Tuesday, December 17, 2013

REBIRTH and Family Guy's Brian (cartoon)

Dhr. Seven, Amber Larson, Pat Macpherson, Wisdom Quarterly; Seth MacFarlane (FOX.com)
Brian, while alive, once appeared on Bill Maher's talk show with Huffington Poster Ariana.
(Family Guy) ''Brian's Death'' the full story

Bertram confronts Stewie's predecessor
Just in "time" for the holidays, Brian is back! But how? He died just last week. Genius Leonardo da Vinci descendant Stewie rebuilt his time machine and averted catastrophe, or sent himself and others down a different timeline. Is creator Seth MacFarlane growing tired of his greatest creation (next to Roger the talking Grey alien on "American Dad")? 

(JB) Brian Griffin's FUNERAL. With the dissolution of the body, after death,
one continues in accordance with one's just desserts, that is, those
actions willed, performed, and accumulated (karma).

I am Death, and I will kill 'em all!
Or, or is MacFarlane such a genius that nothing and no one is beyond reach of his pencil and voice. It's a soap opera after all, and anyone can be brought down and raised again. So it go us to thinking about rebirth (patisandhi, "again becoming"). Many articles will follow on the subject, so let's begin with a formal definition. 

Brian the hack publishes self-help secrets
NOTE: Buddhism never means "reincarnation," which would suggest that something or someone is again enters flesh. In fact, that is not what happens. As unbelievable as it may sound in the face of all of our assumptions, an impersonal process continues. We do not "die" at death but die at every moment, and this cyclical process continues in spite of physical "death," which does not even slow the process down one tiny bit. All things -- but most notably form, feeling, perception, formations, and consciousness -- are unsatisfactory, impermanent, and insubstantial (not-self). And when and if we directly see this liberating-truth, we will see these three universal "marks of existence."

(JB) "Family Guy" - Brian is Back ! (Stewie Saves Brian Griffin)

Issa and Lord Vishnu on a heavenly cloud
REBIRTH (patisandhi, literally, "reunion, relinking") is one of the 14 functions of consciousness (viññāna-kicca). It is a karma-resultant type of consciousness and arises at the moment of conception, that is, with the forming of new life in a mother's womb. 

Immediately afterwards it sinks into the subconscious stream of existence (bhavanga-sota). It is conditioned thereby, again and again, with corresponding states of subconsciousness. It is really the rebirth-linking-consciousness that determines the latent character of a person.
"Neither has this (rebirth-) consciousness transmigrated from the previous existence to this present existence, nor did it arise without such conditions as karma, karma-formations, propensity, object, and so on. That this consciousness HAS NOT come from the previous existence to the present existence, yet that it HAS come into existence by means of conditions included in the previous existence, such as karma and so on, this fact may be illustrated by various things: such as an echo, the light of a lamp, the impression of a seal, or the image produced by a mirror. 

"For just as the resounding of the echo is conditioned by a sound and so on and nowhere a transmigration of sound has taken place, just so is it with this consciousness. Further it is said, 'In this continuous process, no sameness and no otherness can be found.' For if there were full identity (between the different stages), then also milk never could turn into curd. And if there were a complete otherness, then curd could never come from milk....

"If in a continuity of existence any karma-result takes place, then this karma-result neither belongs to any other being, nor does it come from any other (karma), because absolute sameness and otherness are excluded here" (The Path of Purification, VisM, XVII 164ff).
The enlightened Ven. Nagasena answers the great King Milinda, Bactria (Central Asia)

King Milinda (King Menander I)
In "The Questions of King Milinda" (Milindapanha) the Greek King Menander I has this discussion with an ancient enlightened Buddhist monk:

KING: "Now, Ven. Nāgasena, the one who is reborn, is that person the same as the one who has died, or is that person  another?"
MONK: "Neither the same nor another."
"Give me an example."
"What do you think, O king: Are you now, as a grown up person, the same that you had been as a little, young, and tender baby?"
"No, venerable sir. Another person was the little, young, and tender baby, but quite a different person am I now as a grown up."...
"Is perhaps, in the first watch [portion] of the night, one lamp burning, another one in the middle watch, and again another one in the last watch?"
"No, venerable sir. The light during the whole night depends on one and the same lamp.''
"Just so, O king, is the chain of phenomena linked together. One phenomenon arises, another vanishes, yet all are linked together, one after the other, without interruption. In this way one reaches the final state of consciousness neither as the same person nor as another person." TO BE CONTINUED

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