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Thread: No Rebirth or Reincarnation?

  1. #1

    No Rebirth or Reincarnation?

    Just a quick question.

    I heard Brad Warner say that Dogen didn't believe in any form of Reincarnation or Rebirth....

    ...isn't that like a Christian not believing in the Resurrection?

    It renders Buddhism useless as there are no future consequences or explanations for current circumstances?

    Thanks,

    Tony...

  2. #2
    Hi Tony,

    First, Dogen most assuredly did believe in some form of post-mortem rebirth, as most Buddhists of the 13th Century (and many Traditional Buddhists today) did. His writings in Shobogenzo and elsewhere have enough references to traditional views of Karma, that there is little doubt. On the other hand, Zen has always had an emphasis on what is in this moment, and so the emphasis on later lives was always rather ambiguous.

    I am a skeptic on very mechanical views of rebirth or, better said, it is not vital to my Practice. As I usually say ...

    My attitude, and that of many other Buddhist teachers, is that ...

    If there are future lives, heavens and hells ... live this life here and now, seek not to do harm, seek not to build "heavens" and "hells" in this world ... let what happens after "death" take care of itself.

    And if there are no future lives, no heavens or hells ... live this life here and now, seek not to do harm, seek not to build "heavens" and "hells" in this world ... let what happens after "death" take care of itself.

    Thus I do not much care if, in the next life, that "gentle way, avoiding harm" will buy me a ticket to heaven and keep me out of hell ... but I know for a fact that it will go far to do so in this life, today, where I see people create all manner of "heavens and hells" for themselves and those around them by their harmful words, thoughts and acts in this life.

    And if there is a "heaven and hell" in the next life, or other effects of Karma now ... well, my actions now have effects then too, and might be the ticket to heaven or good rebirth.

    In other words, whatever the case ... today, now ... live in a gentle way, avoiding harm to self and others (not two, by the way) ... seeking to avoid harm now and in the future too.
    Frankly, it is not so important to me if Dogen, most folks for 2000 years and the Buddha himself believed in literal views of post-mortem rebirth. They could all be wrong on some things, although the teachings they were right about are more than enough.

    I believe in future consequences, even if just in this life. As I said above, I see people make hells for themselves ... and for those around them ... in this life through their greed, anger and ignorance. Potential future hells aside, that is enough too.

    Gassho, Jundo
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  3. #3
    Tony

    Would you practice any differently if there is or isn't rebirth?

    In my experience, Zen doesn't really devote much time to worrying about karmic causes or results in other lifetimes. Things arise, things fall away. If you do the same thing again and again you are likely to get the same result but that's about as far as it goes. Plenty to see to in the present moment without fixating on hypotheticals.

    Gassho
    Andy

  4. #4
    Thanks Jundo, that's reassuring!

    Kokuu, interesting question.

    I'm not sure. I can't see how I would not be concerned re karmic consequences?? I am creating my future in every second. This implies a huge responsibility to both my future wellbeing and those of others.

    Are you not concerned about how your current actions may affect others if not yourself?

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  5. #5
    Are you not concerned about how your current actions may affect others if not yourself?
    Yes, of course. But following the precepts seems the best way of living whether or not there is rebirth.

    Gassho
    Andy

  6. #6
    I guess I'm a believer :-) A mental continuum makes most sense to me in terms of why good things happen to bad people and the suffering children experience. Consequently I have developed an healthy concern for future lives in much the same way as I have a concern for who I may be in the future of this life.

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  7. #7
    Senior Member Myosha's Avatar
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    Hello,

    Am blessed in birth/rebirth every moment. A finger-snap takes 65 moments.

    If you'd like to know every moment of a day snap your fingers 98,463,077 times in row.

    There's only 6,400,099,980 moments a day. Can't waste One.^^


    Gassho,
    Myosha
    Practice with humility, respect all beings, avoid attachments, give rise to prajña from your own awareness, put an end to delusions - Hui-neng

  8. #8
    Senior Member Entai's Avatar
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    YOL....um... I have no idea. It's nice to wake up in the morning though.

