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Switch to Forum Live View No soul, no spirit. So what travels on?
2 years ago  ::  Apr 03, 2012 - 7:10AM #1
allen-uk
Posts: 25
I understand that there is no soul, no spirit, and that what I think of as 'me' is just a conglomeration of physical bits. When they stop functioning, I stop.

So what gets reborn? What is the 'thing' that mysteriously floats around the universe until it enters another being? 

And although constant rebirth is to be avoided, it is of course comforting to think (at times of crisis) "Well, it might be better next time round." Which smacks to my cynical mind of Heaven, the usual get-out clause.

So, again, what is it that keeps functioning when 'I' stop?

(None of these questions, or rather none of their answers, will deter me from trying to live a Buddhist life, which seems to me the best way to behave in this world).


Allen. 
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2 years ago  ::  Apr 03, 2012 - 2:03PM #2
Ferretling
Posts: 254

Well, that really depends on your own beliefs. Maybe everything. Maybe nothing. Maybe the energy that was in the cells of your body. Maybe the legacy of what you have done. Don't know, really. I guess it just doesn't matter. I figue, live fully in the present. Live in this life, for this life. But live with the integrity that what you do has effects that go on long past your own life.

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2 years ago  ::  Apr 03, 2012 - 3:44PM #3
allen-uk
Posts: 25

Thanks for the thoughts, ferretling.



Perhaps I should have been more specific.


What does the BUDDHA say on this matter? What does the BUDDHA say transcends our deaths?




A.

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2 years ago  ::  Apr 03, 2012 - 9:08PM #4
Bob0
Posts: 484

"Potthapada, I haven't expounded that after death a Tathagata neither exists nor does not exist, that only this is true and anything otherwise is worthless."


"But why hasn't the Blessed One expounded these things?"


"Because they are not conducive to the goal, are not conducive to the Dhamma, are not basic to the holy life. They don't lead to disenchantment, to dispassion, to cessation, to calm, to direct knowledge, to self-awakening, to Unbinding. That's why I haven't expounded them."


"And what has the Blessed One expounded?"


"I have expounded that, 'This is stress'... 'This is the origination of stress'... 'This is the cessation of stress'... 'This is the path of practice leading to the cessation of stress.'


"And why has the Blessed One expounded these things?"


"Because they are conducive to the goal, conducive to the Dhamma, and basic to the holy life. They lead to disenchantment, to dispassion, to cessation, to calm, to direct knowledge, to self-awakening, to Unbinding. That's why I have expounded them."


www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/dn/dn.0...


also www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/mn/mn.0... or www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/mn/mn.0...


Now I will address your question. I think the Buddha was quite correct in not answering such questions. To cling to the self being in some kind of form after death, other than the form of a decomposing body or the mental formations that others have of your former self would only be a cause of suffering in your own lifetime. The universe is constantly changing. When I die, that will be change and the impact my actions have made will live on through reaction to those actions, for unending time, diffused throughout the cosmos. This is what I know. To speculate on soul, life after death, etc would be only a wishful guess and the minute I attach to such unknown mental fabrications I start the suffering process.


Wishing you a small tranquil day,


Bob

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2 years ago  ::  Apr 04, 2012 - 3:13AM #5
Bob0
Posts: 484

Just a thought from the oft quoted Kalama Sutta.


"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.


www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/an/an03...


I hope this is beneficial.


Bob


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2 years ago  ::  Apr 06, 2012 - 7:28AM #6
allen-uk
Posts: 25

Bob: Thank you very much for taking the trouble to provide so much material - and even a cursory glance has already helped me understand the position.



Now tell me how I am going to find the time to read and understand all of this. Maybe I SHOULD take up prayer, after all, for a long life...




With joy and metta,




Allen.

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2 years ago  ::  Apr 06, 2012 - 1:27PM #7
Bob0
Posts: 484
Meditate and ingest small bites, one day at a time. Every now and then stop and reevaluate your actions. Are they reducing your suffering or increasing your dukkha? Do you need to make changes or are you on track? You, your parents, your family and friends, as well as your environment have spent your lifetime teaching you suffering. We all face the same hill to climb. Letting go of all the attachments doesn't happen over night. But it sounds like you are on the right path.


Best wishes,

Bob
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