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Zen Buddhism and Rebirth?

BunksBunks Australia Veteran
edited May 24 in Buddhism Basics

The Tibetan's talk about rebirth ad nauseam.

The Theravadan's mention it too.

However, in my brief dalliance in to the Zen world, it wasn't really mentioned?

Where do the Zen folk stand on rebirth?

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Comments

  • SpinyNormanSpinyNorman It's still all old bollocks Veteran
    edited May 24

    Here is something from Brad Warner, who is a Soto Zen teacher. However there are a number of Zen schools, and I'm not sure how representative this view is.

    "The Myth of Rebirth

    A guy named James wrote to me and asked:
    “Could you explain rebirth to me like I’m five. I’ve never been able to grasp a knowledge of this.”
    I answered him thusly; Rebirth is a myth that some Buddhists believe in. It might be loosely based on fact. But it might just be a fantasy.
    I used the word myth to define the Buddhist idea of rebirth. These days a lot of people use the word myth as a synonym for falsehood. But that’s not the proper meaning of the word. A myth is a way of explaining something for which there is no good literal explanation. A myth is not necessarily false. But it doesn’t have to accord with fact.
    A myth is not untrue because it fails to accord with fact. It can be true but not in the way scientific explanations or histories are true. A myth can be true without being factual.
    But it’s important that we don’t believe in our myths in the same way we believe in science and history."

    http://hardcorezen.info/the-myth-of-rebirth/976

    BunkslobsterFosdickperson
  • HozanHozan Veteran

    @Bunks said:
    The Tibetan's talk about rebirth ad nauseam.

    The Theravadan's mention it too.

    However, in my brief dalliance in to the Zen world, it wasn't really mentioned?

    Where do the Zen folk stand on rebirth?

    I concentrate on my meditation practise and the 8 fold path and the practical elements of buddhist practise. Personally I dont dwell much on whether rebirth happens or not, just as I also dont dwell on existence or not of god/s.
    My personal experience is that it is impossible to know these things therefore huge time spent on contemplating them is futile...this is just my humble take on it. I fully repect peoples belief in rebirth and the existence of god/s. For me following the path is the only real truth.

    DhammaDragonperson
  • BunksBunks Australia Veteran

    Interesting @SpinyNorman - especially his comment about people using the word myth as a synonym for falsehood.

  • federicafederica seeker of the clear blue sky Its better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to speak out and remove all doubt Moderator

    @Bunks said:
    The Tibetan's talk about rebirth ad nauseam.

    The Theravadan's mention it too.

    However, in my brief dalliance in to the Zen world, it wasn't really mentioned?

    Where do the Zen folk stand on rebirth?

    Without the apostrophes.

    ;)

  • lobsterlobster Veteran

    @Bunks said:
    Where do the Zen folk stand on rebirth?

    They stand ready ... for death.

    I iz so zen :p

    Bunks
  • BunksBunks Australia Veteran

    @federica said:

    @Bunks said:
    The Tibetan's talk about rebirth ad nauseam.

    The Theravadan's mention it too.

    However, in my brief dalliance in to the Zen world, it wasn't really mentioned?

    Where do the Zen folk stand on rebirth?

    Without the apostrophes.

    ;)

    Thanks @federica - I generally stick 'em in just in case :)

  • SpinyNormanSpinyNorman It's still all old bollocks Veteran
    edited May 24

    A relevant quote from this site:http://www.zen-buddhism.net/faq/zen-faq.html

    "Zen Buddhism accepts Karma and Samsara or rebirth but does not care too much about the afterlife, as what matters is the present moment, here and now."

    Actually that sounds like something that Ajahn Chah would say, so maybe Zen is really a Theravada school. :p

    Bunks
  • misecmisc1misecmisc1 I am a Hindu India Veteran
    edited May 24

    @Bunks: Do u planz to move to Japan for Zen :lol: , wait wait hold on there till I reach, we will have a coffee together and then we will talk about - no, no not Zen, but how iz the climate coming along :smile: .

    Bunks
  • Will_BakerWill_Baker Vermont Veteran

    Where do the Zen folk stand on rebirth?
    -Speaking as a zennie, it seems to me it isn't emphasized all that much...