    Gassho, Entai

    Entai (Bill)
    "Be kind - for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle" - Plato

  9. #9
    The future is a complete fabrication of your mind. What you do right now is most important and precepts make a lot of sense as a guide if you need guidance. I think rebirth and reincarnation is an explanation of something unknowable because we can't stand not knowing.



    Kind regards. /\
    _/_
    Rich
    MUHYO
    無 (MU, Emptiness) and 氷 (HYO, Ice) ... Emptiness Ice ...

  10. #10
    Blue Mountain White Clouds Hermitage Priest Taigu's Avatar
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    Excellent Rich.

    Thank you

    Taigu
    Taigu, teacher at Treeleaf Sangha, was born in 1964, started Zazen early and received Shukke Tokudo in 1983 at age 18 from Rev. Mokusho Zeisler of the Deshimaru Lineage. Received Dharma Transmission from Chodo Cross in 2002. Now resides in Osaka, Japan.

  11. #11
    Quote Originally Posted by Rich View Post
    I think rebirth and reincarnation is an explanation of something unknowable because we can't stand not knowing.
    Wonderful point Rich! =)

    To me rebirth and reincarnation mean nothing if I am not living right here right now. =)

    Gassho
    Shingen
    倫道 真現

    As a trainee priest, please take any commentary by me on matters of the Dharma with a pinch of salt.

  12. #12
    Maybe I am not in the right path, but when I am experiencing an important lost or I am sharing the personal catastrophe of someone, to know about the dependant origination and transmigration give me some extra peace (I guess at the end is a faith topic). That not means that I don´t keep my training or that don´t fight when is needed (like samurais) but to know that there is another chance after it, give me an additional shelter against the death (maybe like samurais, again :-D).
    Gassho
    Senryu
    Please forgive any mistake in my writing. Like in Zen, in English I am only a beginner.

  13. #13
    Quote Originally Posted by dharmasponge View Post
    I guess I'm a believer :-) A mental continuum makes most sense to me in terms of why good things happen to bad people and the suffering children experience.
    Yes, that would be one explanation as to why children and other seeming innocents suffer. So would saying it is "God's Mysterious Plan" or simply that it is the ways of nature or simple "wrong place, wrong time" bad luck. I am open to all possibilities ... and whatever the case, let us work right here and now to build a world where fewer children and innocents suffer!

    By the way, remember that in traditional Buddhism, "rebirth" was not looked at as a positive thing, but something to be ESCAPED! Even a "good rebirth" was not the point, and was considered a kind of honey trap. Buddha sought to get off the wheel of birth-death completely!

    Our way also allows us a Viewless View in which there are no "separate children" to suffer, nothing lacking and nothing to be fixed from that start. Nonetheless, that "Viewless View" do not also prevent us from simultaneously working right here and now to fix what needs fixing, helping the children (whether like a dream of not). So, get moving and lend a hand!

    Here is an old thread on basic Karma (part of our "'BIG' Questions" series) ... It contains this, a view of Karmic Causation that leaves me skeptical: Did all those innocent people carry some debt from past lives?


    [O]n the question of why "bad things happen to good people" and such ... one Buddhist view has always been "because of their 'bad' past Karma". For example, this explanation of why so many folks died in the great Tsunami a few years ago ...

    To Ananda Guruge, former Sri Lankan ambassador to the United States who teaches at the Buddhist-affiliated University of the West in Rosemead, the Buddhist doctrine of karmic law, not random chance, determines who lives and dies in any disaster. The region suffered collective bad karma, he says, perhaps prompted by oppression, unjust war or other negative actions that invited the calamity.

    In Sri Lanka and Thailand, both majority Buddhist countries hit by the tsunami, people tend to believe that those who perished were paying the price of accumulated demerits in this life or past ones, Guruge said, while the survivors were reaping rewards.

    “Buddhist doctrine makes people responsible for their own fate,” said Guruge, whose own family in Sri Lanka largely survived. ...

