|I love you so much, son! - Mom, I wanna become a monk. - What? No! Go to your room!|
The Stages of Enlightenment
- [EDITOR'S NOTE: Why the sudden jump from seven to one rebirth? This is an artifact of condensing the various stages down to just four important categories. But if we sees the Path to Freedom (Vimuttimagga), one finds the other types of stream-winners listed.]
- [EDITOR'S NOTE: Dogmatic religious views tend to maintain that there is a soul that survives death and lives on eternally, or the opposite view that there is no soul that survives, but rather it (a self) is annihilated at death. (The first tends to be promoted by faithful religionists, the second by materialists, "scientific" types, and hopeless skeptics). The Buddha shows that both views are in error. Buddhism is not a belief system, although it may seem to be. It is a practice, a path of insight to realize what is and is not true so that one is liberated from delusion and views. It is ultimately true that things are impersonal. There is no self, so it cannot live on eternally. What we regard as "self" (the composite of the Five Aggregates -- body, feelings, perceptions, formations, and consciousness) is passing away at every moment. There is no self, so it cannot be annihilated. The process will survive death, and rebirth will take place, as it has innumerable times. And unless it is stopped, suffering (misery, disappointment, lack of fulfillment) will continue indefinitely, because it is constantly getting new fuel. Buddhist practice is aimed at realization, but most of us don't want to realize something we think is to our detriment. We cannot see how it is to our great benefit, so we scoff at it in ignorance. Conventionally, of course, there is a self. We talk about it all the time. We conceive in terms of it. We would never question its existence if a fully awakened being did not arise and teach this unique doctrine (anatta) essential to awakening. What does it matter that there is no self? It matters because directly realizing this truth is essential for winning the first stage of enlightenment and gaining liberation from all suffering.]
Did the Buddha teach rebirth?
|The ultimate Truth is true regardless of whether we ever know it. Find it, for it sets us free.|
|Oh no, renewed becoming again and again...|