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  • solitaryaardvark
    Dear Venerable Monks, I am new to this group and have been contemplating this question for some time without any resolution, so thought I would pose it to the
    Message 1 of 6 , Jun 28, 2004
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      Dear Venerable Monks,

      I am new to this group and have been contemplating this
      question for some time without any resolution, so thought I
      would pose it to the Sangha:

      if there is no soul, and the self is illusory, then who or what is
      reborn (rebirth)
      and
      following on, who or what is enlightened?

      thank you
      Scotty
    • Bhikkhu Pesala
      ... reborn (rebirth) and following on, who or what is enlightened?
      Message 2 of 6 , Jun 28, 2004
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        You asked:

        >> If there is no soul, and the self is illusory, then who or what is
        reborn (rebirth) and following on, who or what is enlightened? <<

        Excuse me for replying with cut and paste, but this question is so often
        asked. The following is an extract from the Debate of King Milinda.

        Transmigration or Rebirth?

        "Is there any being who transmigrates from this body to another?"
        "No there is not."

        "If that is so, would there not be an escape from the result of evil
        deeds?"
        "Yes there would be an escape if they were not to be reborn, but there
        would not be if they were to be reborn. This mind and body process commits
        deeds either pure or impure, and because of that kamma another mind and
        body process is reborn. Therefore this mind and body is not free from its
        evil deeds."

        "Give me an illustration."
        "If a thief were to steal another man's mangoes, would he deserve
        punishment?"
        "Indeed he would."

        "But the mangoes he stole were not those that the owner had planted; why
        should he deserve punishment?"
        "Because those that he stole resulted from the others."

        "Just so, O king, this mind and body process commits deeds either pure or
        impure, and because of that kamma another mind and body process is reborn.
        Therefore this mind and body is not free from its evil deeds."
        Where is Kamma Stored Up?

        "When deeds are committed by one mind and body process, where do they
        remain?"
        "The deeds follow them, O king, like a shadow that never leaves. But one
        cannot point them out saying, `Those deeds are here or there', just as the
        fruits of a tree cannot be pointed out before they are produced."
      • solitary aardvark
        Hello Bhikkhu Pesala (sorry do not know correct form of address if there is one) thank you for your reply. I am able to relate to the idea of the re-producing
        Message 3 of 6 , Jun 30, 2004
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          Hello Bhikkhu Pesala
          (sorry do not know correct form of address if there is
          one)

          thank you for your reply. I am able to relate to the
          idea of the re-producing mangoe (though I translated
          it into western terms, mushrooms). Further, the
          simile seems to relate to Aspects work on the
          holographic universe where, if you cut a holographic
          rose in half with a laser and then shine light on it,
          you will find each half contains the entire image of
          the rose. If the rose is divided again, the same
          occurs, ad infinitum - the "whole in every part"

          however if you could enlighten me on the following
          points it would be very much appreciated

          1. Isn't this a blank cheque to go off and commit any
          crime or unskillful act? I mean, if 'I' am illusory
          and 'I' will not be around to suffer the consequences
          (only 'mind' will, what-ever that is) then what does
          it matter to 'me'? (Kamma becomes irrelevant)

          2. 'What' is mind?

          3. "Just so, O king, this mind and body process
          commits deeds either pure or impure, and because of
          that kamma another mind and body process is reborn.

          What is kamma? I mean, the implications of this
          extract are profound because if it can produce another
          mind and body process then is it not a fundamental
          source of life? what then, is karmma?

          I appreciate your assistance with these issues because
          like a lot of westerners I have been led astray in the
          past by people claiming to be buddhists but not really
          knowing what they are talking about - read FWBO,
          apologies if it's unskilful to mention a particular
          group by name - ). Further, there are many
          misconceptions in the west about basic buddhist
          concepts - for eg. Karma is often reduced to 'do bad
          things and bad things happen to you in your next life'
          - but to be honest, that really doesn't explain
          anything, if it means anything at all.

          thank you and best wishes
          Scotty



          in my understanding of Buddhism (feel free to correct
          it!) the concept of kamma i


          --- Bhikkhu Pesala <pesala@...> wrote:
          ---------------------------------
          You asked:

          >> If there is no soul, and the self is illusory, then
          who or what is
          reborn (rebirth) and following on, who or what is
          enlightened? <<

          Excuse me for replying with cut and paste, but this
          question is so often
          asked. The following is an extract from the Debate of
          King Milinda.

