A few simple things about rebirth….

It may be helpful to separate out the science, social/culture and practice sides to rebirth.

From the science side, there are some simple questions: Does it happen or not? If it seems to happen, what are some ways to explain it? (Rebirth, or picking up information from other lives without rebirth?) If there is rebirth, what is reborn? (Patterns? An entity? Something else?) There is some research looking at these questions, and plenty of room for more.

From the social/cultural sides, the main question is: What function does it have for society and culture? How does it function as ethics, as another angle to the golden rule? Does it help society to function better? How does it seem helpful? In what ways may it be less helpful? (And what measures do we use to determine that?)

And from the practice side, one question is: Is it a useful guideline for me or not? What happens if I take it as truth? Is it useful for me if I take it as a guideline? What happens if I take it as a guideline?

Then, how does rebirth happen here now? Does it happen as a story? Does it happen within my own world of images? Can I find it outside of my own world of images? Is it here in the freshness of everything happening? (Always new, different, fresh?) Does it happen when a story is reborn and taken as true? Can I notice how a sense of me + I is reborn here now?

And also, if something is indeed reborn – as shown by science – is that what I really am? Is it content of experience? Does it come and go? Is that what I really am?

Trigger: Seeing a link to a Tricycle article on rebirth at Integral Options. I often find it helpful to clarify a topic for myself before reading an article, because it shows me where I am stuck. (However I see something is how I limit myself.)

The article is called Rebirth: A Case for Buddhist Agnosticism, which seems to confuse the different functions of the rebirth story. Whether rebirth exists or not is purely a science questions. Whether the rebirth story has a function at a social/cultural level is a much more practical question, independent of the “truth” of the story. And the rebirth story is certainly useful at a personal practice level, including through exploring it as a projection of something happening here now.


Initial outline….

  • rebirth
    • science
      • does it happen or not?
        • if there is good data, what are some of the ways to explain it?
          • rebirth?
          • picking up the information w/out rebirth?
      • if so, what are the specifics?
        • what is reborn? patterns? an entity?
    • society/culture
      • ethics, another angle on the golden rule, helps society function better
    • practice
      • useful for me or not?
      • how can be useful for me?
      • how does it appear here now?
        • all fresh, new
        • stories reborn, including the story of a me + I

(If rebirth is seen as a continuation of patterns and dynamics, then that is happening always and everywhere through the infinite effects and causes of whatever is happening.)

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