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Featured I don't think Reincarnation Makes Much Sense

Discussion in 'Religious Debates' started by DharmaCatLamp, Nov 18, 2022.

  1. DharmaCatLamp

    DharmaCatLamp Member

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    Most of my religious beliefs come from experiences and personal evidence. The sort of thing where you have an experience and then extrapolate from that to get to something else. I started worshiping Kali cause I had a pretty profound experience. I had some faith in certain practices or the idea that those practices would benefit me and they ended up working etc.

    Reincarnation is a pill I have a hard time swallowing. It's not even that it couldn't be true but every time I hear someone explain it to me or tell me about their own past lives I feel like I come away more baffled than helped. I'm not really secular but I think a lot of issues I have with reincarnation / rebirth can be summed up in this article by Doug Smith A Secular Evaluation of Rebirth – Secular Buddhist Association

    A few examples included in the article are things like the Buddha claimed to remember at least a hundred thousand past lives. This would easily put him into prehuman ancestors if we just go by the amount of years that would be involved in that. There is also the question about the trustworthiness of past life regression etc.

    You can read the article yourself if you are so inclined. Lately folks on here have been talking about reincarnation and it just always seems a bit odd to me. If we have lived thousands upon thousands of previous lives then what does that actually mean? Does that mean that not all of our previous lives were human? If that is the case were they alien or how does that work? How does an animal make any moral choices without higher brain functions. I might be able to buy that a cat or a dog might be moral on some level but a hippo has the encephalization quotient which makes me think it literally doesn't make decisions it just sort of does things. It has the simple brain to body ration of 1/2789. That is lower than a shark.

    So why believe in reincarnation? How would you answer questions about time spans and non human ancestors? Is it progressive or just something that happens?

    I am not dismissing reincarnation out of hand, studying the upanishads and tantric texts have given me experiences which make me believe in things I never would of before. I am willing to change my mind I just don't think I can say reincarnation makes any sense to me at this moment.
     
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  2. Altfish

    Altfish Veteran Member

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    It doesn't.
     
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  3. Secret Chief

    Secret Chief Leaderless Animal

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    "Firewood, after becoming ash, does not again become firewood. Similarly, human beings, after death, do not live again.”
    - Eihei Dogen, founder of Soto Zen.

    Rebirth as I best understand it is in the continuing now. I'm not expecting to come back as a frog. At best a few of my molecules will find their way into a big cat.

    (Reincarnation of a soul or a self are obviously non-starters as a Buddhist, since Buddhism denies the true existence of both).
     
    #3 Secret Chief, Nov 18, 2022
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  4. Rival

    Rival Divine Adoratrice of Amun
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    Most people do not remember their past lives so it sounds to me as though you're hanging around with folks who like to make things up. No offence! I think they may just be trying to 'follow the line'.
     
    #4 Rival, Nov 18, 2022
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  5. syo

    syo Well-Known Member

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    To me, reincarnation makes perfect sense.
     
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  6. DharmaCatLamp

    DharmaCatLamp Member

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    I mean the Buddha very clearly believed in literal rebirth. He said himself he had gone through thousands of lives.
    I mean I think they are deluded at best. Liars at worst.
     
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  7. DharmaCatLamp

    DharmaCatLamp Member

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    How so? I mean if you could answer some of the questions I posed it might help me get something I am missing if you think it is true.
     
  8. Secret Chief

    Secret Chief Leaderless Animal

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    I believe you are correct. Not all Buddhists accept literal rebirth as true, including presumably Dogen.
     
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  9. DharmaCatLamp

    DharmaCatLamp Member

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    True, Zen has a history of extrapolating their own beliefs from the experiences of long time meditators. Dogen was an exceptional mind among the soto school and I've read quite a bit of his work. His explanations often seem more naturalistic than others.
     
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  10. MikeF

    MikeF Proponent of RAEism
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    You could make that happen right now if you were so inclined. Just add a little bit of you to the cats next meal. :)
     
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  11. Secret Chief

    Secret Chief Leaderless Animal

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    They're too picky. :D
     
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  12. Quintessence

    Quintessence Tale Weaver
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    It's worth remembering that acceptance of reincarnation isn't a monolithic ideology. There are different ways of understanding reincarnation.

    It's also worth remembering non-human animals are a great deal more capable than most humans believe because the overculture has told the myth of the "great chain of being" with humans at the apex for a long time. Do some real study of non-human animal behavior and cognition, as well as that of humans. It's not as dissimilar as you might be assuming.

    It is also also worth remembering that even if these differences were as significant as speciesist humans widely like to believe, most understandings of reincarnation are not predicated on metaphysical naturalism. As such, there is no reason to understand the physical stuff of an organism's brain being a limiting (or deciding) factor in its course in life or its nature. There's the spirit or soul or its qi to consider.

