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Existence vs. evolution

I've recently been intrigued by the concept of reincarnation and that life, like almost all other things, is a cycle, but have been held back by evolution. At one point, there was no life on Earth, and since (if I'm correct) reincarnation is the concept that a soul moves on to a new body once the body dies, and now I'm having a hard time believing in reincarnation. Can anyone clarify this for me? I also apologize in advance if my lack of understanding offends anyone, I did my best to summarize what I know about this topic.

EarthninjaHamsaka

Comments

  • BunksBunks Veteran Australia Veteran

    Hi @Nave650 - welcome!

    Do you think it's possible that life may exist in other parts of this universe or in other universes?

    Do you think these souls (mind streams) could migrate across universes to this planet and vice versa?

  • ShoshinShoshin No one in particular Nowhere Special Veteran

    @Nave650
    You might find this of interest....

    Rebirth vs. Reincarnation

    " Although these terms are often used interchangeably, there is a significant conceptual difference between the two. On the whole, Buddhists believe in rebirth while Hindus, Jains, and some Christians believe in reincarnation. Strictly speaking, reincarnation means the assumption of another body by a permanent, eternal self (the Hindu notion of atman or the Christian notion of soul). Most Buddhists do not believe in a permanent self (anatman or anatta, without enduring self) but believe human consciousness (the "I" or self) dissolves at death and that only a subtle mindstream remains. The mindstream carries with it karmic imprints from prior lives (but not memories and emotions associated with prior lives, unless the person is a highly developed spiritual practitioner, in which case reincarnation is possible) and it is this subtle mindstream that conjoins with a new life-form after death. Thus, rebirth does not mean an identifiable human being assuming a new human body. Moreover, in Buddhism, rebirth is not always accomplished in human form. Depending on karmic circumstances, a human being can be reborn as an animal or as a being in any of the upper or lower realms."

    "We didn't come 'in' to this world...We came 'out' of it!" Alan Watts

    Earthninja
  • vinlynvinlyn Veteran Colorado...for now Veteran

    I've been interested lately in whether or not time always progresses forward.

  • EarthninjaEarthninja Wanderer West Australia Veteran
    @Nave650 this question multiple answers.

    Like @Shoshin said there is a difference between reincarnation and rebirth for many people. I tend to follow the rebirth side based on Buddhists non self teachings and personal experiences.

    Basically that feeling you exist, is something that all of us have. Some call it consciousness. There is nothing unique about it, it's completely empty. Some people say that it is THIS, that migrates onto another body to experience life.
    It's not You but it's not, not you either.

    I good way of understanding is that people die and people are born right? Well they are all conscious they exist. We all have this same conscious knowing we exist. The idea is that it is this that carries on after death.

    Like a wave, life is the crest, death is the trough. They carry on and you can't have one without the other.

    Another idea is that there is a subtle awareness of consciousness. This awareness even happens during deep sleep when there is no consciousness. This awareness never dies and is never born. It simply experiences life from life to life.
    Some call it nirvana some call it god. They say we are all this.

    There is also atman and Brahman but that's more on the Hindu scene.

    There are definitely people who will say this is a pointless question because it's speculation but I would simply try and understand the difference between rebirth and reincarnation intellectually.

    Then find out for your self Experientially.

    My heart is pointing towards us being already without birth or death but it's not recognised yet.

    With metta chris
    Shoshin
  • lobsterlobster Veteran Veteran

    Where are you when deeply asleep? Not conscious? Why would anyone ask what that is like?

    Oh hi, welcome :)

  • EarthninjaEarthninja Wanderer West Australia Veteran
    @lobster because I'm trying to understand my existence. Mind is gone when deep asleep, body is not there and neither is conscious awareness. But something is still there. Something knows I was deep asleep. There is a continuum. I don't just pop into and out of existence at night and day.
  • lobsterlobster Veteran Veteran

    There is a continuum.

    A continuum that you don't remember arriving from or know when going to is your dream existence? O.o

  • ShoshinShoshin No one in particular Nowhere Special Veteran

    Earthninja
  • EarthninjaEarthninja Wanderer West Australia Veteran
    @lobster I would say the one that remembers or has memory is the dream existence. We have waking state, we have dreaming state and we have deep sleep. Which is the real state of being?

    We assume the gross waking state but I'm not satisfied with that assumption.
    There is something that is aware of all three states. It doesn't need memory.

