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RE: Rebirth - Theravada & Tibetan beliefs

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  • Yuttadhammo
    Dear Friends, Since the fire is lit and I still have yet to receive an answer, please ... This is truly the case... if there were not naama or ruupa, it would
    Message 1 of 1 , May 31, 2005
      Dear Friends,

      Since the fire is lit and I still have yet to receive an answer, please
      consider this argument:

      >>Dear Bhante
      >>Many thanks for the mail. However, I've ended up more confused. Eg,
      >>what is it that got reborn during the intermediate state, and what
      >>actually is this intermediate state - some suspended states with or
      >>without nama/rupa? If it's 'those ghostly' apparition, then there's
      >>rupa; and nama too, I would think.

      This is truly the case... if there were not naama or ruupa, it would mean
      (temporary?) nibbaana...

      >In Francis Story's book "Rebirth as Doctrine and Experience" (BPS, Kandy;
      1988), there is a chapter (XX) called "What Happens Between Incarnations?"
      where several documented cases of children who could remember their
      intermediate lives are presented. The author assisted Dr Ian Stevenson in
      his fieldwork while interviewing those children. Towards the end of the
      chapter, Story writes:
      >"We also find a curious similarity between these prenatal experiences and
      those reported by individuals who claim to have had out-of-the-body
      experiences (OOBE). Such OOBE's are called variously astral projections or
      projections of the etheric body. In Buddhism the etheric body is called
      *manomayakaya*, the mentally formed body. There is such a body, of a
      different substance from the physical body and possibly existing on a
      slightly different vibrational level...."

      My question is, if the naama and ruupa of this "OOBE" (nice acronym...)
      still exist and arise and cease, in what way is the being said to have died?

      >FYI, psychic healers identify seven layers of the human body: physical,
      etheric, astral, emotional, mental, spiritual, and divine/buddhic. One
      psychic healer told me that the physical body dies first, but it will take a
      longer time for the the other layers to perish. All of these are probably
      combinations of nama-rupa. I would think that the other layers comprise the
      5 Aggregates of the intermediate being.

      Why do we call it an intermediate being? This post seems to contradict
      itself, saying first that the "other layers" of this existence have yet to
      perish, and then talking about an intermediate being, as though one had
      already died. If the being had truly left its last life behind, we would not
      be told to be so careful with the "dead" body as we are in Pure Land and
      Tibetan Buddhism... I think nothing is proven by Stephen's most surprisingly
      lucid (and commendable) attainments - according to the Theravada, I would
      say that those beings have not yet died. You see, it's semantics :)

      I don't think there is anything contradictory between the Mahayana
      antarabhava and the Theravada immediate rebirth... the latter seems only to
      be concerned with the last moment before "conception" in the womb. The
      Mahayana seems concerned more with the dying process...

      I think at any rate, one should be careful to note that the aggregates arise
      and cease at every moment, and that is the real death. If they arise with
      defilements, that's seven new lives in hell. If they arise with
      mindfulness, that's seven new lives in heaven :)

      As a wise Disney toy once said:

      To infinity... and beyond!

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