    HozanlobsterBunks
  • BunksBunks Australia Veteran

    @misecmisc1 said:
    @Bunks: Do u planz to move to Japan for Zen :lol: , wait wait hold on there till I reach, we will have a coffee together and then we will talk about - no, no not Zen, but how iz the climate coming along :smile: .

    Getting cooler mate! Generally down to about 6 or 7 Celsius overnight and about 15 / 16 during the day.

    Talk soon.....

  • ShoshinShoshin No one in particular Nowhere Special Veteran

    Where do the Zen folk stand on rebirth?

    Moment to moment :)

    Dakini
  • DakiniDakini Veteran

    @Shoshin said:

    Where do the Zen folk stand on rebirth?

    Moment to moment :)

    That's actually brilliant! Bravo!

  • BunksBunks Australia Veteran

    @Shoshin said:

    Where do the Zen folk stand on rebirth?

    Moment to moment :)

    What about after the moment the physical heart stops beating?

  • seeker242seeker242 Zen Florida, USA Veteran

    Traditional style zen has a traditional view of rebirth. It just isn't emphasized much mostly because zen teaching isn't interested in a good rebirth, but with seeing your true nature and becoming a Buddha.

    BunkslobsterDakiniFosdick
  • paulysopaulyso usa Veteran

    this lead me speculate my true nature,possibly a horn dog and a hound dog.but on point to the topic , rebirth.hmm i i do know and dont know.thats dual ,not zen.ahh the middle way view,yes,yes.elaborate. yes we we are reborn regenerative phase,an aspect of rebirth to counteract the rate of change that our body goes through.and yes the dissolution of the body,after death,blind alley,dont know.which lead to the zen point,imo,live now.

    Bunks
  • BunksBunks Australia Veteran

    Welcome @paulyso !

  • paulysopaulyso usa Veteran

    thank you bunks for the greeting.i luv buddha-dharma talk.share and learn,it's the best.

    Bunks
  • federicafederica seeker of the clear blue sky Its better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to speak out and remove all doubt Moderator

    @Bunks said:

    @Shoshin said:

    Where do the Zen folk stand on rebirth?

    Moment to moment :)

    What about after the moment the physical heart stops beating?

    I take it the question is rhetorical....?

  • BunksBunks Australia Veteran

    @federica said:

    @Bunks said:

    @Shoshin said:

    Where do the Zen folk stand on rebirth?

    Moment to moment :)

    What about after the moment the physical heart stops beating?

    I take it the question is rhetorical....?

    No

  • BunksBunks Australia Veteran

    What happens to the mind when the heart stops beating?

  • ShoshinShoshin No one in particular Nowhere Special Veteran
    edited May 25

    @Bunks said:

    @Shoshin said:

    Where do the Zen folk stand on rebirth?

    Moment to moment :)

    What about after the moment the physical heart stops beating?

    You might find this of interest @Bunks.... Alan Watts on "Rebirth" (however he uses the term reincarnation) It goes for around 15 minutes , if you don't want to listen to all, then start at 10 minutes into the video.... :)

    Bunks
  • BunksBunks Australia Veteran

    @Shoshin said:

    @Bunks said:

    @Shoshin said:

    Where do the Zen folk stand on rebirth?

    Moment to moment :)

    What about after the moment the physical heart stops beating?

    You might find this of interest @Bunks.... Alan Watts on "Rebirth" (however he uses the term reincarnation) It goes for around 15 minutes , if you don't want to listen to all, then start at 10 minutes into the video.... :)

    Thanks @Shoshin - I love it when he says "Just as the flame is the conversion of wax into gas, so you and I are the conversion of air, and water, and light, and beef steak, and milk into.......shit"

    :)

    Shoshin
  • ShoshinShoshin No one in particular Nowhere Special Veteran

    @Bunks said:

    Thanks @Shoshin - I love it when he says "Just as the flame is the conversion of wax into gas, so you and I are the conversion of air, and water, and light, and beef steak, and milk into.......shit"

    :)

    Shit happens @Bunks :winky:

    Bunks
  • BunksBunks Australia Veteran
    edited May 25

    Gotcha!

    You, who live today, are never going to die,
    because the one that's going to die is not the you that's here now,
    and, likewise, the one that's here now was never born

    Shoshin
  • ShoshinShoshin No one in particular Nowhere Special Veteran

    There is never anything but the present...And if one can not live there...One can not live anyway !

