Did the Buddha ever say anything like the following?

  1. I cannot prove that there is no rebirth with deduction alone
  2. I cannot prove that there is no rebirth with induction alone, because I have never seen someone be annihilated
  3. So I can only prove that there is no rebirth with Inference to the Best Explanation (IBE), by science.

Actually, it makes sense to me that the death of the body is final; but I cannot say why: and so I submit that annihilation has a subjective elegance, but it is (merely) parsimonious.

  • You may be thinking too hard about this subject. Is there an actual problem in your practice for which you are seeking help? – Anthony Jan 13 '15 at 19:02
  • In case your question isn't answered, note that there are approximately 50 other questions on this site about rebirth -- perhaps one of those has answers which you might find interesting. – ChrisW Jan 26 '15 at 23:48
  • I edited your question to try to make it clearer. I hope I preserved the original meaning/intent of your question. – ChrisW Jan 27 '15 at 0:27
  • this isnt what i meant at all !! – sorta_buddhist Jan 27 '15 at 6:34
  • Now that you edited it again, I hope it is now what you meant. – ChrisW Jan 27 '15 at 8:40

Any of the above do not paraphrase anything what the Buddha said.

To further elaborate, Buddhist view on Anatta is:

  • There is no solid core as everything in the physical and metal structure is changing and not permanent
  • There is nothing that you can absolutely control
  • Hence there is nothing worthy of identifying as oneself as this is not completely in your control and you cannot rely on it as it is changing

In contrary contemporary Hindu view was:

  • There was some small internal part which persists between lives
  • The 5 aggregates are self
  • Some or one of the aggregate is self
  • etc.

Regarding identity view, it is any perception, notion, thoughts or view on self:

  • Result in misery when there is a negative / positive evaluation or divination from the view and reality
  • Abandoning such notion, perception, thoughts and view as opposed to clinging to the them and building expectations result in you coming out of misery

For ease of translations all this concepts are summarily is translated to the English sometimes as non - self when it comes to Annatta.

So starting with logical reasoning by replacing the actual meaning of the English rendering of the word taking its literal English meaning leads to flawed logic.

  • sorry but while this may be psychologically helpful, it doesn't answer the question ! i am voting down ha :) – sorta_buddhist Jan 13 '15 at 11:28
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    Suminda's answer looks fine to me. If you don't agree, you might want to clarify your position. – Anthony Jan 13 '15 at 18:58
  • What should I clarify? – Suminda Sirinath S. Dharmasena Jan 14 '15 at 4:26
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    i dunno i don't mention annata in my OP so you could clarify why you think anatta relates to questions about rebirth, especially my characterization for reasons to believe it – sorta_buddhist Jan 14 '15 at 22:27
  • @user3293056 I think that the reason why Suminda mentioned Anatta is that he tried to explain what the Buddhist doctrine of rebirth is and isn't. He said that the Hindu view of rebirth involves some kind of Atman, and that a naive translation into English implies a similar concept (rebirth of some permanent self), but he's warning that any reasoning/logic based on that concept would be flawed (because the Buddhist doctrine is of Anatta, and not of Atman). – ChrisW Jan 27 '15 at 0:53

No, I think that's not a paraphrase of what the Buddha said.

Instead the Buddha is famously reputed to have said that there is rebirth.

For example, the following are examples of suttas in which he talks as if he had direct (supernatural) knowledge of rebirth.

When teaching the path to awakening to others, he defined the four stages of awakening achieved by the path in terms of how many rebirths remained for those who reached them: up to seven for those reaching the first stage; one return to the human world for those reaching the second; rebirth followed by total liberation in the Pure Abodes for those reaching the third; and no rebirth for those reaching the fourth (AN 3.86). On occasion, when one of his disciples who had not reached full awakening passed away, he would comment on the disciple's rebirth — as when Anathapindika the householder, after his passing, appeared to the Buddha as a heavenly being (MN 143). When any of the Buddha's fully awakened disciples passed away, he would state that one of the amazing features of their passing was that their consciousness could no longer be found in the cosmos. Rebirth, he said, happened to those who still had clinging, but not to those who didn't (SN 44.9). And one of his own amazing attainments as Buddha, he said, was that after the end of this life, the world would see him no more (DN 1).

When discussing more mundane topics, such as the rewards of generosity and virtue, he would cite the rewards they brought not only in this life but also in future ones. Even in cases where he was asked specifically to confine his discussion to the present life, he would end the discussion by referring to the rewards of these skillful actions after death (AN 5.34; AN 7.54).

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