          Transmigration or Rebirth?

          "Is there any being who transmigrates from this body
          to another?"
          "No there is not."

          "If that is so, would there not be an escape from the
          result of evil
          deeds?"
          "Yes there would be an escape if they were not to be
          reborn, but there
          would not be if they were to be reborn. This mind and
          body process commits
          deeds either pure or impure, and because of that kamma
          another mind and
          body process is reborn. Therefore this mind and body
          is not free from its
          evil deeds."

          "Give me an illustration."
          "If a thief were to steal another man's mangoes, would
          he deserve
          punishment?"
          "Indeed he would."

          "But the mangoes he stole were not those that the
          owner had planted; why
          should he deserve punishment?"
          "Because those that he stole resulted from the
          others."

          "Just so, O king, this mind and body process commits
          deeds either pure or
          impure, and because of that kamma another mind and
          body process is reborn.
          Therefore this mind and body is not free from its evil
          deeds."
          Where is Kamma Stored Up?

          "When deeds are committed by one mind and body
          process, where do they
          remain?"
          "The deeds follow them, O king, like a shadow that
          never leaves. But one
          cannot point them out saying, `Those deeds are here or
          there', just as the
          fruits of a tree cannot be pointed out before they are
          produced."


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        • Bhikkhu Pesala
          Bhikkhu Pesala is the correct form of address. If you don t know a monk s name, you can address them as Bhante which means Venerable Sir. ... Already
          Message 4 of 6 , Jun 30, 2004
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            Bhikkhu Pesala is the correct form of address. If you don't know a
            monk's name, you can address them as "Bhante" which means "Venerable
            Sir."

            > 1. Isn't this a blank cheque to go off and commit any
            > crime or unskillful act? I mean, if 'I' am illusory
            > and 'I' will not be around to suffer the consequences
            > (only 'mind' will, what-ever that is) then what does
            > it matter to 'me'? (Kamma becomes irrelevant)

            Already answered. If one were not reborn, one would be free from the
            effects, but if one is reborn one will suffer in the next life. For
            example, Angulimala killed hundreds of people, but he met the Buddha,
            reformed his character totally, and become an Arahant. He suffered all
            the consequences of his kamma in that very life.

            > 2. 'What' is mind?
            No matter!

            > 3.What is kamma? I mean, the implications of this
            > extract are profound because if it can produce another
            > mind and body process then is it not a fundamental
            > source of life? what then, is karmma?

            Kamma means volition, impulsion, or intention. When one acts, speaks,
            or thinks with an impure mind the result is suffering. When the
            intention is pure-hearted, the result is happiness. Kamma is the
            Almighty in Buddhism. Even the chief disciple of the Buddha,
            Moggallana, and the Buddha's own relatives had to suffer violent
            deaths as a result of previous kamma. However, kamma is not fatalism.
            Just as many diseases can be cured by medicine, the results of many
            unwholesome kammas can be reversed or mitagated by wholesome kamma.
            Likewise, the results of wholesome kammas can be destroyed by
            unwholesome ones, just as crops can be destroyed by pests and fungi.

            Yes. Kamma is the fundamental source of life, the energy that keeps
            the wheel of life turning. From craving arises attachment; from
            attachment arises becoming, from becoming arises birth; and from birth
            arises aging and death. Becoming (bhava) is kamma in the present life
            giving rise to results in the future life. For a new (human or animal)
            life to come into existence, three causes are required: the ovum of
            the mother, the semen of the father, and the past kamma of the being
            to be born (gandhabba).