    ~Mr Watts~ ... again :)

    Bunks
  • dhammachickdhammachick crazy Aussie BUJU Sydney, Australia Veteran

    @Hozan said:.
    My personal experience is that it is impossible to know these things therefore huge time spent on contemplating them is futile...this is just my humble take on it. I fully repect peoples belief in rebirth and the existence of god/s. For me following the path is the only real truth.

    👌👌👌

    Bunks
  • techietechie India Veteran

    @Shoshin said:

    @Bunks said:

    Thanks @Shoshin - I love it when he says "Just as the flame is the conversion of wax into gas, so you and I are the conversion of air, and water, and light, and beef steak, and milk into.......shit"

    :)

    Shit happens @Bunks :winky:

    That's the first noble truth.

    ShoshinBunks
  • techietechie India Veteran

    @Hozan said:

    @Bunks said:
    The Tibetan's talk about rebirth ad nauseam.

    The Theravadan's mention it too.

    However, in my brief dalliance in to the Zen world, it wasn't really mentioned?

    Where do the Zen folk stand on rebirth?

    I concentrate on my meditation practise and the 8 fold path and the practical elements of buddhist practise. Personally I dont dwell much on whether rebirth happens or not, just as I also dont dwell on existence or not of god/s.
    My personal experience is that it is impossible to know these things therefore huge time spent on contemplating them is futile...this is just my humble take on it. I fully repect peoples belief in rebirth and the existence of god/s. For me following the path is the only real truth.

    This is the zen approach. No beliefs, just seeing things as they are.

  • SpinyNormanSpinyNorman It's still all old bollocks Veteran

    @techie said:

    @Hozan said:

    @Bunks said:
    The Tibetan's talk about rebirth ad nauseam.

    The Theravadan's mention it too.

    However, in my brief dalliance in to the Zen world, it wasn't really mentioned?

    Where do the Zen folk stand on rebirth?

    I concentrate on my meditation practise and the 8 fold path and the practical elements of buddhist practise. Personally I dont dwell much on whether rebirth happens or not, just as I also dont dwell on existence or not of god/s.
    My personal experience is that it is impossible to know these things therefore huge time spent on contemplating them is futile...this is just my humble take on it. I fully repect peoples belief in rebirth and the existence of god/s. For me following the path is the only real truth.

    This is the zen approach. No beliefs, just seeing things as they are.

    Not just Zen.

  • SpinyNormanSpinyNorman It's still all old bollocks Veteran
    edited May 27

    @Shoshin said:

    Where do the Zen folk stand on rebirth?

    Moment to moment :)

    This idea has become fashionable, but as far as I know there isn't any support for it in the suttas or sutras.

    And what exactly is "reborn" moment to moment? You could say habit or tendencies, but that doesn't really make sense because by definition those things persist in the background and don't need to be "reborn".

    Trying to impose a contemporary view onto a traditional teaching usually means trying to bang square pegs into round holes, it's messy, misleading and confusing, and often more trouble than it's worth, IMO. Also people can get caught up in a cycle of belief and disbelief, craving and aversion to ideas. I think it is better to just put such questions to one side.

  • Will_BakerWill_Baker Vermont Veteran

    And what exactly is "reborn" moment to moment?
    -If you have a favorite spot you frequent, are you the same person each time you do?

  • SpinyNormanSpinyNorman It's still all old bollocks Veteran
    edited May 27

    @Will_Baker said:
    And what exactly is "reborn" moment to moment?
    -If you have a favorite spot you frequent, are you the same person each time you do?

    I can observe that my state of mind is continually changing, but I don't see what that has to do with "rebirth".

  • Will_BakerWill_Baker Vermont Veteran

    @SpinyNorman said:

    @Will_Baker said:
    And what exactly is "reborn" moment to moment?
    -If you have a favorite spot you frequent, are you the same person each time you do?

    I can observe that my state of mind is continually changing, but I don't see what that has to do with "rebirth".

    -For sure your state of mind will be different, but some would argue it goes deeper than that. For example, due to the passage of time your body won't be the same body from visit to visit, nor will the place be exactly the same. Nor will the context of each moment be the same as the next moment. This is due to the complex interplay of public vs. private within which we navigate each separate and distinct moment. I have heard it said: "we are reborn moment to moment," and it seems to me this is related to the above...