    But he said such doctrines of cause and effect provide solace by empowering people to take corrective action. By doing good deeds, he said, people can improve their own futures and transfer their merits to deceased loved ones to help bring them a better rebirth.
    http://articles.latimes.com/2005/jan...al/me-beliefs8


    However, another Buddhist view is that there is a perspective by which we can drop all thought of birth, death, Tsunami and victims, suffering and such. By that view, there are no "bad things" to happen to "good people" ... and no "people, for all is empty! This is a view that I often teach when asked about these questions.

    http://www.treeleaf.org/forums/showt...VI-%28Karma%29
    I tend to think that so many people were swept up in the Tsunami because, there days, so many millions of people are living close to the short ... an unprecedented number in history. If one is going to build one's home next to a volcano, then one should not be surprised when once in awhile the volcano erupts! So too with many aspects of life.

    We had another thread yesterday that touched on children who suffer, many of whom manifest a tremendous Wisdom toward their condition ...

    http://www.treeleaf.org/forums/showt...l=1#post129624

    I am rather skeptical in my beliefs and the flavor of Buddhism I offer here at Treeleaf, but there is no need to feel that one's own ways or practice or understanding are superior (or inferior) to another. Many Buddhists enter and walk the Path through images of heavens, hells, literal rebirth and views of Karma and the like. Many Christians and others speak of heaven and hell. It may be so (and the skeptic's suppositions may be wrong) and, even more importantly, such "superstitious" Beliefs may be the Path and Doorway right for such person. To each their own Path.

    Gassho, Jundo

    PS - I very much care for these three poems on life-and-death by Kosho Uchiyama Roshi (of "Opening The Hand of Thought", the heir of Kodo Sawaki Roshi). Uchiyama Roshi lived with tuberculosis for over 50 years, and finally succumbed to the disease, so faced all head on. These poems were written by Uchiyama when he was in his 70's ... are the very same non-perspective on life-and-death discussed in this Thread ...

    Life-and-Death
    Water isn't formed by being ladled into a bucket
    Simply the water of the whole Universe has been ladled into a bucket
    The water does not disappear because it has been scattered over the ground
    It is only that the water of the whole Universe has been emptied into the whole Universe
    Life is not born because a person is born
    The life of the whole Universe has been ladled into the hardened "idea" called "I"
    Life does not disappear because a person dies
    Simply, the life of the whole Universe has been poured out of this hardened "idea" of "I" back into the universe

    Just Live, Just Die
    The Reality prior to the division into two
    Thinking it to be so, or not thinking it to be so
    Believing it to be so, or not believing it to be so
    Existence-nonexistence, life-death
    Truth-falsehood, delusion-enlightenment
    Self-others, happiness-unhappiness
    We live and die within the profundity of Reality
    Whatever we encounter is buddha-life
    This present Reality is buddha-life
    Just living, just dying---within no life or death

    Samadhi of the Treasury of the Radiant Light
    Though poor, never poor
    Though sick, never sick,
    Though aging, never aging
    Though dying, never dying
    Reality prior to division---
    Herein lies unlimited depth
    Last edited by Jundo; 06-12-2014 at 04:27 AM.
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  14. #14
    Thanks Jundo and everyone.

    I see Re- birth/incarnation as the minds continuum projecting another 'form'....swept along of course by dependent origination. Lots of conceptual wording I know, but that's the only way I know how to describe my understanding.

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  15. #15
    I honestly don't know first hand. It's possible to string stuff together but, like Rich says, it is a fabrication. Being born in a moment to moment way is an actual experience, like being born into another trip to the fridge, or being born as a defensive me-thing, but nothing is really being born, it's just confusion and tightening. i don't know. Gassho Daizan


    ... the Alaya Vijnana idea that Ive been looking into is a working theory, but it feels shoehorned, like there was gap and someone created an entity to fill it. It doesn't feel natural or elegant.. IMHO.
    Last edited by Daizan; 06-13-2014 at 02:33 PM.
    大山

  16. #16
    Being born every moment is no more valid though really. The description doesn't correspond with our experience. Our experience is of a continuous stream of awareness. It may not be but that's how it appears. My point being that you have no first hand experience of being born moment to moment.

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  17. #17
    Quote Originally Posted by dharmasponge View Post
    Being born every moment is no more valid though really. The description doesn't correspond with our experience. Our experience is of a continuous stream of awareness. It may not be but that's how it appears. My point being that you have no first hand experience of being born moment to moment.