            The cycle of dependent origination works from life to life, and from
            moment to moment too. You see something advertised (contact). You like
            it (pleasant feeling). You want to have it (craving). You decide that
            you must buy it (attachment). You work overtime to get the money
            (becoming). You buy it (birth). It breaks down or gets worn out, or
            you lose interest in it(aging). You chuck it out (death).

            If you just see it, and know that you see it, the whole cycle of
            suffering does not arise. You just let go right there. No becoming, no
            birth, no decay, no death. However, it is not easy to be fully mindful
            at all times. The untrained mind keeps on creating fresh kamma.

            Kamma is the fundamental source, but not the only one. There are four
            "foods" or producers: Kamma, citta, utu, ahara. Citta means
            consciousness or mind. Stress and worry cause diseases. Utu means
            climate or temperature. Too hot, too cold also causes diseases. Ahara
            means physical food, nutrition. Too much or bad food also causes
            diseases. Kamma from the previous life or earlier in this life, can
            also cause diseases.

            The point is that one should not rely on, nor blame only one's past
            kamma. Present effort, healthy food, daily exercise, mental
            discipline, and spiritual practices are also crucial in making a happy
            life. The happiest life is one dedicated to the renunciation of
            attachment and the cessation of suffering. The Arahant indulges in no
            sensual pleasures at all, but he or she is the happiest person in the
            world.
          • solitary aardvark
            Bhikku Pesala thanks for your response which I have contemplated on. I have a better understanding of kamma now. Just one final clarification though: If one
            Message 5 of 6 , Jul 3, 2004
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              Bhikku Pesala

              thanks for your response which I have contemplated on.
              I have a better understanding of kamma now. Just one
              final clarification though:

              " If one were not reborn, one would be free from the
              effects, but if one is reborn one will suffer in the
              next life."

              so the key word here is "if" , yes?
              IF...then...
              IF not...then not...
              yes?

              which further leads me on to 'what' is rebirth - I
              mean, does rebirth relate to a future life as some
              future 'I' , after this 'I'; entity is physically
              deceased - or is it as simple as being reborn in this
              life - like Angulimala (when the psychological 'I' is
              deceased), or perhaps both?

              thank you for your time and help.

              best wishes
              Scotty


              --- Bhikkhu Pesala <pesala@...> wrote:
              ---------------------------------
              Bhikkhu Pesala is the correct form of address. If you
              don't know a
              monk's name, you can address them as "Bhante" which
              means "Venerable
              Sir."

              > 1. Isn't this a blank cheque to go off and commit
              any
              > crime or unskillful act? I mean, if 'I' am illusory
              > and 'I' will not be around to suffer the
              consequences
              > (only 'mind' will, what-ever that is) then what does
              > it matter to 'me'? (Kamma becomes irrelevant)

              Already answered. If one were not reborn, one would be
              free from the
              effects, but if one is reborn one will suffer in the
              next life. For
              example, Angulimala killed hundreds of people, but he
              met the Buddha,
              reformed his character totally, and become an Arahant.
              He suffered all
              the consequences of his kamma in that very life.

              > 2. 'What' is mind?
              No matter!

              > 3.What is kamma? I mean, the implications of this
              > extract are profound because if it can produce
              another
              > mind and body process then is it not a fundamental
              > source of life? what then, is karmma?

              Kamma means volition, impulsion, or intention. When
              one acts, speaks,
              or thinks with an impure mind the result is suffering.
              When the
              intention is pure-hearted, the result is happiness.
              Kamma is the
              Almighty in Buddhism. Even the chief disciple of the
              Buddha,
              Moggallana, and the Buddha's own relatives had to
              suffer violent
              deaths as a result of previous kamma. However, kamma
              is not fatalism.
              Just as many diseases can be cured by medicine, the
              results of many
              unwholesome kammas can be reversed or mitagated by
              wholesome kamma.
              Likewise, the results of wholesome kammas can be
              destroyed by
              unwholesome ones, just as crops can be destroyed by
              pests and fungi.

