressed like this is truly in accord with the truth of the buddhas and the patriarchs, is it not?”'

Dogen's answer coming up...

anon #108 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
anon #108 said...

Dogen's answer (abbreviated):

'I say: The view expressed now is absolutely not the Buddha’s Dharma; it is the view of the non-Buddhist Senika.
According to that non-Buddhist view, there is one spiritual intelligence existing within our body...When this body dies, however, the spirit casts off the skin and is reborn on the other side; so even though it seems to die here it lives on there. Therefore we call it immortal and eternal. The view of that non-Buddhist is like this...Knowing that this [wrong view] is just the wrong view of non-Buddhists, we should not touch it with our ears...So remember, in the Buddha Dharma, because the body and mind are originally one reality, the saying that essence and form are not two has been understood equally in theWestern Heavens and the Eastern Lands, and we should never dare to go against it...How could we say, on the contrary, that the body is mortal but the mind is eternal? Does that not violate right reason? ...Moreover, even if we wrongly imagine the understanding that “mind becomes eternal by getting free of the body” to be the same as the buddha-wisdom that is free of life and death, the mind that is conscious of this understanding still appears and disappears momentarily, and so it is not eternal at all. Then isn’t [this understanding] unreliable? We should taste and reflect. The principle that body and mind are one reality is being constantly spoken by the Buddha Dharma. So how could it be, on the contrary, that while this body appears and disappears, the mind independently leaves the body and does not appear or disappear? If there is a time when [body and mind] are one reality, and another time when they are not one reality, then it might naturally follow that the Buddha’s preaching has been false...That being so, how could we divide this one reality into body and mind, or into life-and-death and nirvana?'

- Usually quoted as evidence of Dogen's view of literal rebirth/reincarnation.

anon #108 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
anon #108 said...

- Bendowa excerpt from the Nishijima/Cross translation of Master Dogen's Shobogenzo, available online here:

http://www.numatacenter.com/digital/dBET_T2582_Shobogenzo1_2009.pdf

All 4 volumes availble here: http://www.numatacenter.com/default.aspx?MPID=81

R said...

Regarding SM @ 12:21 pm:

It is as if SM didn’t read my comment he’s quoting. It seems I made myself quite clear, but anyway - Mysterion (hereby “Charles”) quotes - “the Christ referred to”, but is talking about the use of the word in general. I was talking about the way Steiner uses the word and it is as I said. Though sometimes he uses the word in the common way too, as far as I remember. I have not read enough of his writing to tell how frequent each is. (nor do I intend to, btw)

So what Charles says is all irrelevant, as it seems from the little I’ve read.

+ There is one point about which he is wrong I wanted to note earlier: -

“Mashiah” (or however you Romanize it - “משיח”) does not explicitly mean “anointed” or “anointed one”.

- That would be “Mashuah”. (“משוח”) As you know - I can speak Hebrew better than English. “Mashiah” could mean “anointable” but this would questionably be the meaning. Though it undoubtedly has to do with the word root and the idea of being anointed.

+ said...

“Christ” is not always “משיח” in Hebrew in the Bible. Though I think I could only think of one place where it is not, and it is translated from Greek there.

(- i.e. in the New Testimony)

R said...

@ 12:27 Charles is again wrong:

The Hebrew word for “Spirit”, as he seems to know, - is “רוח”.

“רוח” means wind or spirit. (- “air” - as somewhere claimed, is wrong)

“רוח אף” - lit. “nose wind” - could be rarely used metaphorically for the out breath.

However - claiming that spirit [in Hebrew] means breath is 95% rubbish, (typical, it seems) and almost 100% untrue.

Particularly if that is meant with regard to the Holy Spirit.

The Hebrew word for “breath” is “נשימה”. (- “neshima”)

And the reference to Ecclesiastes 12:7 is again irresponsible and stupid. The “רוח” there simply means “spirit” and “נְתָנָהּ” simply means “has given it”, - nothing to do with either the spirit or the breath. (- though it says - “the God” - rather than - “God”, which the translation doesn’t seem to give)


At the same time it is true that the word spirit is not completely disconnected from the breath, as an evident expression of life, - mainly. A fact our aforementioned colleague is far too stupid to interpret, in his present state.