    Sent from my SM-N9005 using Tapatalk
    Hi Dharmasponge. To be honest I don't experience a continuous stream either. By being born moment to moment.. I just mean that if I am walking down the street, there is just footfall and traffic sound, and no "me". But if someone walks up and says "Hey Fathead!", suddenly "I" am born opposite him.

    Gassho
    Daizan
    大山

  18. #18
    Impressive :-)

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  19. #19
    Being called a fathead does make an impression, but practice goes on.. Gassho
    大山

  20. #20
    Where does the birth come from, you or him?

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  21. #21
    Both at the same time. I wouldn't turn it into a theory, it's just an everyday experience, but sure, both appear. Gassho
    大山

  22. #22
    Not wanting to stir the pot....here are interesting videos from Ajahn Brahm:


  23. #23

  24. #24
    Senior Member Amelia's Avatar
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    Thank you all for some of the lovely posting in this thread.

    Bows
    迎 Geika

  25. #25
    Senior Member Joyo's Avatar
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    I'm a skeptic that life exists at all after we die. I've seen firsthand how the threat and fear of a hellish afterlife is an easy way to feed fear into the hearts and minds of people. With that being said, I've had several things happen in my life that are unexplainable, seem to almost be, dare I say, supernatural. None of this affects my practice though. As others have already said, we practice here and now, this is where we are, this is all that exists.

    Gassho,
    Joyo

  26. #26
    Quote Originally Posted by Joyo View Post
    I'm a skeptic that life exists at all after we die. I've seen firsthand how the threat and fear of a hellish afterlife is an easy way to feed fear into the hearts and minds of people. With that being said, I've had several things happen in my life that are unexplainable, seem to almost be, dare I say, supernatural. None of this affects my practice though. As others have already said, we practice here and now, this is where we are, this is all that exists.

    Gassho,
    Joyo
    Lovely.

    If there is no more after we die ... there is life right here. This is all that exists.

    If there is something after we die ... such is right here too. This is all that exists.

    We can't loose!

    I will say that I find it amazing that, against all the seeming odds that cosmic events would have turned out differently (even one left turn when we needed a right) you and I ended up born in this life now. One little furry ancestor who got eaten before reproducing ... one meteor strike in the wrong place or time ... one great-grandma who never met great-grandpa and fell in love ... and seemingly we should not be here. Our being here is very much madly ridiculous!

    And, since the madly ridiculous happened once ... why not again? Such happening would be just more madly ridiculous!

    Gassho, J
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  27. #27
    Quote Originally Posted by Joyo View Post
    I'm a skeptic that life exists at all after we die. I've seen firsthand how the threat and fear of a hellish afterlife is an easy way to feed fear into the hearts and minds of people. With that being said, I've had several things happen in my life that are unexplainable, seem to almost be, dare I say, supernatural. None of this affects my practice though. As others have already said, we practice here and now, this is where we are, this is all that exists.

    Gassho,
    Joyo
    I agree ... wonderful Joyo. =)

    Gassho
    Shingen
    倫道 真現

    As a trainee priest, please take any commentary by me on matters of the Dharma with a pinch of salt.

  28. #28
    The question of rebirth.. this idea of a linear continuity, it is a red herring. It is only a problem for "me" .. Dwelling on it is like being a dog chasing a stick, instead of a tiger keeping its eyes on the person who threw it..... if that makes sense. And an agnostic view is not the same as "don't know", it still just dwelling on the stick.

    This probably makes no sense.. better just go paint, words get annoying. . Gassho Daizan
    大山

  29. #29
    What evidence is there that mind cases though. One thought gives rise to another ad infinitum. Unless you're a materialist...then I'll see you at the bar, mines a Guinness! 😆

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  30. #30
    Quote Originally Posted by dharmasponge View Post
    What evidence is there that mind cases though. One thought gives rise to another ad infinitum. Unless you're a materialist...then I'll see you at the bar, mines a Guinness! ��

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    Just re-reading that beautiful poem by Kosho Uchiyama Rosh that Jundo posted. For me the heart of the matter is all there. Just live and die... "Herein lies unlimited depth".

