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I am just beginning and in need of help and advice on rebirth.

I'm struggling for direction in life. I felt a connection with Buddhism in my day to day life and decided to pursue it further, In the hope it would help me connect to the universe in the way I crave. I'm struggling with the life, death rebirth concept. Before I take my next big step I need to know if my beliefs could be accepted.

I believe heavily in cause and effect but I am struggling with the concept of rebirth. I believe that when I die, my mind dies with me. I am willing to accept that my mental energy may live on but not in the way I have read about.

Please bear in mind I am not saying I categorically do not believe in rebirth I'm just saying my interpretation of it is probably not of the norm. I am concerned this will hinder my progress.

I believe that my energy will not move to another being after I die, but I believe that the way I treat people and the good I do in my short time on earth will live on, although my body is gone I believe that in some way I will live on in the people I have encountered in life. The people I have done good and the people I have done bad.

I feel I need to find a community as many people do not share my opinions and I find a lot of the things I believe marry up with that of the Buddhist beliefs and I want to extend I'm beliefs and build a better connection physically and spiritually with myself and my surroundings. I would like to find peace within myself and help others.

As I'm sure you can tell I am very new to this and the way I explain myself is probably not the best, my spiritual connection is lacking and I'm struggling to see the bigger picture, that I what I wish to expand on. I'm just getting to grips with things and regardless to whether the answer to my question is a yes or no I will still pursue my beliefs. Ultimately I would like to know if I can become a Buddhist and if I can become accepted within a Buddhist community.

Thank you in advance.

  • Welcome to the site. I edited the title to match or summarize the question which I think you're asking. – ChrisW Jun 24 '16 at 12:38
  • Hi Megan and welcome to Buddhism SE. We have also a Help Center with useful resources for new comers. – Lanka Jun 24 '16 at 16:09
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You don't have to believe in rebirth. Rebirth concept in Buddhism is not as simple as simple as reincarnation anyway.

It's actually better if you don't hold any blind beliefs in Buddhism since it is a find-out-for-yourself kind of religion, i.e. when you reach the proper stage you will have the insights.

It all starts from working on the trainings for morality, concentration and insight.

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Core Buddhism is the practise of morality (non-harming), meditation (concentration) & liberating insight (wisdom), which comprise the noble eightfold path. Belief in 'rebirth' is not found in the noble eightfold path.

Regardless, in Buddhism, there is no compulsion or requirement that one must believe anything; which includes the reported teachings of the Buddha. Even when the Buddha was alive, it is reported he said, even if he taught something, one should not blindly believe but to investigate & realise the teaching for oneself.

Some Buddhist communities (centres) strongly emphasise rebirth. However, one can often be part of these communities, as long as one does not actively or overtly try to subvert the teachings given there. Other Buddhist communities (centres) do not emphasis or teach rebirth & strongly emphasis the practise of meditation & the development of liberating wisdom.

Ultimately, in Buddhism (even if 'rebirth' is believed or not) the method for liberation is the same. Liberation is not reach by believing in 'rebirth'. That is why 'rebirth' is not mentioned in the core ('noble') teachings attributed to the Buddha.

  • Belief in rebirth is part of the noble eightfold path: “Since there actually is another world, one who holds the view ‘there is another world’ has right view. Since there actually is another world, one who intends ‘there is another world’ has right intention. Since there actually is another world, one who makes the statement ‘there is another world’ has right speech." --MN 60 The context makes it clear that 'there is another world' means literal reincarnation. wisdompubs.org/book/middle-length-discourses-buddha/selections/… – Adamokkha Jun 24 '16 at 19:11
  • I agree, however, that such a belief is not necessary for approaching Buddhism and should be personally investigated. – Adamokkha Jun 24 '16 at 19:13
  • MN 60 is not the "noble path". Refer to MN 117 that states MN 60 is not "noble" but is defiled with "asava" & "upadi". Further, "another world" (paraloka) does not mean literal reincarnation. The "worlds" (loka) are mental states, eg. MN 79: "Udayi, is there a world of only pleasantness? Is there a course of actions to realise that world of only pleasantness? Here, Udayi, the bhikkhu secluded from sensual desires and thoughts of demerit abides in the first jhana". AN 4.45 - "the world & its cessation are in the fathom long kaya with perception & mind". Also SN 12.44 - Loka Sutta – Dhammadhatu Jun 25 '16 at 4:33
  • The Buddha, in the passage I cited, explicitly links the belief in 'another world' to the noble eightfold path as I made clear in the first post, so denying that MN 60 is 'noble' makes no sense. If you read the passage, it is in fact clear that 'another world' means literal rebirth; read this from the same source: "...if there is another world, then on the dissolution of the body, after death, he will reappear in a state of deprivation, in an unhappy destination, in perdition, even in hell." 'Another world' is something after death, after the body breaks up. – Adamokkha Jun 25 '16 at 5:46
  • The word 'marana' (death) & 'kaya' (group;collection) do not necessarily mean what you believe. If it meant what you believe then there would be no karmic consequences in the present life. MN 117 states belief in 'other worlds' (not 'another' world) are not part of the NOBLE eightfold path. Please read MN 117 & stop arguing about your error of claiming this is 'noble'. Thank you – Dhammadhatu Jun 25 '16 at 9:43
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Welcome to the group @megan. You have done the right thing as this path depends 100% on the association with people of integrity in the Dahmma Path. At the time of Buddha, one of His main disciples, Ven. Ananda told The Buddha that 50% of the path depends on the association of Dhamma Friends, The Buddha corrected him, saying that it is depended 100% in the association of Friends in Dhamma. Whoever who wants to get into the the Noble Eight Fold Path – the road less travelled, need the company of people of integrity in the Dahmma Path who would encourage you in this path. There is a quality of the Dhamma called “Ehipassiko” (Sanskrit: Ehipaśyika "which you can come and see" -- from the phrase ehi, paśya "come, see!"). The Dhamma welcomes all beings to put it to the test by applying it to their own lives and seeing its effects.

Now you are going to wonder, as to why it is so. Even though you may not see it this way right now, as you progress in this path, you will come to realize that we are suffering from a disease of the mind. The disease of passion, hatred and delusion. And if we are to recover from this disease, we must take the essential medication called advice. That is why you need the association of Friends in Dhamma.

At times you may feel that this advice given by some is a bit harsh. At such times it is good to remember that strong advice is sometimes given to save someone from a big danger. However, if a person dislikes advice then he tries to keep away from such friends who gave advice. And ultimately, that person may come to dislike even the Supreme Buddha’s noble advice. Would a person who dislikes advice in general take delight in the Supreme Buddha’s advice? Of course he will not because the Supreme Buddha’s teachings are filled with advice. Therefore, we must learn to welcome advice. So again @megan, we are very pleased that you have joined our group. If feel that we can help you in anyway, please do not hesitate to ask us.

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