    ShoshinJeffrey
  • SpinyNormanSpinyNorman It's still all old bollocks Veteran
    edited May 28

    @Will_Baker said:

    @SpinyNorman said:

    @Will_Baker said:
    And what exactly is "reborn" moment to moment?
    -If you have a favorite spot you frequent, are you the same person each time you do?

    I can observe that my state of mind is continually changing, but I don't see what that has to do with "rebirth".

    -For sure your state of mind will be different, but some would argue it goes deeper than that. For example, due to the passage of time your body won't be the same body from visit to visit, nor will the place be exactly the same. Nor will the context of each moment be the same as the next moment. This is due to the complex interplay of public vs. private within which we navigate each separate and distinct moment. I have heard it said: "we are reborn moment to moment," and it seems to me this is related to the above...

    Sure, you could say we are a process rather than an entity, which is one way of talking about anatta and sunyata. But if we are just a process then there is nothing to be "reborn", so talking about moment-to-moment "rebirth" doesn't make any sense.

    I think you could talk more sensibly about day-to-day rebirth. Like when you wake up from a deep sleep, and for a short period you're not sure who or where you are, then you remember these things, and "you" are reborn, so to speak.

  • Will_BakerWill_Baker Vermont Veteran

    @SpinyNorman said:

    @Will_Baker said:

    @SpinyNorman said:

    @Will_Baker said:
    And what exactly is "reborn" moment to moment?
    -If you have a favorite spot you frequent, are you the same person each time you do?

    I can observe that my state of mind is continually changing, but I don't see what that has to do with "rebirth".

    -For sure your state of mind will be different, but some would argue it goes deeper than that. For example, due to the passage of time your body won't be the same body from visit to visit, nor will the place be exactly the same. Nor will the context of each moment be the same as the next moment. This is due to the complex interplay of public vs. private within which we navigate each separate and distinct moment. I have heard it said: "we are reborn moment to moment," and it seems to me this is related to the above...

    Sure, you could say we are a process rather than an entity, which is one way of talking about anatta and sunyata. But if we are just a process then there is nothing to be "reborn", so talking about moment-to-moment "rebirth" doesn't make any sense.

    I think you could talk more sensibly about day-to-day rebirth. Like when you wake up from a deep sleep, and for a short period you're not sure who or where you are, then you remember these things, and "you" are reborn, so to speak.

    -Many believe we are process and entity; I don't see this as being mutually exclusive. I take your point on day to day rebirth, but in the context of this thread, I was speaking to the notion of "moment to moment rebirth." When I wrote above that many zennies don't emphasize rebirth all that much, I wasn't arguing they don't acknowledge the possibility at all...

  • Rebirth is definitely in the classical Zen texts. In my school there is some reading during every retreat and the stuff is regularly mentioned.

    However, we take it more as a metaphora for what our mind does during this very life-- that is, its propensity to recreate the same states and situations over and over again. Buddhist teaching on rebirth seems to describe quite well our cyclical ups and downs, their quality, their root and the way to move beyond them.

    I don't think I know a single person who strongly believes in literal/physical rebirth. At most, I hear the "who knows what happens after we die" approach.

    Bunks
  • Will_BakerWill_Baker Vermont Veteran
    edited May 28

    I don't think I know a single person who strongly believes in literal/physical rebirth. At most, I hear the "who knows what happens after we die" approach...
    @shadowleaver, as regards zennies, with the exception of one fellow I know, who is also a dear friend, that has been my experience as well.

  • SpinyNormanSpinyNorman It's still all old bollocks Veteran
    edited May 30

    @shadowleaver said:> I don't think I know a single person who strongly believes in literal/physical rebirth.

    Sure, a lot of western Buddhists don't, hence the desire to replace it with a moment-to-moment interpretation. However the fact that it has become a popular idea doesn't mean it is valid, sensible or supported by Buddhist texts. Or even particularly useful.

    Bunks
  • JeffreyJeffrey Veteran
    edited May 30

    I don't know about Zen but I think whatever is born also dies. Which I know does not answer the question of what happens after death.

  • KeromeKerome Love, love is mystery The Continent Veteran
    edited May 31

    @shadowleaver said:
    I don't think I know a single person who strongly believes in literal/physical rebirth. At most, I hear the "who knows what happens after we die" approach.