    What do all of these remembrances I've presented have in common? They are all about examining the assumptions you are bringing to the table. All maps of the reality territory must grant certain assumptions to be true or to make sense. If you cannot (or do not wish to) grant those assumptions, then yeah, that map of the territory will be gibberish to you. And as much as I like to encourage people to know how to paradigm shift and see the merits of all perspectives, not everybody is into that or even capable of it. So don't sweat not getting it, much less not agreeing with it. You've already got your own ways of life, presumably, so keep to those and don't fuss it.

    Since I don't believe in reincarnation as Hindus do, I'll leave it there as I'm not convinced my particular perspective on it will be of any use to you.
     
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  13. DharmaCatLamp

    DharmaCatLamp Member

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    I mean it's not that animals aren't great and don't have a conscious it's more that i use the example of a hippo because that is an animal I find it difficult to believe is much more than animal instinct. There is reason to believe that ants for instance are self conscious and can make choicest oat least a certain extent but certain animals seem to be below that standard. The other thing that is important to remember is that in terms of religion we are usually talking about rebirth with some moral aspect to it.

    I'd rather you share your perspective cause that is kind of the point of the thread lol
     
  14. Quintessence

    Quintessence Tale Weaver
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    Fair in a fashion; I find it difficult to believe human behavior is anything more than "animal instinct" too. I don't regard humans as special, as some sort of different kind because the science just does not back that up. Humans are animals that behave like animals. Humans have a tendency to project moralizing onto everything because they are social animals for whom group cohesion is more or less essential to their survival. But it isn't an intrinsic property of the universe or something, it's an attributive projection. As such, I don't find much if any reason to include a "moral aspect" in how I understand reincarnation (or the universe in general, really).

    The type of reincarnation I accept as matter of fact is what's illuminated by the sciences (so it kind of is a matter of fact, I suppose?). We know that matter and energy are not created or destroyed - that they only transform. We also know that our planet is bound by a number of cycles. The water cycle. The nitrogen cycle. The seasonal cycle. The life cycle. And so on. Those are all reincarnation to me. When an organism "dies" it gets broken down by decomposers and "reborn" into something else. Lots of something else's, really - the land, the sea, the sky, and other life. It all gets recycled and transformed and put back into the Great Cycle as I like to call it, which is all part of the Weave (aka, the universe) as a whole. Our ancestors are literally within us. They shape everything about the world around us and are with us always. And we'll be part of the earth bones too, and a myriad of other things in time. It all recycles over and over. That's just tremendously beautiful to me. It's how the universe/reality works, and none of us would be here without these interdependent cycles of coming-to-be and passing-away of individual forms.
     
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  15. stvdv

    stvdv Veteran Member

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    Here is your answer

    No need for me to solve such questions

    You could have fooled me, until I read next quote
    You're just 28 years old...when did Buddha make his claim?
     
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  16. George-ananda

    George-ananda Advaita Vedanta, Theosophy, Spiritualism
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    I am a believer in reincarnation and will try to address some of your points.

    I don't take that too seriously and literally. If I had a dollar for everything the Buddha allegedly said........ And anyway, the Buddha is not today's common man.

    Generally I believe the path is to spend many lifetimes as human for our soul to progress through the wisdom gained from the physical spiritual experience.

    I believe there is something to many past life regressions but, yes, unwinding that is certainly uncertain. Much stronger cases are children that claim past lives and actually provide verifiable details they had no reasonable way to learn through normal channels. I've lost track of the number of compelling cases I've heard.
    I believe the normal pattern is that once we enter this human cycle we continue in human births for some extended time with no other types of physical incarnation. Animals have group souls and not individual souls yet.
     
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  17. metis

    metis aged ecumenical anthropologist

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    I know it's real as I knew a guy who died and wanted to be reincarnated as a stud, so he ended up in a snow tire.
     
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  18. Twilight Hue

    Twilight Hue Twilight, not bright nor dark, good nor bad.

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    I see reincarnation as being on the right track, but I simply don't buy the cosmic scorecard where one is awarded or punished in the next life or a soul flying and zipping around the place.

    I'm privy to rebirth rather then reincarnation in terms of practicalities associated with educated guesses and what science establishes, rather than theological and spiritual assumptions.
     
  19. syo

    syo Well-Known Member

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    You burn a paper, it becomes dust.
     
  20. Madmogwai

    Madmogwai Madmogwai

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    why do our past lives predate mankind, because we span multiple dimensions and lived lives in other dimensions that have physical bodies to enter far longer then in this dimension.

    Buddha was clear there are multiple Dimensions.
     
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