On this site there are some users who claim that birth & death are mental phenomena, while other people argue that it's something physical.
Contextually, the Buddha lived in a time where other sects believed in some sort of an afterlife and/or 'soul transmigration', so perhaps Buddhism borrowed these principles as well, due to social & cultural conditioning?
Today, 'Atheists' & 'secular Buddhists' read the suttas with their modern 21st century understanding, which is not open for speculative, unverifiable things.They don't put the Buddha's context into account, where these things might have been quite important.
On the other hand, the Buddha invites us to see for ourselves & to experience the teachings in the here-&-now.
Since DO is about the origination of dukkha, how do we both see & stop literal birth, death & aging? Wouldn't this be completely in conflict with the here-&-now principle mentioned above?
The aging & death part in the sutta is straightforward. To quote:
"Now what is aging and death? Whatever aging, decrepitude, brokenness, graying, wrinkling, decline of life-force, weakening of the faculties of the various beings in this or that group of beings, that is called aging. Whatever deceasing, passing away, breaking up, disappearance, dying, death, completion of time, break up of the aggregates, casting off of the body, interruption in the life faculty of the various beings in this or that group of beings, that is called death.
In the quote above I cannot see any 'self-views' are subject to aging & death. Instead, I extrapolate from that quote that indeed something physical is happening (aging, decreptitude, casting off of the body, interruption in the life faculty).
So my question is: How do we really reconcile "Here-&-now" teachings with speculative, unverifiable theories, such as repeated rebirths, agings & deaths?