              Yes. Kamma is the fundamental source of life, the
              energy that keeps
              the wheel of life turning. From craving arises
              attachment; from
              attachment arises becoming, from becoming arises
              birth; and from birth
              arises aging and death. Becoming (bhava) is kamma in
              the present life
              giving rise to results in the future life. For a new
              (human or animal)
              life to come into existence, three causes are
              required: the ovum of
              the mother, the semen of the father, and the past
              kamma of the being
              to be born (gandhabba).

              The cycle of dependent origination works from life to
              life, and from
              moment to moment too. You see something advertised
              (contact). You like
              it (pleasant feeling). You want to have it (craving).
              You decide that
              you must buy it (attachment). You work overtime to get
              the money
              (becoming). You buy it (birth). It breaks down or gets
              worn out, or
              you lose interest in it(aging). You chuck it out
              (death).

              If you just see it, and know that you see it, the
              whole cycle of
              suffering does not arise. You just let go right there.
              No becoming, no
              birth, no decay, no death. However, it is not easy to
              be fully mindful
              at all times. The untrained mind keeps on creating
              fresh kamma.

              Kamma is the fundamental source, but not the only one.
              There are four
              "foods" or producers: Kamma, citta, utu, ahara. Citta
              means
              consciousness or mind. Stress and worry cause
              diseases. Utu means
              climate or temperature. Too hot, too cold also causes
              diseases. Ahara
              means physical food, nutrition. Too much or bad food
              also causes
              diseases. Kamma from the previous life or earlier in
              this life, can
              also cause diseases.

              The point is that one should not rely on, nor blame
              only one's past
              kamma. Present effort, healthy food, daily exercise,
              mental
              discipline, and spiritual practices are also crucial
              in making a happy
              life. The happiest life is one dedicated to the
              renunciation of
              attachment and the cessation of suffering. The Arahant
              indulges in no
              sensual pleasures at all, but he or she is the
              happiest person in the
              world.


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              ---------------------------------
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              To visit your group on the web, go to:
              http://groups.yahoo.com/group/SanghaOnline/

              To unsubscribe from this group, send an email to:
              SanghaOnline-unsubscribe@yahoogroups.com

              Your use of Yahoo! Groups is subject to the Yahoo!
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            • Bhikkhu Pesala
              This extract from the Potthapada of the Dighanikaya may clarify things for you. Potthapada, some recluses and brahmins believe that after death the self is
              Message 6 of 6 , Jul 4, 2004
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                This extract from the Potthapada of the Dighanikaya may clarify things for
                you.

                "Potthapada, some recluses and brahmins believe that after death the self
                is entirely happy and free from disease, but when questioned their talk
                turns out to be empty and foolish, like that of man who is building a
                staircase at the crossroads not knowing where the palace is. There are
                three kinds of grasping at self: a gross physical self composed of the
                four elements and nourished by food, a mind-made self that has form, and a
                formless self created by perception. I teach a doctrine for getting rid of
                this grasping at self, whereby defiling mental states disappear and pure
                mental states develop. You might think that if these defiling mental
                states disappear one might still be unhappy, but you should not think
                thus. If defiling mental states disappear nothing but happiness and
                delight develops."

                Citta then asked, "Venerable sir, when the gross physical self is present,
                would it be wrong to assume the existence of the mind-made self, or the
                formless self created by perception?"

                "Whenever one of them is present, we do not then speak of the others. If
                you were asked, `Did you exist in the past, will you exist in the future,
                do you exist now?' how would you answer?"

                "I would say, `I did exist in the past, I will exist in the future, I do
                exist now, it is not otherwise."

                "Then, Citta, was the past acquired self that you had your only true self,
                and are the present and future ones false? Or is only the present acquired
                self your true self, or only the future one?"

                "Venerable sir, I would reply, `My past acquired self was then the only
                true one, my present self is now the only true one, in the future my
                future self will be the only true one, the others are false."

                "Therefore, Citta, whenever one of them is present, we do not then speak
                of the others. Just as from the cow we get milk, from the milk we get
                curds, from the curds we get butter, and from butter we get ghee. When it
                is milk we do not speak of curds, and curds is not butter, and butter is
                not ghee."
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