    I'll still meet you at the bar though.. and have a cranberry and soda..
    大山

  31. #31
    This idea of me or 10000 ideas of me all disintegrates to some kind of perception or consciousness which is unchanging and eternal. Would drink a Guinness to that😊



    Kind regards. /\
    _/_
    Rich
    MUHYO
    無 (MU, Emptiness) and 氷 (HYO, Ice) ... Emptiness Ice ...

  32. #32
    Probably not. But three might.

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  33. #33
    I think this conversation died, never to be revived.

    Gassho, J
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  34. #34
    Or reborn? .........sorry! 😊

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  35. #35
    'but three might'
    3 would completely dissolve the original question. 😎😵😄😊😉

    Kind regards. /\
    _/_
    Rich
    MUHYO
    無 (MU, Emptiness) and 氷 (HYO, Ice) ... Emptiness Ice ...

  36. #36
    Senior Member Nameless's Avatar
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    Hey everyone, guess I'll chip in and revive it haha. I have no idea what happens "after death." Rebirth would make sense to me (but that doesn't really mean much lol), mainly just by observing things as they are. Seasons pass and return, the sun rises, sets and rises again. Waves fall back into the sea only to crescendo in a reprise. Paints an astounding picture without any inherent endings or beginnings. Yet, in a way we've never seen the same sun twice. The sun we see is different each day, and so are we.

    We can see that when something dies it dissolves, never truly having left what it is dissolving into. Perhaps the same molecules will come together again someday, forming a whole new configuration of the skandhas. Perhaps they merely spread out across land and space. Either way, all that we are never departs, only changes. Just as it's changing now.

    Gassho, Content John

  37. #37
    Hello,

    stay clear of materialism, eternalism and nihilism. Open and open again.

    Don't worry too much about ultimate questions but ask yourself how much in love you might be with your own views and the capacity of your own intellect.

    Gassho,


    Hans Chudo Mongen
    Chudo Mongen, Ordained Novice Priest-in-Training

  38. #38
    If we don't create Buddhism, rebirth or reincarnation with our minds then Buddha, rebirth and reincarnation are never a problem. A cat meows, dog barks, a rooster crows. Humans do…? The homeless lady across the street is hungry, I give her a dollar. My neighbor is sick and can't go to the grocery store, I go shopping for her. I stink, I take a shower so I don't offend those around me.

    Gassho, Jishin
    治 Ji (Healing)
    心​ Shin (Heart-Mind)

  39. #39
    Quote Originally Posted by Rich View Post
    The future is a complete fabrication of your mind. What you do right now is most important and precepts make a lot of sense as a guide if you need guidance. I think rebirth and reincarnation is an explanation of something unknowable because we can't stand not knowing.



    Kind regards. /\
    Thank you!

    Gassho,

    Risho

  40. #40
    Senior Member Clark's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hans View Post
    Hello,

    stay clear of materialism, eternalism and nihilism. Open and open again.

    Don't worry too much about ultimate questions but ask yourself how much in love you might be with your own views and the capacity of your own intellect.

    Gassho,


    Hans Chudo Mongen
    Hey Hans I really like this. What should we do with Buddhism?
    Gassho
    C

  41. #41
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    Isn't there some kind of rebirth in every moment. Nothing ever stays the same, no birth, no death, but every moment we are born just to die again. So I could see rebirth in this way, and the karma that follows from earlier moments. uhm... but rebirth in the literal sense seems pretty hard to believe in. And also, if there's nothing there to be reborn when the fictional ego dies, what does?

  42. #42
    Senior Member Amelia's Avatar
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    Returning every moment we can
    迎 Geika

  43. #43
    It's not that we don't exist, it's just that most of our thinking about that existence is all wrong. You are the universe. I used to think of the universe as god, but now it seems easier to explain it in terms of energy. So energy is always changing, and maybe we think of it as being reborn.

    Kind regards. /\
    _/_
    Rich
    MUHYO
    無 (MU, Emptiness) and 氷 (HYO, Ice) ... Emptiness Ice ...