    Hence why we can be reborn. :) we wouldn't even know.
  • HamsakaHamsaka goosewhisperer Polishing the 'just so' Veteran

    @Nave650 said:
    I've recently been intrigued by the concept of reincarnation and that life, like almost all other things, is a cycle, but have been held back by evolution. At one point, there was no life on Earth, and since (if I'm correct) reincarnation is the concept that a soul moves on to a new body once the body dies, and now I'm having a hard time believing in reincarnation. Can anyone clarify this for me? I also apologize in advance if my lack of understanding offends anyone, I did my best to summarize what I know about this topic.

    We only get offended by really stupid things around here, and this is not a stupid question. If you really want to piss people off (hey, you never know), suggest or imply you think you know something better than another member. Guaranteed to cause a riot (ie, a three page thread before Federica shuts it down). Or mention sexism in a thread, even if there's not the remotest hint of sexism. Works every time :+1:

    I can't say I 'believe' in rebirth, I have no actual memories or experiences that have given me convincing evidence. I would like to believe it, though, I find the idea appealing and it makes perfect sense with Buddhist cosmology. I don't make big life decisions based upon my incipient rebirth post death of this body I currently have. But discussing it is always interesting. Combining rebirth as an idea with evolution, now THAT is interesting.

    It makes sense to me that maybe 'awareness' is simply Life, and my billions of previous lives were as blue-green algae, multicellular swamp beings, a whale with residual limbs-cum-fins, a couple of australopithicenes, and recently, a homo sapiens sapiens.

    What a lot of people (including myself) have trouble with is how OLD life on this planet is. We're talking 3 billion years (out of 4.5 billion) where there has been some form of life, however simple, on Earth. We live for 80 or so years. We can't fathom a million years, much less 3 billion.

    There have been something like 4 or 5 mass extinctions on this planet, and only 1 or 2% of all the species of life (plants, animals, insects, sea critters) that ever existed are here in front of us now.

    Considering evolution, the 'chances' of millions or even billions of rebirths on this planet alone (much less others) is a no brainer, to me.

    Besides that, who is to say that we only live one life at a time?

    EarthninjaBuddhadragon
  • pegembarapegembara Veteran Veteran

    @Earthninja said:
    lobster because I'm trying to understand my existence. Mind is gone when deep asleep, body is not there and neither is conscious awareness. But something is still there. Something knows I was deep asleep. There is a continuum. I don't just pop into and out of existence at night and day.

    That which pops in and out is not you, right. The question that remains, "Is that which knows you slept you?"

    How is it that it literally feels like a moment ago that you slept even though many hours have passed?

    Without looking at the clock or the outside, you would have no idea how long you were out.

    Consciousness actually arises and passes moment to moment like beads. There is no continuum. It only looks that way.

    "Is it true, Sāti, that this pernicious view has arisen in you — 'As I understand the Dhamma taught by the Blessed One, it is just this consciousness that runs and wanders on, not another'?"

    "And to whom, worthless man, do you understand me to have taught the Dhamma like that? Haven't I, in many ways, said of dependently co-arisen consciousness, 'Apart from a requisite condition, there is no coming-into-play of consciousness'? [2] But you, through your own poor grasp, not only slander us but also dig yourself up [by the root] and produce much demerit for yourself. That will lead to your long-term harm & suffering."

    "Consciousness, monks, is classified simply by the requisite condition in dependence on which it arises. Consciousness that arises in dependence on the eye & forms is classified simply as eye-consciousness. Consciousness that arises in dependence on the ear & sounds is classified simply as ear-consciousness. Consciousness that arises in dependence on the nose & aromas is classified simply as nose-consciousness. Consciousness that arises in dependence on the tongue & flavors is classified simply as tongue-consciousness. Consciousness that arises in dependence on the body & tactile sensations is classified simply as body-consciousness. Consciousness that arises in dependence on the intellect & ideas is classified simply as intellect-consciousness.

    http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/mn/mn.038.than.html

    lobsterEarthninja
  • BuddhadragonBuddhadragon Ehipassiko & Carpe Diem Samsara Veteran

    I understand that Darwin complicated things for upholders of the Creationist theory.

    I can't quite see why evolution would complicate things for the Rebirth/Reincarnation upholders, though.

    After all, one of Buddhism's main tenets is that no physical or psychical phenomena can come into existence without a previous cause.
    This is because that is.

    "No god nor Brahma can be called
    The maker of this wheel of life:
    Empty phenomena roll on,
    Dependent on conditions all."

    (Visuddhimagga)

    After all, if there is a line of evolution, or matter not getting lost, but transformed, well, anything goes.

    silverHamsaka
  • DavidDavid some guy Veteran
    Is Earth the only spot in the vastness of the cosmos capable of producing sentient beings?

    I really, really doubt it.
    Hamsaka
  • EarthninjaEarthninja Wanderer West Australia Veteran
    @pegembara absolutely true. But I'm not satisfied I am just this consciousness alone.
    Because even in a state of presence. Whereby I am aware of consciousness(waking state). There is something that is aware of this state. So it must be beyond consciousness.

    I've heard it said that a light can't illuminate itself nor can a knife cut itself.

    So that which is aware of consciousness is what?

    Aaaand.... My mind can't handle this Hahahah
  • DairyLamaDairyLama Veteran Veteran

    @Earthninja said:> > Because even in a state of presence. Whereby I am aware of consciousness(waking state). There is something that is aware of this state. So it must be beyond consciousness.> So that which is aware of consciousness is what?

    In the Buddhist model consciousness is aware of the mind, not of itself.

  • DavidDavid some guy Veteran
    That which is aware of consciousness is aware of consciousness. No need to limit it with labels.
    EarthninjaNave650
  • 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

    But if you WERE to label it, what label would it bear...?
    Sometimes, labels are needed.

    lemonade and bleach, for example....

  • pegembarapegembara Veteran Veteran
    edited April 2015

    @Earthninja said:
    pegembara absolutely true. But I'm not satisfied I am just this consciousness alone.
    Because even in a state of presence. Whereby I am aware of consciousness(waking state). There is something that is aware of this state. So it must be beyond consciousness.

    I've heard it said that a light can't illuminate itself nor can a knife cut itself.

    ** So that which is aware of consciousness is what**?

    Aaaand.... My mind can't handle this Hahahah

    "You" are not this consciousness.

    What about that which is aware of "that which is aware of consciousness"?

    What is it since you mention this?

    Can your mind handle this?

    All you ever see are echoes(immediate past) or reflections or illusions. They are not you. You cannot directly see your body nor your mind because the centre is empty.

  • EarthninjaEarthninja Wanderer West Australia Veteran
    Nirvana, God, Brahman....(the mind loves trying to understand)

    Labels are tools for the mind. Labels directly mislead in this regards.
    The only reason we can't perceive emptiness is because of labels.
  • Thanks for all the welcomes everyone!

    You are right @Earthninja, this is a lot to comprehend. So many new ways of thinking, I can't decide!

    But in regards to the last comments, a phrase comes to my mind; A rose by any other name would smell as sweet.
    I don't really like labels, but as @federica mentioned, sometimes they are necessary.

    lobsterEarthninja
  • lobsterlobster Veteran Veteran

    @Earthninja said:
    lobster I would say the one that remembers or has memory is the dream existence. We have waking state, we have dreaming state and we have deep sleep. Which is the real state of being?

    <3

    One can be asleep, unconscious, have missing brain parts through accident or disease and still be real? Fantasy of continuity? How much of the brain can be removed and we are not in a coma? How much of the body fall apart and we still 'be'?

    When is the sperm or sperm plus egg a being?

    Continuity of the dream of eternity Buddhist style? Or are we just living the dream dharma?

    So I would agree. I don't remember being in a pre-death, pre-life 'being'. When dust I doubt 'being' is recallable. What the mind cooks up never ceases to amaze me ... Maybe you are alluding to another dream memory? :)

    So I tend to favour Darwin over 'thus have I dreamed'.

    Earthninja
  • JeffreyJeffrey Veteran Veteran

    I don't remember breaking a child hood friends family light post lamp thing. I am now all different cells from that time. Is it me?

    lobster
  • lobsterlobster Veteran Veteran

    Is it me?

    B) Indeed. You are working within a tradition that is sometimes more reincarnation than rebirth. How does it square with your scientific or sceptical insights?

    As a rogue tantrika I find great value in stories, visualisations and passing bodhisattvas. Great value. However I take even the sutras with a salt pinch. :)

  • EarthninjaEarthninja Wanderer West Australia Veteran
    @pegembara that's the question... There is awareness of body, mind and consciousness.

    That which is aware cannot be observed, try.
  • DairyLamaDairyLama Veteran Veteran

    @Jeffrey said:> I don't remember breaking a child hood friends family light post lamp thing. I am now all different cells from that time. Is it me?

    Genetically it's the same "you". Psychologically different of course.

    lobster
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