0

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?

  • I'm voting to close this question because this topic has been covered many times. – Dhammadhatu Mar 1 at 1:04
  • Here-and-now-view is one of the wrong views, DN1 – Samana Johann Mar 1 at 3:14
  • Isn't this question -- How do we really reconcile ... with speculative, unverifiable theories, such as repeated rebirths, agings & deaths? -- a duplicate of Is rebirth a delusional belief? – ChrisW Mar 1 at 11:50
1

In the quote above I cannot see any 'self-views' are subject to aging & death.

The quote about 'aging-&-death' only includes one word in common with the definition of 'birth' ('jati'). This one common word is "beings" or "satta". A "satta" is literally defined in the suttas as a "self-view", as follows:

'A being,' lord. 'A being,' it's said. To what extent is one said to be 'a being'? Any desire, passion, delight or craving for form, Radha: when one is caught up there, tied up there (visatta), one is said to be 'a being.'... Any desire, passion, delight, or craving for feeling... perception... fabrications... consciousness... when one is caught up there, tied up there, one is said to be 'a being.' SN 23.2

visatta: adjective: strongly attached; entangled.


Why now do you assume 'a being'? Mara, have you grasped a view? This is a heap of sheer constructions: Here no being is found.

Just as, with an assemblage of parts, The word 'chariot' is used, So, when the aggregates are present, There's the convention 'a being.'

It's only suffering that comes to be, Suffering that stands and falls away. Nothing but suffering comes to be, Nothing but suffering ceases.

SN 5.10

This answer to the question is not 'atheist' & 'secular'. It is what the Buddha literally taught.

| improve this answer | |
0

For those struggling to read accurately, the quote says:

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.

The quote is not:

Now what is aging and death? Whatever aging, decrepitude, brokenness, graying, wrinkling, decline of life-force, weakening of the faculties; 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; that is called death.

What is born dies. What is born according to the Buddha and what dies, is as follows:

And what may be said to be subject to birth? Spouses & children are subject to birth. Men & women slaves... goats & sheep... fowl & pigs... elephants, cattle, horses, & mares... gold & silver are subject to birth. Subject to birth are these acquisitions, and one who is tied to them, infatuated with them, who has totally fallen for them, being subject to birth, seeks what is likewise subject to birth.

"And what may be said to be subject to aging... illness... death... sorrow... defilement? Spouses & children... men & women slaves... goats & sheep... fowl & pigs... elephants, cattle, horses, & mares... gold & silver are subject to aging... illness... death... sorrow... defilement. Subject to aging... illness... death... sorrow... defilement are these acquisitions, and one who is tied to them, infatuated with them, who has totally fallen for them, being subject to birth, seeks what is likewise subject to aging... illness... death... sorrow... defilement. This is ignoble search.

MN 26

MN 26 does not refer to birth & death as pertaining to the physical body. MN 26 refers to birth & death as pertaining to "acquisitions". These acquisitions includes "beings" that cause sorrow, such as spouses & children. That "gold & silver" are included shows "birth" & "death" refer to things attached to; that are lost or stolen; causing suffering.

| improve this answer | |
0

Dependent origination is about the origin of sorrow, lamentation, pain, grief, despair and the whole mass of suffering.

Sorrow & grief do not arise from a physical corpse.

Sorrow & grief arise from the physical corpse of "my mother", "my father", "my son", "my daughter, "my guru", etc, as described numerous times in the suttas.

There must be "a being" loved/attached to that dies for sorrow & grief to arise.

"Householder, your faculties are not those of one who is steady in his own mind. There is an aberration in your faculties."

"Lord, how could there not be an aberration in my faculties? My dear & beloved little son, my only child, has died. Because of his death, I have no desire to work or to eat. I keep going to the cemetery and crying out, 'Where have you gone, my only little child? Where have you gone, my only little child?'"

"That's the way it is, householder. That's the way it is — for sorrow, lamentation, pain, distress, & despair are born from one who is dear, come springing from one who is dear."

MN 87

| improve this answer | |

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.