  44. #44
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    Just before Rikyu took his own life he said, "When I have this sword there is no Buddha and no Patriarchs." He meant that when we have the sword of big mind, there is no dualistic world. The only thing which exists is this spirit. This kind of imperturbable spirit was always present in Rikyu's tea ceremony. He never did anything in just a dualistic way; he was ready to die in each moment. In ceremony after ceremony he died, and he renewed himself. This is the spirit of the tea ceremony. This is how we bow.

    I just got to think about this passage in 'zen mind beginners mind'.

  45. #45
    Personally, I do have faith in rebirth. I also think that karma is a more useful concept when applied to one's own behavior and consequences but can be very destructive and limiting when applied to someone ELSE'S situation. We maybe should not try to assign or ascertain or link another person's misfortune to karma. I find that it can harden one's heart if misused.

    Regarding rebirth, though - it certainly isn't something about which to be contentious. As the others have said, if rebirth is reflective of the true state of things, the best thing one can do is allow his or her own clarity to emerge and to behave kindly. If rebirth isn't the reflection of the true state of things, the best thing one can do is to allow one's own clarity to emerge and to behave kindly. Clarity and kindness are powerful medicine either way, right?

  46. #46
    Zen master who was asked by a student, “Master, what happens after death?” He said, “I don’t know,” and the student quizzically replied, “but master you should know.” The Zen master said, “Yes, but I’m not a dead master.”

    Gassho, Jishin
    治 Ji (Healing)
    心​ Shin (Heart-Mind)

  47. #47
    Someone asked me to state clearly my own views on Rebirth, feeling that I am being too fuzzy. Well, here goes, but first two old Zen stories ...

    One day Master Zengen went with his teacher Master Dogo to visit a house where someone had recently died to express their condolences. When they were alone, Master Zengen patted the coffin and said to Master Dogo, “Is he alive or dead?”

    Master Dogo said, “I will not say alive or dead.”

    Master Zengen said, “Why won’t you say?”

    Master Dogo said, “I will never say. I will never say.”

    Another famous Zen story, not a Koan but something to it ...

    A young man asked Gasan what happened after death.
    “I do not know,” said Gasan.
    “But you are a Zen Master!” exclaimed the young man.
    “Yes,” replied Gasan, “but I am not a dead Zen master”.
    I believe that we are all of Reality in the most intimate sense, and that so long as the world goes on so do we in the most intimate sense. It is much as a single small leaf of a tree** might perceive that it is the Great Tree on which it grows in the most intimate sense and, when the day comes for that leaf to fall, another leaf comes with the Spring. However, truly so long as the Tree goes on, our lives go on beyond the little leaf. We, as single leaves, are the Tree, each branch, root and bark and all their growth. And the Tree is but the Forest, the Forest wholly the Mountains and on and on. In Ignorance, we think that we are a separate leaf, and the tree is "out there" apart from us ... human beings who see our small subjective "self" and the "not self" world. Through Zazen, the Thusness of our Treeness is realized. Leaves come and go but, so long as the Tree grows on, there is truly no loss and no coming or going.

    Here is a picture. I might see a Tree without leaves. But can you show me where are the leaves but not the Tree? Try.


    So, how can you show me where you are but not this living world? You are every tree, every forest, the mountains and rivers, the planets and stars. You are all such in motion. You are whatever gardener or wind blown seed planted this Tree too.

    But let us turn from nature to machine ...

    The Buddha taught that we are the world come together in a particular, most unusual set of circumstances resulting in our being born ... "Karmic" and environmental effects coming together, much as a particular set of grooves on a record and a needle cause one sound to be heard when played, a different set of grooves cause a different song to be heard. We are Reality playing a certain song which is our song.

    I do not believe it purely chance that, against all the seeming odds that cosmic events would have turned out differently (even one left turn when we needed a right) you and I ended up born in this life now. One little furry ancestor who got eaten before reproducing ... one meteor strike in the wrong place or time ... one great-grandma who never met great-grandpa and fell in love ... and seemingly we should not be here. Our being here is very much madly ridiculous! I do not believe it primarily chance that we find ourselves in a universe with all the seeming conditions necessary for us to be here at all ... with forces and physical properties neither too strong nor too weak to have forestalled intelligent life. In fact, countless properties and paths of physics, chemistry, stellar and planetary development, biology and genetics and myriad other factors were sufficient to allow our births (sufficient when, seemingly, with one small tweak or untimely turn, such universal properties could easily have been otherwise). We are here because the history of the world, all that was needed, ran right to the doorstep of our birth.