Though there is a cure for stupidity, - reincarnation. Charles is not truly lost.

+ said...

- As for the reliability and worth of his links, - (- in general - i.e.) I’v had a look at #3 (- “Vivifying power”) on the first link he supplies, - referring to Genesis 2:7 - and the word spirit is not even there: - “וַיִּפַּח” is “and he blew”, - (- “he breathed” there) and “נִשְׁמַת חַיִּים” is correctly translated as “breath of life”, - but there is no “spirit” there - either in English or in Hebrew.

(And btw, - it literally say “noses” rather than “nostrils”, and at the end it says a “living soul” rather than a “living being”. It also says “created” rather than “fashioned”.)

The Closer said...

You just handed mysterion enough research for his next 777 comments.




word verification: ingst (plural of angst, which describes the ongoing condition of both parties considered here here)

Anonymous said...

"You just handed mysterion enough research for his next 777 comments."

Which should get him through noon today.

OsamaVanHalen said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ran, subsequently, said...

Some people, in some ways, manage to be worse than Mysterion.

+ said...

11:41 pm mentioned “noetic research“.

I tried to have a look at what it was about:

http://hubpages.com/hub/noetic-sciences-experiments-definition-science-of-subconscious-mind-power


Basics of noetic science

Noetic science talks about the power of human thoughts affecting the real world. Our normal belief about thought is that it is simply a logical process. According to noetic theory, thoughts have weights, and since every weighted material on earth are affected by gravitational force, thoughts are also attracted by gravitation at a lesser degree than other materials.”.


- How stupid can you get?


If anybody is interested in any real form of science, with regard to what these fools are trying to investigate, - try and have a look at what Steiner was trying to do.


I’m not saying he’s all-right - but these guys are fools. - Explicitly.


Fwiw.

mis-remembering smartarse said...

"See! You can't even delete something (perhaps he didn't) without some smartarse mis-remembering it and plastering it all over the interwebs..."

108: I distinctly remember Muho using the word 'Nazi' a few times in his missing post. I read it hastily meaning to go back and read it again but never had the chance. Do you remember this? Was he referring to his own tendencies or someone else?

Mysterion said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Mysterion said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Mysterion said...

A Book Review of "Life before Life" [a PDF]

capcha = doping

anon #108 said...

"...I distinctly remember Muho using the word 'Nazi' a few times in his missing post. I read it hastily meaning to go back and read it again but never had the chance. Do you remember this? Was he referring to his own tendencies or someone else?"

Hi mis-remembering smartarse,

Now you mention it, I do believe you're right! Muho did use the word 'Nazi' a couple of times. I'm as sure as sure can be that he was referring to himself sarcastically/ironically as, allegedly, a monastic Nazi/Nazi of monasticism...or was it Zen Nazi/Nazi of zazen?...Something like that.

rex said...

Perhaps looking for differences is not the most skillful approach. To measure is to create division, division is the first step toward violence. Perhaps looking for similarities would yield more...

Anonymous said...

Mysterion has only posted 3 times so far today? He must have had a computer outage or something.

Poep Sa Frank Jude said...

It seems clear to me that obviously, the mainstream Buddhist traditions accept 'rebirth.' The Buddha most likely did as well. Mention of a subtle body that travels from body to body that has no 'self' nature abounds in the Pali Canon.

The point is, so what if this is what the Buddha believed or taught? Must one accept this in order to be an 'authentic' Buddhist? Who says?