    I believe that there is an afterlife, and that there is a kind of recycling of the mind and self. Nature and the universe are not wasteful, you see it everywhere, even the lifecycle of a leaf... it drops from the tree, falls to the ground, decomposes and becomes hummus, and feeds future trees and maybe those atoms become a leaf again someday.

    On a larger scale, hydrogen is fused in stars and in novae heavier elements are produced, which go on to become planets and living things. The life of an atom may have started as a collection of quarks just after the Big Bang, and continued to become heavier and more complex, be part of first this molecule than that. It is not wasted, part of the lifecycle of stars and planets.

    ShoshinBunksJeffreyDhammaDragon
  • BunksBunks Australia Veteran

    Thanks @Kerome - I like that.....

  • SpinyNormanSpinyNorman It's still all old bollocks Veteran
    edited June 1

    @Kerome said:> I believe that there is an afterlife, and that there is a kind of recycling of the mind and self.

    It's interesting to ponder whether consciousness is in some sense recycled, or in some sense integral to the universe.

    ( gawd, I'm sounding like Chopra now! )

    Bunks
  • DhammaDragonDhammaDragon Carpe Diem samsaric loop Veteran

    We already are living recycling parks.
    We have been, are and will be permeated and interconnected by everything that is.
    After-life? We are breathing stardust already🐉

    Hozan
  • HozanHozan Veteran

    @DhammaDragon said:
    We already are living recycling parks.
    We have been, are and will be permeated and interconnected by everything that is.
    After-life? We are breathing stardust already🐉

    Awesome @DhammaDragon !! We are breathing stardust already!! We are also made of it!

    http://news.nationalgeographic.com/2015/01/150128-big-bang-universe-supernova-astrophysics-health-space-ngbooktalk/

    DhammaDragon
  • KeromeKerome Love, love is mystery The Continent Veteran

    @SpinyNorman said:

    @Kerome said:> I believe that there is an afterlife, and that there is a kind of recycling of the mind and self.

    It's interesting to ponder whether consciousness is in some sense recycled, or in some sense integral to the universe.

    ( gawd, I'm sounding like Chopra now! )

    Well scientists have determined that there are something like 11 dimensions to existence. We can only see a few of these, it would not surprise me if consciousness was in there on a separate dimensional axis.

    HozanBunksShoshin
  • federicafederica seeker of the clear blue sky Its better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to speak out and remove all doubt Moderator

    @Kerome said:

    @SpinyNorman said:

    @Kerome said:> I believe that there is an afterlife, and that there is a kind of recycling of the mind and self.

    It's interesting to ponder whether consciousness is in some sense recycled, or in some sense integral to the universe.

    ( gawd, I'm sounding like Chopra now! )

    Well scientists have determined that there are something like 11 dimensions to existence. We can only see a few of these, it would not surprise me if consciousness was in there on a separate dimensional axis.

    Could you give us a link/reference to such a determination? I'd be interested to read up on that. As long as for the better part, it is '11 Dimensions to Existence for Idiots', that is....

  • SpinyNormanSpinyNorman It's still all old bollocks Veteran

    @Kerome said:

    @SpinyNorman said:

    @Kerome said:> I believe that there is an afterlife, and that there is a kind of recycling of the mind and self.

    It's interesting to ponder whether consciousness is in some sense recycled, or in some sense integral to the universe.

    ( gawd, I'm sounding like Chopra now! )

    Well scientists have determined that there are something like 11 dimensions to existence. We can only see a few of these, it would not surprise me if consciousness was in there on a separate dimensional axis.

    I don't know of any science pointing to consciousness as a dimension ( though there is quite a lot of pseudoscience in this area! ). I think science generally regards consciousness as an emergent property of biological organisms.

    lobster
  • ShoshinShoshin No one in particular Nowhere Special Veteran
    edited June 3
  • KeromeKerome Love, love is mystery The Continent Veteran

    A few links to get you started...

    https://www.physicsforums.com/threads/why-exacly-11-dimensions.41846/

    It's all related to M-theory, which is part of the superstrings idea which came around in the 1990's. It's of course still theoretical, they haven't exactly proved that this is the case, or justified it in terms of quantum mechanics, so saying they have "determined" it was a bit of a leap.

  • SpinyNormanSpinyNorman It's still all old bollocks Veteran

    A glimpse down the rabbit hole:

    http://rationalwiki.org/wiki/Quantum_consciousness

    lobster
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