    The fact of our births seems so unlikely and (when viewed from any place in time before the happening) so highly improbable given all the seemingly endless opportunities for us to have not been born that, to my eyes, the dice are obviously loaded and a game is certainly afoot! The Tree is bound to bear leaves by its chemistry and biology such that, any leaf born upon it should not be too surprised. Nonetheless, the Tree did not have to be such a tree at all, we did not have to be these particular leaves at all ... in fact, we seemingly did not need to --be-- at all. Yet, here we are against all odds! The song-of-our-life did not simply appear burned into the CD without some harmonious composer with a sense of music ... plus the fine cut of the laser beam! Thus, I sense that there is a designing or controlling hand ... call such "God" or "Physical Principle", "Buddha" or "Big Bang Bubbling" or "Bob the Builder", for the name is not so important ... (something beyond easy understanding for our small human minds, much as ants would be hard pressed to understand the workings of the 747 they crawl upon ... but perhaps not beyond all our understanding, as we human beings are still smarter than ants!) ... that set up circumstances so conducive to life.

    (Someday soon, I promise you, science will find the telltale traces of this mechanism and its running. In fact, we already are, and are already starting to see the patterns in the incredible "coming together" of factors. It is all around us. We can understand this 747!)

    I believe that our being here, against all odds, is very much madly ridiculous! And, since the madly ridiculous happened once ... why not again? Such happening would be just more madly ridiculous! When the record is played again, with the same grooves, will not the same music play again? When the computer game ends and is restarted, will not the characters return to do somewhat different things in somewhat different ways? I am certain that someday our lives will be found to have been so, like characters popping in and out of some Grand Game (In fact, how would Mario feel if ... suddenly conscious ... he were to reflect on "how did I get here"? We would point to the Wii machine and Nintendo headquarters! We would point out to him that he is the the machine and the programming, and each in turn just him being played!). WE ARE MARIO!


    I believe that how we play this game is vitally important. We make heavens and hells in this world by our actions ... of love and generosity, or hate and violence. Let us play this game well! Let's get it right before the quarters run out!

    Is the Buddha's view of Karma like the programming to the game, the rules and restrictions which determine which characters appear in which settings, with which circumstances and abilities? Well, something has placed us in a certain setting of life, amid given circumstances with certain abilities. Was it just chance that we popped up so? It seems more likely that some pre-existing factors determined the parameters of our lives than that we just popped up here without some "pre-programming" to make it so. Thereupon, our actions now as characters in the game (Karmic Causes) determine the future course of the game and the future of our own character, perhaps including the next time our character re-emerges in the game after death when the next quarter is put in the slot (Karmic Effects).

    It would not be totally unimaginable if, like Mario, we re-began the climb every time life knocked us down or out ... asking "how many lives remaining?"


    That is my view. Frankly, I do not see it as so far removed from the Buddha's view some 2,500 years ago. Being a man of Ancient India, he spoke in terms of views of rebirth existing before his time. He was a man of his culture professing beliefs ... some wide and some narrow ... of his Iron Age world and societal assumptions and superstitions. I would expect that, if Buddha were expressing his Teachings today, he might instead use examples of computers and video games, modern physics and DNA. And so for the other Buddhist Teachers of the past who always spoke referencing the culture, technology and social beliefs of their times.

    Anyway, that is my take.

    Gassho, J

    PS - ** Yes, for folks wondering, there is connection here to the origin of the "Treeleaf" name, as well as the fact that all our Sangha members are one, coming together like leaves on many distant branches joined together.
    Last edited by Jundo; 06-24-2014 at 04:06 AM.
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  48. #48
    Senior Member Amelia's Avatar
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    Thank you Jundo.
    迎 Geika

  49. #49




    I love the video game Donkey Kong! I used to play all the time when I was a kid.

    Gassho, Jishin
    治 Ji (Healing)
    心​ Shin (Heart-Mind)

  50. #50
    Senior Member Daijo's Avatar
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    What happen's now? That's a better question.

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