The perspective taken by Brad above is not as new or radical or -- heavens -- 'heretical' as many mainstreamers take it to be:

"Some modernists, such as Buddhadāsa Bhikkhu, have rejected a literal, metaphysical or ontological understanding of rebirth and given the following re-interpretation based upon the “birth” and “death” of the sense of “I” and “mine:”

'A single emergence of the feeling of “I” and “mine” is called one birth (jāti). This is the real meaning of the word “birth.” Don’t take it to mean birth from a mother’s womb. A person is born from the womb once and gets laid out in the coffin once. That’s not the birth the Buddha pointed to; that’s much too physical. The Buddha was pointing to a spiritual birth, the birth of clinging to “I” and “mine.” In one day there can be hundreds of such births. The number depends on a person’s facility for it, but in each birth the “I” and “mine” arises, slowly fades, gradually disappears, and dies. Shortly, on contact with another sense object, “I” and “mine” arise again.' (Buddhadāsa, 1994: 86)

Buddhadāsa also agrees with the understanding that it is clinging, specifically clinging to “I” and “mine,” that is dukkha:

'Anything that has no clinging to “I” or “mine” is not dukkha. Therefore birth, old age, sickness, and death, and so on, if they are not clung to as “I” or “mine” cannot be dukkha. Only when birth, old age, sickness, and death are clung to as “I” or “mine” are they dukkha…. Only when there is clinging to “I” or “mine” do they become dukkha. With the pure and undefiled body and mind, that of the Arahant, there is no dukkha at all.' (Buddhadaasa, 1994: 17)

Such an understanding seems more life affirming in that it denies that life is inherently dukkha, and by establishing cessation within life and not as some transcendent realm."

http://zennaturalism.blogspot.com/2009/07/meaning-of-duhkha-for-zen-naturalism.html

Anonymous said...

According to this logic, mysterion and ran have gone through about 1,000,000,000 lifetimes already this morning.

Anonymous said...

This is the nub of the jist:

As Mr. Choprah has learned, people will pay good money to be told by a religious authority figure that they will live forever. People have paid damn good money to hear that from religious authority figures for a very long time and in cultures across the globe. It is quite a reliable strategy for making a living.

This is the Up and the Down of it, the yin and the yang, Form, Emptiness, yada yada..oh wait those are the same.

Zenleo... I'm too lazy to log in

Anonymous said...

Just like Muslims and Christians get their lives and Cultures all messed up
by trying to follow ancient texts to the letter and argue about what they mean:
Just like that trying to follow Dogen's ancient writing turns into a big rotten mess.
But hey! Guidelines are necessary in these endeavors so if you have to pick someone
I'd say go with Alan Watts or Krishnamurti... I do like your writings Brad but I feel
you are in that same trap by holding Dogen up as the crème de la crème ...

Cheers

Zenleo... still too lazy to log in

Mysterion said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Mysterion said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Shonin said...

THOMAS AMUNDSEN said...

Some of the other commenters here have said things like "who cares." The thing is that while you can say it doesn't matter and you can't know, if you take the stance that rebirth is a fact, it does matter and many people do claim to "know". It matters because you will have to live through the consequences of your karma from past lives, which will cause you suffering.

The problem with the argument 'X might be true therefore you should act as if it was true or at least take it seriously' is that Y might be true, Z might be true, XA might be true, XB might be true and so on. There are an unlimited number of things that 'might be true' however something is needed to lift a hypothesis out from this background noise of speculation. And that something is evidence, and the hypothesis needs to be coherent. That doesn't seem to be the case with Literal rebirth.

And, whether you believe it or not, other people do claim that they actually do know about the afterlife because of meditative experiences.

Some people believe they are Jesus or John the Baptist.

So, you can say that people who believe in rebirth are acting out of blind faith, but that is not always the case. There are people who claim to have seen the other realms described in the sutras during meditation. And those who, through meditation, can remember dying and going through the intermediate state, etc.

Visions and apparent memories are not reliable evidence of things of this earth let alone what happens after we die. Have you heard of False Memory Syndrome? Visions of astral travel etc are only proof that humans are imaginative.

Anonymous said...

The possibility of reincarnation
(in the same condition or worse)
is the only reason I have not
yet committed suicide.

Fr. RosiCross said...

