Friday, December 16, 2016

Not "reincarnation" but REBIRTH (sutra)

Ven. Nyanatiloka (Dictionary,; Dhr. Seven, Amber Larson, Wisdom Quarterly

Think about how shitty this is for me.
Rebirth (patisandhi, literally "reunion, relinking [of process of consciousness from this life to the next and next after that]"), is one of the 14 functions of consciousness (viññāna-kicca).

It is a karmic-resultant type of consciousness and arises at the moment of conception, that is, with the forming of new life in a mother's womb [or spontaneously without intervention of parents as happens on many worlds].

Immediately afterwards it sinks into the subconscious-stream of existence (bhavanga-sota). And conditioned thereby ever and ever again, corresponding states of subconsciousness arise.

So it is really rebirth-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.

We're organic robots going in a circle.
"That this consciousness has NOT come from the previous existence to this 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 the 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 has there taken place a 'transmigration' of sound, it is just so with this consciousness.

"Further it is said: 'In this continuous process [of samsara], no sameness and no otherness can be found.' For if there were full identity (exact sameness between the different stages), then also milk could never turn into curd.

"And if there were 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 absolute otherness are excluded here" (The Path of Purification, Vis.M, XVII 164ff).
Where are we going on this round, this "continued wandering on" called samsara?
In The Questions of King Milinda (Mil.) it is said:
  • "Now, Venerable Nāgasena [an enlightened Buddhist monk living around Afghanistan], the person who is reborn, is he the same as the one who has died or is he another?"
  • "[That person is] neither the same nor another" (na ca so na ca añño).
  • "Give me an example."
  • "What do you think, O king: Are you now, as a grown up, the same as you were as a young and tender babe?"
  • "No, venerable sir. Another person was the young and tender babe, but quite a different person am I now as a grown up man."...
  • "...Is perhaps in the first part of the night one candle burning, another one in the middle part, and yet another in the last part?"
  • "No, venerable sir. The light during the whole night depends on one and the same candle.''
  • "Just so, O king, is the chain of phenomena linked together. One phenomenon arises, another vanishes, yet all are linked together, one after another, without interruption. In this way one reaches the final state of consciousness [in one life immediately linked to rebirth in another life] neither as the same person nor as another person.''
Hooray, we'll get to see each other again and again! - Will this rebirth wheel never end?
According to the nature of their rebirth consciousness, beings may be divided into the following three groups:

1. A "being reborn without root-conditions" (ahetu-patisandhika) is a being whose consciousness at the moment of rebirth was not accompanied by any of the three noble root-conditions (greedlessness, hatelessness, undeludedness -- that is, unselfishness, kindness, intelligence. Such beings are found in the four lower worlds, in which case the function of rebirth is exercised by the class of consciousness listed in Tab. I as No. 56.

But if such beings are reborn in the sensuous sphere as humans, they will be crippled, blind, deaf, mentally deficient, and so on. (Rebirth-consciousness = Tab. I, No. 41).
2. A "being reborn with only two (noble) root-conditions" (dvihetu or duhetu-patisandhika) -- that is, greedlessness and hatelessness. (Rebirth-consciousness = Tab. I, Nos. 44, 45, 48, or 49).
3. A "being reborn with three (noble) root-conditions" (tihetu-patisandhika). Such a being can be found only among humans. (Rebirth-consciousness = Tab. I, Nos. 42, 43, 46, or 47) and higher celestial beings.

On these three types of rebirth, see Atthasālini Tr. 11, 354 - 379 (App.: patisandhika).
In the sutras or the Buddha's discourses, the terms for rebirth are chiefly: 
  • punabbhava, "renewed existence" and
  • abhi-nibbatti "arising"
  • or both combined as punabbhavābhinibbatti. (App.: patisandhi).

No comments: