If you knew about a Dhamma practitioner who strongly believes in no reincarnation or post-mortem rebirth what would be your advice to him/her?
One could "give a talk" like the Buddha gave to the Kalamas.
The Buddha pointed out here, that it is merely risky to relay on people who are not clean and pure in their ways and livelihood. One, an ordinary person, is not able to teach rightly and has his preoccupations.
"And this deluded person, overcome by delusion, his mind possessed by delusion, kills living beings, takes what is not given, goes after another person's wife, tells lies, and induces others to do likewise, all of which is for long-term harm & suffering."
Simply focus on what is skilfully and unskilfully, making clear that one not acting skilful by himself can not be easy a place to relay on, find out by yourself what leads to longterm happiness while searching for approve from the wise and then, end your teaching, after indroducing to the Brahma-Viharas, like him:
"Now, Kalamas, one who is a disciple of the noble ones — his mind thus free from hostility, free from ill will, undefiled, & pure — acquires four assurances in the here-&-now:
"'If there is a world after death, if there is the fruit of actions rightly & wrongly done, then this is the basis by which, with the break-up of the body, after death, I will reappear in a good destination, the heavenly world.' This is the first assurance he acquires.
"'But if there is no world after death, if there is no fruit of actions rightly & wrongly done, then here in the present life I look after myself with ease — free from hostility, free from ill will, free from trouble.' This is the second assurance he acquires.
"'If evil is done through acting, still I have willed no evil for anyone. Having done no evil action, from where will suffering touch me?' This is the third assurance he acquires.
"'But if no evil is done through acting, then I can assume myself pure in both respects.' This is the fourth assurance he acquires.
"One who is a disciple of the noble ones — his mind thus free from hostility, free from ill will, undefiled, & pure — acquires these four assurances in the here-&-now."
Having trained them quite good and eager, they might be able to understand the teachings on Kamma and rebirth later on better.
[Note: This is a gift of Dhamma and not meant for commercial purposes or other low wordily gain by trade an exchange with it.]
If you're a denier of traditional view on Rebirth, please read this until the end. It will make your life even more beautiful than it already is.
Please note: what follows is in no way an attempt to change your beliefs about non-existence of reincarnation.
Read the whole text until the end. Promise right now you'll read it until the end. Here it comes:
If you're a denier of traditional view on Rebirth, you hold a position regarding the afterlife. A view.
Why is that so?
If I were to ask you "Does self end after physical death for an ignorant?"
You would answer "yes".
If I were to ask you "Does self continues after physical death for an ignorant?"
You would answer "no".
By you answering in such a way, this is clear evidence that you have a view "self ends after physical death for an ignorant".
Please note that I'm not arguing that this view is a wrong view neither a right view.
There's nothing wrong with having such views. It's normal. Even Buddha had views.
You could argue that the view "self ends after physical death for an ignorant" is not really the view that you're having and you would follow with a long description of your view by providing definitions of meanings for the words 'life', 'death', 'ignorant', 'ending', 'birth', 'being', 'person', 'heaven', 'hell', etc. You could play with it, change it, cut it ... do any operation you want onto it ... but at the end, it would not be important how you would define this view of yours or which words and definitions you would use ... it would always, at the end, be a view you're having.
You could provide proofs from the suttas that self really ends after physical death ... or you could provide proofs from the suttas that there really is no death ... or you could provide proofs by quoting other dhamma teachers ... etc. You could provide any proof you want ... any interpretation you want ... any argument you want ... but at the end, all of this would not be important, because at the end, it would always be a view you're having.
AT THE END, it would always be a view you're having. Please note that I'm not arguing about the validity or falsity of this view that you're having because the validity or falsity of the view is really not the issue here.
If I were to ask you: "Do you see how you're clinging onto your view?"
(Please don't stop reading. Read until the end. It's urgent)
If I were to ask you: "Do you see how you're clinging onto your view?"
You would answer "I'm not clinging onto it."
So you say you're not clinging onto it ... Think about it. Do you really not cling onto it? You could be wrong. Even geniuses make mistakes sometimes.
If you still persist with the position "I'm not clinging onto it.", read slowly and carefully my next sentence.
If you are truly not clinging onto it, then it would be very easy for you to accept the possibility of continuation of life after physical death.
Read it again.
If you are truly not clinging onto it, then it would be very easy for you to accept the possibility of continuation of life after physical death. Right???
Did you get it? If no, read again slowly the previous sentences. (please note: this is in no way an attempt into changing your views. It is an attempt of showing the clinging behind the view.)
Now I ask you: "Do you accept that there is the possibility of continuation of life after physical death for an ignorant?"
Because you're a denier of traditional rebirth, you again would answer "no". This again is clear evidence that you have a view onto which you're clinging. If you were not clinging onto it, then it would be very easy for you to answer the question with "yes".
Did you get it?
Do you see it? You can't let go of it. You're holding onto it. Do you see?? It's a mental thing that you're holding onto. It's like some kind of mental energy or however you want to call it. It's of spiritual nature.
Whenever there's clinging onto a view, view becomes a neurosis.
Think about it. What is a neurosis? It's when somebody repeats the same pattern of dysfunctional behaviour over and over again and can't help himself stop repeating the pattern. In the same way, when clinging on a view is present, the repeating pattern is of spiritual/mental nature: You're stuck into a repeating pattern answering "no" to questions about possibility of existence of reincarnation. To a clever mind this isn't a big deal and you are completely right. What is not right is the clinging behind the behavior.
Just like I see ugly weeds slowly growing in a beautiful garden, in the same way I see this ugly clinging growing.