Will Shakspur voiced a similar thought:

To be, or not to be: that is the question:
Whether 'tis nobler in the mind to suffer
The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune,
Or to take arms against a sea of troubles,
And by opposing end them? To die; to sleep;
No more; and by a sleep to say we end
The heart-ache and the thousand natural shocks
That flesh is heir to, 'tis a consummation
Devoutly to be wish'd. To die, to sleep;
To sleep: perchance to dream: ay, there's the rub;
For in that sleep of death what dreams may come
When we have shuffled off this mortal coil,
Must give us pause; there's the respect
That makes calamity of so long life;
For who would bear the whips and scorns of time,
The oppressor's wrong, the proud man's contumely,
The pangs of despised love, the law's delay,
The insolence of office and the spurns
That patient merit of the unworthy takes,
When he himself might his quietus make
With a bare bodkin? who would fardels bear,
To grunt and sweat under a weary life,
But that the dread of something after death,
That undiscover'd country from whose bourne
No traveller returns, puzzles the will
And makes us rather bear those ills we have
Than fly to others that we know not of?
Thus conscience does make cowards of us all
;
And thus the native hue of resolution
Is sicklied o'er with the pale cast of thought,
And enterprises of great pith and moment
With this regard their currents turn awry,
And lose the name of action.
source

Prospero said...

"Thus conscience does make cowards of us all"

And yet _ _ _, who seems to have no conscience, slinging arrows of misfortune and kicking against the pricks in his path without regard to his own obvious reactive stupidity, is indeed a coward.

If he said such things as he has here to an actual person's face his ass would thus be summarily thrashed.

Anonymous said...

?

Anonymous said...

WTF?

There's some weird post deletion
phenomenon going on whereby your
post appears for about one minute
ant then disappears.

Anyone know what's going on?

Mysterion said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

If I have to be reincarnated,
please let it be with
a friend.

Mysterion said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

"...your post appears for about one minute and then disappears."

It's simply a demonstration of the transitory nature of all things.

Do not get too attached--nothing endures. :D

Mysterion said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Brad Warner said...

The problem is that what we mean by the term "literal rebirth" may be something completely different from what Gotama and even Dogen referred to.

For one thing, the subject tends to be highly exciting to contemporary westerners. They grab onto it and run with it in a way I don't think Gotama or Dogen's audiences did.

In fact, I'd venture to suppose that Dogen's audiences were more prone to get over-excited by the concept of rebirth than Gotama's were. Perhaps it's a historical trend.

Nowadays people in the US and Europe just go bonkers when someone mentions anything to do with rebirth. I believe this is a key point.

Anonymous said...

Godzilla from the previous post was weak!

Anonymous said...

Lets hope his holiness the Dalia Lama doesn't read this posting!

e said...

Mysterion

The Nazis were against Steiner and his Waldorfschools because the Anthrop. were thought of as their rivals, who shared a lot.

One of the guys of Weleda run a herb garden in a KZ and did other cruel things
Anthroposophy and Ecofascism

R to BW @ 9:30 pm said...

- “The problem is that what we mean by the term "literal rebirth" may be something completely different from what Gotama and even Dogen referred to\”.

I can’t see in what way you could mean that, but I don’t see what the “literal” is there for in the first place.

- “In fact, I'd venture to suppose that Dogen's audiences were more prone to get over-excited by the concept of rebirth than Gotama's were”.

I don’t see any basis to suppose Dogen's audiences were excited by it at all. The idea of the alternative possibility, (of the non-existence of reincarnation) never seemed to occur to them [or to Dogen] at all. I’ve referred to this before.

(and “mean” on line 4 is meant as mean sincerely or seriously, not as uttering bullshit for the masses, KWIM?)

Edit said...

Line 5 (or 6 if you count the space line) rather than line 4

+ said...

- “Nowadays people in the US and Europe just go bonkers when someone mentions anything to do with rebirth.”.


- “My little China girl, -
You shouldn't mess with me,
I'll ruin everything you are: -

(You know)

- I'll give you television,
- I'll give you eyes of blue,
- I'll give you men who want to rule the world.
”.


source

200 said...

Harry?

john e mumbles said...

"...Nowadays people in the US and Europe just go bonkers when someone mentions anything to do with rebirth. I believe this is a key point."
-Brad @ 9:30 PM

It's all about the stuff. The stuff you think you "own." And the primary source of materialism is the illusion that one is in possession of the body.

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