If I were to ask you "Do you accept there is the possibility of ending of life after physical death for an ignorant?" and you would answer "yes". And then if I were to ask you: "Do you accept that there is the possibility of continuation of life after physical death for an ignorant?" and you would answer:
- a) "no" => that would be evidence there's clinging
- b) "I don't know, but I believe 'no'" or "it seems like it's no" => that would be evidence there's clinging, but less strong than in the case of a)
- c) "I don't know", "maybe", "I need to find out" => that would be evidence there's no clinging or there's very little clinging, but there is a sure potential for clinging to arise in the future
- d) "yes" => that would be evidence there's no clinging. Congratulations!
But since you answered a) "no", that's a sign you're clinging onto a view. Whenever there's clinging onto a view, view becomes a neurosis.
Clinging is a disease. Get rid of it. Don't wait. Do it as soon as possible. You see, in reality, it's not that the view is a disease, but the clinging (onto the view) is a disease.
That's why you should not see views as something of importance to you. They are just clinging. Nothing else. Views fueled by clinging are really just disease. They look like views, but in reality, they are just clinging. A disease that should be eradicated.
Get rid of this clinging.
After reading all this, you could argue that your view "life ends after physical death for an ignorant" will cease to exist after the physical death of your body, thus you will no longer be able to cling onto it, because there would be nothing to cling onto.
That is not correct. You forgot, that even if the view ceases, craving will remain. Remember, firstly there is craving, and after craving, there arises the view.
Craving is a disease.
Just like I see ugly weeds slowly growing in a beautiful garden, in the same way I see this ugly craving growing.
It's the craving that gives raise to a view and then you cling onto it. Craving is the fuel to clinging. So even if your view ceases, this craving would remain. How do I know that it would remain? Because craving comes before clinging. So even if clinging ceases, craving remains. It cannot be any other way.
After reading all this, you could argue that craving will cease to exist after the physical death of your body, thus you will no longer be able to crave for anything.
To this I answer: surely the view will cease to exist after the physical death of your body, but how can you say that after your physical death you will no longer be able to crave for it, if even in the here & now you're not able to overcome this craving?? How can you be 100 % sure that after physical death this craving will cease??
You can't be 100 % sure! You can't know what happens after physical death! That's why you should approach your situation with urgency in the here & now! Don't loose this opportunity.
You know that craving is a disease. So get rid of it! Don't rely on faith that craving will stop after physical death! You can't know! Besides, you have nothing to loose if you get rid of this craving ... you can only gain. If you get rid of it, you'll live a happier life, in heaven, in the here & now, free from craving and clinging. So you get +1 point. Then, if after physical death there is really the afterlife, you'll attain a happy existence or even Nibanna because you'll be already free from craving! Thus +1 point. See? Get rid of this craving in the here & now. You can only profit from it, not loose.
DO NOT loose this chance. Meditate and see this craving in action. Then eradicate it. Then come back here and answer these two questions:
1a. "Do you accept there is the possibility of ending of life after physical death?"
2a. "Do you accept that there is the possibility of continuation of life after physical death?"
If you would answer sincerely with a "yes" to both questions, you will know that you're 100 % free from craving for views regarding the afterlife. +1 point for sure for you. So do it!
My advice is this is the right noble path; the path of utter impermanence (anicca) taught in SN 22.59, which resulted in the first five arahant disciples. The last words of the Buddha were: "All things are subject to vanish" (DN 16). The first words of the first stream-enterer were: "All that is subject to arising & subject to cessation" (SN 56.11) The suttas clearly state any views about reincarnation are not the noble path (MN 117).
This question is illogical because believers in reincarnation can never be Noble Dhamma practitioners because they can never view impermanence to the degree required for the fruition of dispassion (viraga) & Nibbana, as taught in SN 22.59. Instead, their minds engage in continued becoming. The Buddha condemned as blameworthy (MN 144) those that crave another 'kaya'. The Buddha called those who crave for aggregates "little children" (SN 23.2).
As for believers in reincarnation, my advice is to change religion & stop corrupting Buddhism for those with little dust in their eyes who reject the Buddha-Dhamma because of the superstition.
The suttas clearly describe the following as evil wicked defiled views:
Through his attending to ideas unfit for attention and through his not attending to ideas fit for attention, both unarisen fermentations arise in him, and arisen fermentations increase.
This is how he attends inappropriately: 'Was I in the past? Was I not in the past? What was I in the past? How was I in the past? Having been what, what was I in the past? Shall I be in the future? Shall I not be in the future? What shall I be in the future? How shall I be in the future? Having been what, what shall I be in the future?' Or else he is inwardly perplexed about the immediate present: 'Am I? Am I not? What am I? How am I? Where has this being come from? Where is it bound?'
"As he attends inappropriately in this way, one of six kinds of view arises in him: The view I have a self arises in him as true & established, or the view I have no self... or the view It is precisely by means of self that I perceive self... or the view It is precisely by means of self that I perceive not-self... or the view It is precisely by means of not-self that I perceive self arises in him as true & established, or else he has a view like this: This very self of mine — the knower that is sensitive here & there to the ripening of good & bad actions — is the self of mine that is constant, everlasting, eternal, not subject to change, and will stay just as it is for eternity. This is called a thicket of views, a wilderness of views, a contortion of views, a writhing of views, a fetter of views. Bound by a fetter of views, the uninstructed run-of-the-mill person is not freed from birth, aging, & death, from sorrow, lamentation, pain, distress, & despair. He is not freed, I tell you, from suffering & stress.